‘Succession’ is poised to do something only ‘Mad Men’ and ‘Breaking Bad’ have managed

Some might argue that the sophomore outing of “Succession” was stronger than its most recent third season, which aired last fall, but that likely means very little when the HBO series is one of the best shows on TV and in a good position to pull off an impressive sweep this year.

The series, which follows the machinations of the complicated Roy family, who own and operate a major conglomerate known as Waystar Royco, has already taken home the Screen Actors Guild Award for drama ensemble. It quickly followed that up with the Directors Guild of America Award for dramatic series, which went to Mark Mylod for helming the game-changing Season 3 finale, “All the Bells Say.” Admittedly, the latter triumph isn’t much of a surprise since the series swept the nominations, filling out all five slots in a historic first for the DGA. But if “Succession” is also victorious at the Producers Guild of America Awards on Saturday and the Writers Guild of America Awards on Sunday, the show will enter the record books as just the third drama in history to sweep the top four guilds in the same year.

AMC’s period drama “Mad Men” was the first series to complete the impressive feat, doing so during the 2010 ceremonies for primarily its third season (PGA used to employ a June-May eligibility cycle before switching to the calendar year five years ago). After the series won at SAG and PGA, Lesli Linka Glatter snagged the DGA Award for helming “Guy Walks Into an Advertising Agency.” The series then took home the WGA Award for Best Dramatic Series, a category introduced in 2006 (the drama did not win the award for episodic writing that year).

SEE Directors Guild Awards winners list

Four years later, during the 2014 ceremonies, “Mad Men’s” acclaimed network sibling “Breaking Bad” became the second show to go four for four, this time for primarily the second half of its final season. Series creator Vince Gilligan took home the DGA Award for directing the series finale, titled “Felina,” while the show scored its third straight WGA Award for dramatic series and the cast earned its only SAG Award for drama ensemble. Unlike with “Mad Men,” though, the show also won the WGA Award for episodic drama that year, with Gennifer Hutchison triumphing for penning “Confessions.”

“Succession” is already halfway to joining both shows in the history books, and it currently sits in first place in Gold Derby’s combined odds for drama Series at the PGA Awards. It leads Netflix’s “Squid Game,” which sits in second place and is followed by Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale,” Paramount’s “Yellowstone” and Apple TV+’s “The Morning Show.” The series also currently leads the odds for drama series at the WGA Awards. Eight experts and 10 Editors predict it to triumph over the competition, which includes Showtime’s breakout hit “Yellowjackets,” currently in second place. Both shows lead Disney+’s Tom Hiddleston-led drama “Loki,” as well as “The Morning Show” and “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

(Fun fact: “Succession” is also nominated for episodic writing this year: Tony Roche & Susan Soon He Stanton are up for penning the hilarious midseason episode “Retired Janitors of Idaho,” which notoriously featured an imaginary dead cat.)

Should “Succession” come out on top at the WGA Awards, it will be the show’s second win (out of three nominations) after snagging the award in 2020. It also topped the PGA Awards that year, but it lost the DGA Award and wasn’t nominated at the SAG Awards — in fact, the show didn’t earn its first SAG nominations until this year (and got five to boot). This means that this is the first time “Succession” even has the opportunity to join the sweep club. So regardless of what happens this weekend, 2022 will remain a banner year for the HBO drama. 

Emmy odds for Best Drama Series
What will win?

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