Emmy Predictions: Drama Series – Is ‘Better Call Saul’ at the Front of the Line After the Series Finale?

·10-min read

Variety Awards Circuit section is the home for all awards news and related content throughout the year, featuring the following: the official awards predictions for the upcoming Oscars and Emmys ceremonies, curated by Variety senior awards editor Clayton Davis; Awards Circuit Column, a weekly analysis dissecting the trends and contenders by television editor Michael Schneider (for Emmys) and Davis (for Oscars); Awards Circuit Podcast, a weekly interview series with talent and an expert roundtable discussion; and Awards Circuit Video analyzes various categories and contenders by Variety's leading awards pundits. Variety's unmatched coverage gives its readership unbeatable exposure in print and online, as well as provide inside reports on all the contenders in this year's awards season races.

More from Variety

To see all the latest predictions, of all the categories, in one place, visit THE EMMYS COLLECTIVE
Visit each category, per the individual awards show from THE EMMYS HUB
To see old predictions and commentary, click the EMMY PREDICTIONS ARCHIVES
For film awards predictions go toTHE OSCARS HUB

UPDATED: Aug 18, 2022



The domination of “Succession” is an understatement when referring to the HBO drama winner of 2020. With 25 mentions, it’s the most nominated series of the year across all categories, including three directing and 14 acting noms, a record for any series in Emmy history. With Critics Choice and SAG wins under its belt, it’s the front-runner and could be unstoppable (unless others are seeking an alternative).  

Showtime’s first drama nominee since “Homeland” in 2016, the first season of the mystery series “Yellowjackets” picked up seven noms including directing and two integral writing nominations. With actress Melanie Lynskey emerging as a dark horse to win lead drama actress, major wins tend to spill into other categories, including drama series. However, it’s the least nominated drama contender in the mix, and may not have the fuel to get it off the “Emmy Island.”  

AMC’s “Breaking Bad” prequel “Better Call Saul” has received an Emmy nom for each of its seasons. With the second half of the final season airing during voting, TV Academy members may feel inclined to check it off, along with its actors Bob Odenkirk and Rhea Seehorn, who are both in the mix. However, seven nominations in total may be too few to clear some of the louder contenders in the mix, with nearly four times as many noms. Listen to the Variety Awards Circuit Podcast interview with Odenkirk and Seehorn following the series finale.

Read moreVariety’s Awards Circuit Emmys Predictions Hub

. - Credit: Courtesy of HBO Max
. - Credit: Courtesy of HBO Max

Courtesy of HBO Max

“Euphoria” is the second most nominated drama series with 16, with the HBO show seeing a significant increase from its single-digit tally for the first season. With Zendaya looking like the front-runner in lead actress drama, the show dominated the social media and “watercooler” conversations when it aired, which could lead to multiple surprise wins, including other acting possibilities such as Sydney Sweeney, Martha Kelly and Colman Domingo. However, if there’s an HBO show to top the category, that looks to be “Succession” (for the moment).

Making history as the first non-English language series ever to be nominated, Netflix’s bloody spectacle “Squid Game” maxed out in all its possible nominations, capping at 14 for its kickoff season. The streamer is the reigning champ in this race, after sweeping in 2021 with “The Crown.” They look to extend that history-making presence with the most watched program in Netflix history. 

Wrapping its fourth season and the second most watched series in the history of Netflix, “Stranger Things” landed a respectable 13 nominations, the second most since its Emmy debut. While it’s likely to pick up plenty of the Creative Arts categories such as music supervision and visual effects, with no writing, directing or acting noms, it may prove too difficult to nab the big one. 

Fourteen nominations for the inaugural season of “Severance,” the Apple TV+ dystopian drama had a respectable showing with names in the acting, directing and writing categories. As the first drama nominee for the streamer, and after a vibrant presence at San Diego Comic-Con, it could manage to duplicate the success of “The Handmaid’s Tale” in 2017 and win the big prize. Phase two campaigning will be key. 

The final season of “Ozark” nabbed a respectable 13 nominations, adding to its overall tally of 45 in its entirety. The crime drama ended had a satisfying conclusion, and with many of its actors contending to win their respective categories – Jason Bateman, Laura Linney, Julia Garner and Tom Pelphrey – it could be an acting branch favorite for the Netflix series.  

The complete television awards season calendar is linked here.

