Emmys Buzz: Downton Abbey Switches to Drama Series Race - Will It End Mad Men's Reign?

Someone get Don Draper a drink — and make it a double.

In the very year that Mad Men ostensibly could “five-peat” at the Emmys and thus break the record for most Outstanding Drama Series wins by a single show, PBS’ acclaimed Downton Abbey is reportedly going to offer some stiff new competition by entering that already fierce category.

According to GoldDerby.com, Downton Abbey — which in its just-wrapped second season here in the States aired seven episodes (versus Season 1’s mere four) — is moving out of the Outstanding Miniseries or Movie category, where it grabbed gold last September, to compete alongside, presumably, the likes of Mad Men, Homeland, Breaking Bad and Boardwalk Empire.

Ratings: Downton Abbey Wraps Second Season on Record-Breaking Note

Of course, it remains to be seen if Mad Men returns to form following an extended hiatus (it will have been off the air for 525 days when it premieres Season 5 on March 25). But if the AMC drama does keep on keeping on, it would surpass the record held by Hill Street Blues, L.A. Law and The West Wing by earning a fifth win in the drama race.

Seizing another statue would also find Mad Men tying the all-time record of five wins for any show, drama or comedy, currently held by Frasier, GoldDerby.com reminds.

Mad Men Sneak Peek: The First Season 5 Teaser Trailer Has Arrived!

Downton fans, are you glad to see your show play with the big boys in the Drama Series category? Or could all of the above perhaps prove moot, since Showtime’s Homeland has so much momentum following its white-hot freshman run?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Michelle says:

    Maybe this should have been done with its first season, as the second was not all that?
    Amazing to me that some critics/sites don’t see Breaking Bad’s extraordinary fourth season as competition. It’s so rarely mentioned re: Emmys.

    • Sally says:

      A+ first comment. Said what I wanted to say:
      – Downton Abbey’s second season was not up to par with the first. If it was the first season competing, then yes, I do think it has a chance.
      – Breaking Bad is the REAL competition. It better win for its final season, or hell will break loose. Flawless show.

      • cj says:

        season 1 of Downton was made as a miniseries, thus why it didn’t appear in the drama category. it was decided later to make a second season and turn into a proper tv series.
        regardless of season 1 versus 2, and regardless of the fact that i would watch downton all day and it’s #1 in my book, i really don’t think it will win. i suppose it has a good shot at a nomination, but i think mad men probably has this in the bag, as per usual.

        • Ben says:

          This is completely incorrect. The TV show was always made as a series. The original length is not atypical of an English series – season 2 was of a longer length in large part because of the significant success it had.

          • ACKelly says:

            Actually, the show was billed as a “series”, but the term “series” is different in England than it is here. Besides, Emmy rules dictate that in order for a show to qualify as a series, it has the have at least 6 episodes in its season. Since DA had only 4 episodes in its first season it could only be put in the Mini-series category. Since it has 7 in its current season, it can be put in the Drama category.

        • DB says:

          the show has always been a proper TV series. the only reason it was submitted as a miniseries in the US awards was because PBS Masterpiece thought it would have better chance of getting awards, which it did. i don’t think PBS has ever compete in the main drama/comedy category before, but i could be wrong. UK shows always feel like miniseries compare to US shows, they only commission about half-a-dozen episodes a season.

          • Simon Jester says:

            Another incorrect post.
            Downton Abbey was submitted as a miniseries last year because, at the time of eligibility, A SECOND SERIES (SEASON) HAD NOT YET BEEN ANNOUNCED.
            Do some research, people.

          • B says:

            The second series was already announced in the UK when the first one was finished in the US. The first season ended with a “to be continued…” title card in its original UK version.
            Also, first season in the US was trimmed to only 4 episodes, whereas 7 in the UK. Another reason why it was submitted as a mini.

        • James says:

          Season 1 wasn’t made as a miniseries. It was made as a series with 7 episodes and that was originally broadcast on the ITV network in UK.
          The US broadcaster, PBS, decided for some odd reason to edit that and to cut the series into 4 episodes.
          Season 2 was made with 8 episodes + Christmas special = 9 episodes in total which were broadcast in the UK.
          Again, it’s only in PBS that the series was cut to fewer episodes (7 episodes).
          This is why you’ve seen on the PBS version an unreasonable jump in time, for example in the middle of episode “6” few months ahead, which seemed very rushed. The same thing had happened in the middle of episode “1”. If you want to get the real impression of Downton abbey, you probably should watch the original episodes uncut.

