The 2015 Emmys Nominations and My Way Too Early Picks

The 67th Primetime Emmy Award Nominations were announced Thursday morning and without Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul or Anna Gunn to be seen, the “Post-Breaking Bad” Era has officially begun.

Cranston speechless gif

This year, the Emmys recognize the best programs and performances on both television and streaming services between June 1st, 2014 and May 31st, 2015. HBO’s “Game of Thrones” leads the field with 24 nominations.

Along with the official list of nominees, I’ll make my WAY TOO EARLY picks to win. During the week of the actual awards show, September 20th, I’ll revisit the picks, see if my mind has changed, and further explain my picks.

Outstanding Comedy Series

  • Louie
  • Modern Family
  • Parks and Recreation
  • Silicon Valley
  • Transparent
  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
  • Veep

My Pick: Parks and Recreation

Outstanding Drama Series

  • Better Call Saul
  • Downton Abbey
  • Game of Thrones
  • Homeland
  • House of Cards
  • Mad Men
  • Orange Is The New Black

My Pick: Homeland

(This may flip to Mad Men for Final Season)

Outstanding Variety Talk Series

  • The Colbert Report
  • The Daily Show
  • Jimmy Kimmel Live
  • Last Week Tonight
  • Late Show
  • Tonight Show

My Pick: Late Show, Letterman’s farewell was too good.

Outstanding Variety Sketch Series

  • Drunk History
  • Inside Amy Schumer
  • Key & Peele
  • Portlandia
  • Saturday Night Live

My Pick: Key & Peele

Outstanding Limited Series

  • American Crime
  • American Horror Story Freak Show
  • Olive Kitteridge
  • The Honorable Woman
  • Wolf Hall

My Pick: Olive Kitteridge

Outstanding Animated Program

  • Archer
  • Bob’s Burgers
  • Over the Garden Wall
  • The Simpsons
  • South Park

My Pick: Archer

Outstanding Lead Actor in A Drama Series

  • Kyle Chandler, Bloodline
  • Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom
  • Jon Hamm, Mad Men
  • Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
  • Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan
  • Kevin Spacey, House of Cards

My Pick: Jon Hamm, although it’s a two man race with Jeff Daniels

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

  • Claire Danes, Homeland
  • Viola Davis, How to Get Away With Murder
  • Taraji P. Henson, Empire
  • Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black
  • Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men
  • Robin Wright, House of Cards

My Pick: Robin Wright

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

  • Jonathan Banks, Better Call Saul
  • Ben Mendelsohn, Bloodline
  • Jim Carter, Downton Abbey
  • Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
  • Alan Cumming, The Good Wife
  • Michael Kelly, House of Cards

My Pick: Jonathan Banks

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

  • Joanne Froggatt, Downton Abbey
  • Lena Headey, Game of Thrones
  • Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones
  • Christine Baranski, The Good Wife
  • Christina Hendricks, Mad Men
  • Uzo Aduba, Orange Is The New Black

My Pick: Uzo Aduba

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series

  • Alan Alda, The Blacklist
  • Michael J. Fox, The Good Wife
  • F. Murray Abraham, Homeland
  • Reg E. Cathey, House of Cards
  • Beau Bridges, Masters of Sex
  • Pablo Schreiber, Orange Is The New Black

My Pick: Pablo Schreiber

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series

  • Diana Rigg, Game of Thrones
  • Rachel Brosnahan, House of Cards
  • Cicely Tyson, How to Get Away With Murder
  • Allison Janney, Masters of Sex
  • Khandi Alexander, Scandal
  • Margo Martindale, The Americans

My Pick: Diana Rigg

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

  • Anthony Anderson, Black-ish
  • Louis C.K., Louie
  • Don Cheadle, House of Lies
  • Will Forte, Last Man on Earth
  • Matt LeBlanc, Episodes
  • William H. Macy, Shameless
  • Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent

My Pick: Will Forte

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

  • Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
  • Lisa Kudrow, The Comeback
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
  • Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation
  • Amy Schumer, Inside Amy Schumer
  • Lily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie

My Pick: Amy Poehler

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

  • Andrew Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
  • Adam Driver, Girls
  • Keegan-Michael Key, Key & Peele
  • Ty Burrell, Modern Family
  • Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
  • Tony Hale, Veep

My Pick: Ty Burrell

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

  • Niecy Nash, Getting On
  • Julie Bowen, Modern Family
  • Allison Janney, Mom
  • Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live
  • Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory
  • Gaby Hoffman, Transparent
  • Jane Krakowski, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
  • Anna Chlumsky, Veep

My Pick: Kate McKinnon

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series

  • Mel Brooks, The Comedians
  • Paul Giamatti, Inside Amy Schumer
  • Bill Hader, Saturday Night Live
  • Louis C.K., Saturday Night Live
  • Bradley Whitford, Transparent
  • Jon Hamm, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

My Pick: Jon Hamm

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series

  • Gaby Hoffmann, Girls
  • Pamela Adlon, Louie
  • Elizabeth Banks, Modern Family
  • Joan Cusack, Shameless
  • Christine Baranski, The Big Bang Theory
  • Tina Fey, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