Read moreVariety’s Awards Circuit Oscars Predictions Hub

The 74th Primetime Emmy Awards will take place on Monday, Sept. 12, and air on NBC.

2021 category winner: “The Crown” (Netflix)


(L-R): Courtney Eaton as Teen Lottie and Sophie Nélisse as Teen Shauna in YELLOWJACKETS, “Doomcoming”. Photo credit: Kailey Schwerman/SHOWTIME. - Credit: Courtesy of Kailey Schwerman/Showtime
(L-R): Courtney Eaton as Teen Lottie and Sophie Nélisse as Teen Shauna in YELLOWJACKETS, “Doomcoming”. Photo credit: Kailey Schwerman/SHOWTIME. - Credit: Courtesy of Kailey Schwerman/Showtime

Courtesy of Kailey Schwerman/Showtime

And The Nominees Are:


TV Series


Key Facts:




Key facts: 25 nominations in 2022, 48 total series nominations, the most of any series nominated. With 14 acting noms, it broke the record for most acting nominations for any series in Emmy history. It has won nine total Emmys thus far including outstanding drama series in 2020. HBO has the fourth most wins for drama series with seven, behind NBC (21), CBS (18) and ABC (9), and the highest for any premium cable network.

Jesse Armstrong (executive producer), Adam McKay (executive producer), Will Ferrell (executive producer), Frank Rich (executive producer), Kevin Messick (executive producer), Mark Mylod (executive producer), Jane Tranter (executive producer), Tony Roche (executive producer), Scott Ferguson (executive producer), Jon Brown (executive producer), Lucy Prebble (executive producer), Will Tracy (executive producer), Georgia Pritchett (co-executive producer), Ted Cohen (co-executive producer), Susan Soon He Stanton (supervising producer), Dara Schnapper (supervising producer), Gabrielle Mahon (produced by), Francesca Gardiner (consulting producer)


“Squid Game”


Key facts: 14 nominations in 2022 for its first season including directing, writing and five for acting. Its the first non-English language series ever nominated. Netflix has won this category once with “The Crown” in 2021, sweeping all the major categories. It’s also the first streamer to land three drama series noms, in three separate years.

Kim Ji-yeon (executive producer), Hwang Dong-hyuk (executive producer)



Apple TV+

Key facts: 14 nominations in 2022 for its inaugural season including directing, writing and four major acting categories. It’s the show from Apple TV+ to receive a nom for drama series.

Ben Stiller (executive producer), Nicholas Weinstock (executive producer), Jackie Cohn (executive producer), Mark Friedman (executive producer), Dan Erickson (executive producer), Andrew Colville (executive producer), Chris Black (executive producer), John Cameron (executive producer), Jill Footlick (co-executive producer), Kari Drake (co-executive producer), Adam Scott (producer), Patricia Arquette (producer), Aoife McArdle (producer), Amanda Overton (producer), Gerry Robert Byrne (producer)




Key facts: Seven nominations for its inaugural season including directing, two writing noms and two major acting categories. It’s the first Showtime series to be nominated for outstanding drama since “Homeland” in 2016, and third overall (also includes “Dexter”).  Also the first of the three to have a female creator (Ashley Lyle, alongside Bart Nickerson).

Jonathan Lisco (executive producer), Ashley Lyle (executive producer), Bart Nickerson (executive producer), Drew Comins (executive producer), Karyn Kusama (executive producer), Liz Phang (co-executive producer), Jamie Travis (co-executive producer), Brad Van Arragon (co-executive producer), Sarah L. Thompson (co-executive producer), Ameni Rozsa (co-executive producer), Chantelle M. Wells (supervising producer)


“Better Call Saul”


Key facts: Seven nominations in 2022 for Part 1 of the sixth season which includes seven episodes. Part 2 that debuted on July 11 will be eligible in 2023. The series stands at 46 total noms but has yet to win a statuette yet. Currently tied for the third most noms for drama series with six.

Vince Gilligan (executive producer), Peter Gould (executive producer), Mark Johnson (executive producer), Melissa Bernstein (executive producer), Thomas Schnauz (executive producer), Gordon Smith (executive producer), Alison Tatlock (executive producer), Diane Mercer (executive producer), Michael Morris (executive producer), Ann Cherkis (co-executive producer), Trina Siopy (supervising producer), Bob Odenkirk (producer), Jenn Carroll (producer) and Jim Powers (produced by)




Key facts: 16 nominations in 2022 for its second season. Stands at 25 total noms across the series history. Its won three prizes so far including lead actress (drama) for Zendaya, the youngest woman ever to win the race. With four total noms this year, Zendaya is the youngest producer ever nominated.