          • maggie says:

            The 2nd season of Downton Abbey has fewer episodes but not because they cut out 2 episodes worth of material. PBS combined the 1st and 2nd British episodes, which were an hour (including commericals) into one 2-hour episode. British episodes 7 & 8 were also combined into one 2-hour episode on PBS. The Christmas special was 2 hours in both countries.
            UK: 8 hour-long episodes and one 2-hour episode for a total of 10 hours.
            US: 4 hour-long episodes and Three 2-hour episodes for a total of 10 hours.

          • Cathy says:

            the Downton Abbey episodes were NOT CUT as described above – The original length of Season 1 is 7 one-hour episodes, and Season 2 is 8 one-hour episodes (+the Xmas Special) – so there is only one episode less in season 1 than there is in season 2.
            the perceived difference in number of eposides is inaccurate; because in some instances, PBS aired two-at-a-time. i.e. – two of the original 1-hour UK episodes were aired as one PBS episode. In season 1, PBS did this for all episodes. But in season 2 PBS did this only for epi’s 1 & 6; and the rest were regular single episodes. (except PBS #7 which was the longer ‘special’). the PBS episodes cannot be used for accurate comparison, as it is not the original configuration of the season.

        • Pash says:

          We haven’t even seen what Mad Men is offering this year! It could be terrible! Frankly if Breaking Bad is ignored then the Emmys are out of their minds. This season was beyond excellent.

      • KevyB says:

        I agree with Sally! Not that I think the Emmys mean anything, but if Breaking Bad doesn’t win this year, they’re the biggest joke in the history of the world. That was the most consistently amazing season of a drama series EVER and ignoring it would be monumental.

  2. mara says:

    As long as Mad Men doesn’t win, I’m happy.

  3. Walter says:

    A season too late, but better late than never.
    Having said that, it shouldn’t win. It shouldn’t even be nominated. The second season was piss poor, and there are far better candidates.
    Mad Men
    Breaking Bad
    Boardwalk Empire
    Game of Thrones
    That’d be my list (haven’t seen Justified, so that’s why it’s not included).

  4. Ed says:

    Downton really is no threat to Mad Men in the Drama series competition. It’s more of a soap, a gorgeous costume soap, not really top drama material. it’s even soapier in season 2. addictive tv crack.

    • Seanny says:

      Definitely agree with you. Although the season finale – aired in Britain as the “Christmas” special – was actually quite good, I don’t think the writing is nearly as compelling as that on Mad Men, or even the first season of Downton Abbey. Of course, it remains to be seen what Mad Men does this year.

    • Simon Jester says:

      Exactly right. It’s an enjoyable soap, nothing more.

  5. Grace says:

    The Emmys are a joke!! I couldn’t care less who wins.
    [H]OUSE and HUGH LAURIE should have won years ago.

    • Brendan says:

      Damn straight. I’m kind of hoping (unrealistically, I know) that he gets the win for best actor this year as a recognition of the role. The reputation of the show as a whole will keep it from winning, but even those who haven’t like the show in a while have to admit that Hugh Laurie’s acting as House has been top notch from start to finish.

    • maggie says:

      Hugh Laurie is long overdue for an Emmy. But since a movie star (Dustin Hoffman) in starring on tv now, the Emmy will go to him no matter how boring the show is.

  6. Alicia says:

    I’m excited Downton gets a chance in the top spot, but idk if it will win for the series. Top Drama Actor has to go to Hugh Laurie before House ends, and while I’ve never watched BB or MM, DA got quite ridiculously soap-y near the end of S2. So while I’m happy it’s legit now, I don’t have high hopes. Here’s pulling for acting awards and costume, cinematography, and set design awards.

  7. Jules says:

    Seriously, I’m with you on that point Grace!
    Every year it’s the same..or y have a little surprise …but unless they create a category “I’m nominated each year & been robbed each time” and give finally to Hugh..I will watch…
    But after, Cranston 3rd, I decided to boycott it and dvr and watch fast forward…
    Possible do the same nxt September..
    As for the best drama..tired of mad men so if they get the boot and downtown abbey or anybody else get it, I’ll be happy…but then again [H]ouse was nominated in is glory days(season3/4) and Rescue me too and they never have a chance/been respected…
    So for me, the Emmy’s was become a pure joke..

