Emmys 2012: How 'Downton Abbey' might affect the drama races

maggie-smith-downton-abbey-baftas.jpgWhen the Emmy nominations are announced on July 19, you'll probably see quite a few repeat nominees. It's what the Emmys does, to a large extent, and as discussed previously, it's unlikely that any new shows not named "Homeland" will get a bucketful of nominations.

There is one returning show, however, that has the potential to shake up several races: "Downton Abbey." PBS' British import is moving from the movie/miniseries field to the drama series categories this year, and it wouldn't be surprising to see the show come close to matching the 11 nominations it received in 2011.

If "Downton" scores a big nomination haul, though, that means other shows and performers might get left out in the cold.

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Here's a look at how "Downton Abbey" might affect several big drama races at the 2012 Emmys.

Drama series

Chances of a "Downton" nomination: Very high. The TV academy has a long history of embracing PBS' "Masterpiece" offerings both as miniseries and dramas. The show was also something of a phenomenon this season, pushing the public broadcaster's ratings to much higher levels than usual.

2011 nominees: "Boardwalk Empire," "Dexter," "Friday Night Lights," "Game of Thrones," "The Good Wife," "Mad Men" (winner)

Most likely to be pushed out by "Downton": Last year was the swan song for "Friday Night Lights," so let's say the returning "Breaking Bad" gets that spot. With "Downton" and "Homeland" both likely to score series nods, the bet here is that "Dexter" and "Boardwalk Empire" go by the wayside.

Lead actress in a drama

Chances of a "Downton" nomination: High. Elizabeth McGovern was nominated last year in the movie/miniseries category, and she's considered a good contender to get one of the six drama actress spots this year.

2011 nominees: Kathy Bates ("Harry's Law"), Connie Britton ("Friday Night Lights"), Mireille Enos ("The Killing"), Mariska Hargitay ("Law & Order: SVU"), Julianna Margulies ("The Good Wife") (winner), Elisabeth Moss ("Mad Men")

Most likely to be pushed out by "Downton": "Homeland's" Claire Danes will likely take Britton's spot. A nomination for McGovern would probably mean Enos sits out this year's awards.

Lead actor in a drama

Chances of a "Downton" nomination: Not great. Hugh Bonneville is the most likely "Abbey" resident here, but he's considered a dark horse.

2011 nominees: Steve Buscemi ("Boardwalk Empire"), Kyle Chandler ("Friday Night Lights") (winner), Michael C. Hall ("Dexter"), Jon Hamm ("Mad Men"), Hugh Laurie ("House"), Timothy Olyphant ("Justified")

Most likely to be pushed out by "Downton": Probably no one. A repeat of last year's list, with "Breaking Bad" star Bryan Cranston subbing in for Chandler, is entirely in the realm of possibility.

Supporting actress in a drama

Chances of a "Downton" nomination: A lock. Maggie Smith won the equivalent category for miniseries and movies last year, and there's no way she doesn't score a spot here.

2011 nominees: Christine Baranski ("The Good Wife"), Michelle Forbes ("The Killing"), Christina Hendricks ("Mad Men"), Kelly Macdonald ("Boardwalk Empire"), Margo Martindale ("Justified") (winner), Archie Panjabi ("The Good Wife")

Most likely to be pushed out by "Downton": No one. There's likely to be some turnover, but since Martindale isn't in contention for "Justified" this year (and is unlikely to be nominated for "A Gifted Man"), it won't necessarily be because of Dame Maggie's presence.
Photo/Video credit: PBS
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