Sam Levinson (executive producer), Kevin Turen (executive producer), Ravi Nandan (executive producer), Drake (executive producer), Adel “Future” Nur (executive producer), Zendaya (executive producer), Will Greenfield (executive producer), Ashley Levinson (executive producer), Kenneth Yu (producer), Harrison Kreiss (producer)


“Stranger Things”


Key facts: 13 nominations in 2022 for the seven episode fourth season (Vol. 1), the two episodes of Vol. 2 are not included in this submission. Its Emmy nom series total stands at 51, the most of the drama series that are nominated this year. It’s won seven Emmy statuettes so far. Network streamer Netflix has won drama series once with “The Crown” in 2020.

The Duffer Brothers (executive producer), Dan Cohen (executive producer), Shawn Levy (executive producer), Curtis Gwinn (executive producer), Iain Paterson (executive producer), Rnd Geiger (producer), Kate Trefry (producer), Paul Dichter (producer), Lampton Enochs (produced by)




Key facts: 13 nominations in 2022 for its final season. Has garnered 45 nominations in total across the entire series. The crime drama has won three Emmys including directing (drama) for Jason Bateman and two for supporting actress (drama) for Julia Garner.

Jason Bateman (executive producer), Chris Mundy (executive producer), Bill Dubuque (executive producer), Mark Williams (executive producer), Patrick Markey (executive producer), John Shiban (executive producer), Miki Johnson (co-executive producer), Laura Linney (co-executive producer), Erin Mitchell (supervising producer), Martin Zeimmerman (supervising producer), Paul Kolsby (producer), Laura Deeley (producer), Dana Scott (produced by)


The Primetime Emmy Awards, better known simply as the Emmys, is television's most prestigious artistic award.

For wins: HBO's "Game of Thrones" holds the record for most wins for a series in a single year with 12 (in 2015, 2016 and 2019), most collective wins for a drama series with 59 (across eight seasons), most wins for a single episode with six (for "Battle of the Bastards" in 2016) and most wins for a series and drama series in its final season with 12 (in 2019). "Game of Thrones" is also tied for most wins for outstanding drama series with four - along with "Hill Street Blues," "L.A. Law," "Mad Men" and "The West Wing." "Hill Street Blues," "Mad Men" and "The West Wing" won their four awards consecutively. "The West Wing" also holds the record for most wins in its first season with nine, while it shares the record for most wins for acting across an entire drama series at nine, along with "Breaking Bad" and "The Sopranos." Netflix's "The Crown" is the only series to sweep all the major categories in 2020, winning all four acting races, writing and directing.

Four shows have won this category three times: "The Defenders," "Dragnet," "Playhouse 90," which all won consecutively, and "Upstairs, Downstairs."

For nominations: "Game of Thrones" holds the record for most nominations overall for an entire drama series with 161. It also has the most nominations for a drama series in a single year and its final season with 32 (2019). AMC's "Mad Men" holds the record for the most nominations without a win in a single year, going zero for 17 (in 2012). "NYPD Blue" holds the record for most nominations in its first season at 27 (in 1994), while "Law & Order" has the record for most nominations ever for an entire drama series at 11.

For networks, NBC has the most wins in this category with 21, with CBS following with 18. Hulu and Netflix are the only streaming services to win this category, with "The Handmaid's Tale" in 2017 and "The Crown" in 2020.

2022 Primetime Emmy Awards Predictions

2022 Creative Arts Emmys Predictions

About the Primetime Emmy Awards (Emmys)

The Primetime Emmy Awards, better known as the Emmys, are given out by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS). Since 1949, the awards have recognized excellence in American primetime television programming. They are divided into three classes - Primetime Emmy Awards, the Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards (honors artisan achievements), and the Primetime Engineering Emmy Awards (recognizes significant engineering and technological contributions). The typical eligibility period is between June 1 and May 31 of any given year. The Television Academy comprises over 25,000 members, representing 30 professional peer groups, including performers, directors, producers, art directors and various artisans and executives.

  • The 74th Emmy Awards will take place on Monday, Sept. 12, and air on NBC.

Best of Variety

Sign up for Variety’s Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Click here to read the full article.