    • Brendan says:

      If they do create that category they should add a one-year-late provision to it and finally recognize Steve Carell for the office. He and Hugh are the poster boys for the Emmys getting it WRONG WRONG WRONG.

      • maggie says:

        Steve Carell was robbed, along with Hugh Laurie. Carell will have to guest on “The Office” to finally win an Emmy for playing Michael Scott. He’ll get a “best guest star in a comedy” Emmy.

  8. jake says:

    The good wife is long overdue and it’s frustrating that mad men keeps winning.

    • Justin says:

      Oh, agreed! Mad Men can be excellent at times, but I’m often bored with its slow pace. That’s never a problem with The Good Wife.

    • Becca says:

      Agreed, the good wife definitely deserves a win here!

      • Pro Good Wife says:

        It so should win but I fear that it will just get in for the 6 nominations. I think Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Broadwalk Empire, Homeland, Downtown Abbey and The Good Wife will be nominated but game of thrones could cause an upset nomination wise. I think breaking bad or homeland will win though :/

  9. Magda says:

    I love you Matthew and Mary, but it’s Don and Betty for me. hope Mad Men gets a fifth Emmy!

  10. Cokes says:

    If there’s a god, the only thing that will break up Mad Men’s run is the final season of Breaking Bad

    • kyrjar says:

      I agree. I love Mad Men, DA and Breaking Bad for different reasons. However, DA is an addictive soap and suffers from some sloppy writing, though the acting and the set design is splendid. Why does everything British and PBS lend high brow legitimacy? Breaking Bad is phenomenal, though, on all fronts and a great study on a meek and good guy going and soon to be gone bad.

    • TheBeach says:

      I’m with you all the way. Breaking Bad is phenomenal and should have won before now and last season was it’s best yet. The the supporting actor nominee is going to be killer: both Jesse and Gus (BB) should win as should Boyd from Justified.

  11. Cece says:

    I hope this means Michelle Dockery has a chance to be nominated for an Emmy.
    She’s so underrated.

  12. Carmichael says:

    The Walking Dead gets no Emmy love why exactly?

  13. Federico says:

    I really hope this is the year they start giving some credit to the good wife. Which is highly deserving and in need for some consideration to stay on the air.
    My dream nominations for best drama:
    The Good Wife
    Game of Thrones
    Mad Men
    Breaking Bad
    Americn Horror Story

  14. S. from A. says:

    as much as i love downton abbey, i have admit that the second season was by far not as brilliant as the first one. if mad men offers another typical almost flawless season they would deserve the award more! though i still would like to see breaking bad getting the emmy for once. this last season has been exceptional again!

  15. anna says:

    Downton Abbey is a cheesy soap opera that doesn’t deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence as shows like Breaking Bad, Mad Men and Homeland.

    • Doug-H says:

      This I totally agree with… And as a soap, he doesn’t even come close to Revenge so that knocks it way down the list IMO.. Just because it’s British, it’s not necessarily better…

  16. Tess says:

    What is wrong with you people? Season 2 was just as good as season 1…perhaps the additional episodes messed up your heads or something…it’s still just as compelling and addicting as it was in its first go round. Personally, I think it is one of the finest programs on tv these days, but knowing how the Emmy voters tend to be lazy when they vote and just keep giving the same awards to the same tired shows and performances, I doubt Downton will have a chance. Probably would’ve been better for them to have been in the mini-series category instead, but obviously they did themselves in by editing the show into 7 episodes for PBS. I do hope it gets nominated (and some of the cast members as well)and the Emmy voters strongly consider it rather than just continue with their mindless voting trend.

  17. Amy says:

    As much as I love Downton and think it is superbly acted, I think its missteps (here’s looking at you Robert and the maid) will deter it from winning an Emmy. I can’t imagine Mad Men not five-peating.

  18. jbkr73 says:

    I don’t watch Downton Abbey, not my type of show and we don’t have Showtime, so haven’t seen Homeland. I am planning on getting the DVDs when it comes out. Aside from those two, which I can’t judge, Justified is the best thing on television right now, hands down. The writing, the acting, the stories are far superior to any of the other possible nominees. That said, I’m betting this show will be like the other most well-written/acted show of the past ten years, Friday Night Lights, and not recognized until it’s gone.
    If you aren’t watching Justified, you should be.