My Pick: Pamela Adlon 

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie

  • Adrien Brody, Houdini
  • Ricky Gervais, Derek
  • Timothy Hutton, American Crime
  • Richard Jenkins, Olive Kitteridge
  • David Oyelowo, Nightengale
  • Mark Rylance, Wolf Hall

My Pick: David Oyelowo

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie

  • Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Honorable Woman
  • Felicity Huffman, American Crime Story
  • Jessica Lange, American Horror Story: Freak Show
  • Queen Latifah, Bessie
  • Frances McDormand, Olive Kitteridge
  • Emma Thompson, Sweeney Todd

My Pick: Frances McDormand

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie

  • Richard Cabral, American Crime
  • Denis O’Hare, American Horror Story: Freak Show
  • Finn Wittrock, American Horror Story: Freak Show
  • Michael Kenneth Williams, Bessie
  • Bill Murray, Olive Kitteridge
  • Damian Lewis, Wolf Hall

My Pick: Bill Murray

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie

  • Regina King, American Crime
  • Sarah Paulson, American Horror Story: Freak Show
  • Angela Bassett, American Horror Story: Freak Show
  • Kathy Bates, American Horror Story: Freak Show
  • Mo’Nique, Bessie
  • Zoe Kazan, Olive Kitteridge

My Pick: Regina King 

Who are you pulling for this year? Let me on Facebook or Twitter.

My Goodbye to Letterman

There was a time when I was younger and people asked why I got into broadcasting and who my influences were. I would tell them about the Johnny Carson box set of VHS tapes my dad would play for me…I’d then rewind the hours of tape back and play them all over again. That was my idea of Late Night, what I thought was the most entertaining thing on the planet, and the laughs and emotions felt so genuine…Then a former friend ripped that answer off from me and started using it to promote himself. I haven’t kept tabs on him so I don’t know how that worked out, nor do I care.

As I got older, Late Night TV became a part of my daily routine. Some people have the 10 o’clock news; I have the Conan O’Brien string dance. Some people have SportsCenter; I had Craig Ferguson trading innuendos with a gay skeleton robot. And while many people my age enjoy Jimmy Fallon’s millennial-grabbing, trendy guest-dependent bits, I watched Letterman.

Carson loved David Letterman. Letterman was HIS choice to take over the Tonight Show, and NBC went with Jay Leno. Carson would actually fax jokes over to Letterman’s staff because he read the paper, thought up 5 jokes, and wanted to hear them in Dave’s monologue that night. He even made his last ever television appearance on Letterman’s show.

The Carson connection drew me to Letterman. Why did Johnny like Dave so much? Simple…He was funny.

I like Letterman because he really doesn’t care what you think of him or his show. He told some really bad jokes, and he would tell them over and over again until they were funny. He would call for a random ass clip in the middle of a segment, the Top 10, or even an interview with zero relevant content… and it was hilarious. And if the audience wasn’t sure about something he said, all it took was a lick of his teeth and pull of a bass guitar to roll with it.

I watched Letterman because his interviews had value to them. Celebrities use talk shows to promote their projects. They’ll maybe go by a script from their publicists or say/do something that will make them go viral. The conversations that Dave had with his guests felt way more honest than that. If he respected his guest, you knew it and he would have fun with them. If he wasn’t very familiar with his guest, he’d make it weird and get whoever it was out of their comfort zone for great TV. If the guest had a controversial or questionable reputation, Letterman wouldn’t take it easy on them. I’ll never forget his interview with Lindsay Lohan where he pulled zero punches…actually read jokes he had made about her.

The rehab questions like “How will this time be any different?” are what stuck out the most to me from what turned out to be 14 minutes of great television.

I loved Letterman for the music. It begins with his sidekick, Paul Schaffer and the CBS Orchestra. Is there nothing they can’t play? They are remarkably great individual musicians that form a group with a personality that comes to life each and every night. It’s cool when artists like John Mayer and Todd Rundgren sit in and jam for entire shows, and even cooler when the band plays behind a superstar…like Eddie Vedder.

The quality of the sound was always fantastic. You know how bands and artists ALWAYS sound awful on Saturday Night Live? Complete opposite on Letterman. While I enjoyed seeing established veteran performers do their thing, I was even more interested in the up-and-comers. Dave seemed to be especially intrigued by new artists as well and he provided a platform that could be regarded as groundbreaking….and on the same stage the Beatles were introduced to America on. Jack White and R.E.M. are some notable acts who made their network debuts on his show.

With some of the reasons I mentioned earlier, Letterman was punk rock to me. It was his show and he did what he wanted. So before I say goodbye to the man tonight with teary eyes, and sharing the experience with my father (like I have so many times before), I’ll now say goodbye to Paul and the CBS Orchestra, Director Jerry Foley, Executive Producer Jude Brennan, EP Barbara Gaines, EP Rob Burnett, Head Writer Matt Roberts, Writer Bill Scheft, Announcer Alan Kalter, Stage Manager Biff Henderson, and Todd the Intern…

And see ya later, Dave.

Feel free to join the conversation and share some memories with me during the final show on Twitter at @Mike_PiFF03.