Emmy Experts slugfest: Analyzing the always chaotic ballots [WATCH]

Emmy nomination ballots day is like Christmas morning in TV land (not to be confused with TV Land). Nomination ballots for the 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards dropped on Thursday, as voting commenced and runs through June 28, and Gold Derby editors and Experts Christopher Rosen and Joyce Eng are here to go through the biggest surprises. Well, some of them — we’re still wading through all 490,590 pages.

First things first, since the Emmys adopted a new rule last year stipulating that the number of slots per category outside of drama and comedy series, which are fixed at eight, will be proportional to the number of submissions, we go through the finalized slots in the major categories. Most notably, the comedy lead categories are down one slot to five each — you know, like how it used to be back in the day. Similarly, the comedy supporting categories are going from eight to seven.

SEE Emmy Experts slugfest: Are the series races as locked up as they seem? Is the Smart money on Jean?

We then wonder if two old TV favorites could finally win an Emmy for reprising their most famous roles this past season. Martin Sheen, who never won Best Drama Actor for “The West Wing,” is on the ballot for Best Limited/TV Movie Actor for stepping back into President Bartlet’s shoes for the HBO Max special “A West Wing Special to Benefit When We All Vote,” in which the cast recreated the Season 3 episode “Hartsfield’s Landing” on stage, with Sterling K. Brown, who’s also on the ballot, playing the late John Spencer‘s role of Leo McGarry. Then we have Patrick Dempsey, who was never nominated during his run on “Grey’s  Anatomy,” is submitted in Best Drama Guest Actor for bringing McDreamy back into our lives this past season as Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) was COVID-stricken and unconscious.

Best Drama Guest Actor is also pretty open because of who’s not submitted: reigning champ Ron Cephas Jones was eligible to defend his title for “This Is Us,” but the two-time winner is going to sit this one out. Meanwhile, in the corresponding actress category, we have Claire Foy, who is looking to add a guest statuette for “The Crown” to go along with her lead one from 2018.

Elsewhere, we discuss the perils of over-submitting, who could get name-checked (hi, Mark Hamill), try to figure out who we will sacrifice in the categories that are losing slots and then spend more time than is probably needing talking about “Saved by the Bell” and “The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers.”

Emmy odds for Best Comedy Actress
Jean Smart is ahead

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