  19. fernando says:


  20. Eliza says:

    Actually @ackelly, PBS broadcast the first season as 4 episodes but the original count in the UK was also 6 – still a “series” by British standards.

  21. shaun says:

    Glad it can go up against that sausage fest of Mad Men.Game of Thrones should be up there but those clowns don’t take it seriously!!

  22. Janet says:

    Is The Good Wife really good? I avoid CBS since they mostly make television for idiots, however, I keep hearing good things about Good Wife.

  23. Ray says:

    Brilliant! If Downton moves to the ODS category this year, that means Sherlock may have a chance in the mini-series/TV movie category. At least, one can only hope, right?

    • DD says:

      Hope springs eternal, Ray. Although the edits PBS made to the Season 1 episodes were appalling. PLEASE PBS, don’t butcher Season 2!

  24. Sam says:

    Homeland should be the frontrunner. Downton Abbey and Mad Men are great shows, but Homeland’s first season was the best season of TV I’ve seen in the last few years.

  25. mac says:

    Why is Parenthood never considered in the Drama category?

  26. kenny says:

    Mad Men’s biggest competition is Homeland. Homeland just came off one of the most brilliant first seasons of all time and the critics absolutely love it, while Mad Men is loved by the Emmys. Breaking Bad won’t be a frontrunner but Bryan Cranston will definitely be one in the acting category.

    • Stales says:

      Damian Lewis ( and for that matter Claire Danes and Mandy Patinkin) should wipe the floor with the competition, even Bryan Cranston, Moss/Marguiles, and Dinklage.

      The acting displayed by the Homeland three outshines anything for about the last 5 years, maybe since the hey day of Gandolfini and Falco

  27. sharon says:

    It’s been such an outstanding year for TV drama that I think it will be a difficult choice between Game of Thrones, Homeland and Downton Abbey. Each superb in their own right, and yet completely different. I do not with to negate the excellence of the others but those three are, to me, the stand-outs.
    That said, I’m glad of the category change for Downton – it makes sense.

  28. Rebecca says:

    As if DA is going to be competition for BB and MM! Don’t make me laugh.

  29. Diana says:

    I really enjoyed the series Downton Abbey. I think that it would have a better chance winning best mini series than best drama. Therefore I think that it should compete as best mini series instead of best drama because it did not have as many episodes as some drama series have in a year.

  30. Michael says:

    Homeland has it in the bag. I wouldn’t say it’s the best of the lot, but I can’t see it losing.

  31. Amber says:

    Hmm, are we talking season 2 of Homeland or season 1? Well, without having seen the upcoming seasons of Mad Men or Breaking Bad or Downton Abbey yet, it is hard to say. I actually voted for Breaking Bad on this since it will be for the final season. Not having seen it, you know it’s going to be spectacular, but I think the fact that it’s the last season will make people vote for it. However, if we are talking season 1 of Homeland vs. all the other shows, I have some doubt any show in the history of time could ever be better than that, and that includes Mad Men, which is another show I love. Sorry Mad Men. I am in like with you, but I am in love with Homeland.

    • Doug-H says:

      Based on what happened last year, last summer’s Breaking Bad will be up for the 2012 Emmy’s… Both Homeland and BB started too late in the year ( Homeland actually after in October) for 2011 which is why Cranston didn’t win…

  32. Cathy says:

    since the PBS episode configuration is misleading (and the author here should be doing better research; i mean ANYONE can find accurate info with a 30-second search), the number of episodes has nothing to do with the change in classification from mini-series to drama. yes, the end credits of season 1 did say “coming next season” (or something similar) because BY THAT TIME they had determined they had a HUGE hit, and would indeed make a season 2. But at the outset they had no idea it would be so successful, and had no concrete plans to continue it past one mini-series. Only as a direct result of Season 1’s huge popularity, it has now become a recurring show, and thus, a drama.

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      This story says nothing about the Stateside episode count being tied to the category change.

      • Cathy says:

        i will grant you that i may have inferred incorrectly, but to me, it seemed to imply so, with this statement: “Downton Abbey — which in its just-wrapped second season here in the States aired seven episodes (versus Season 1′s mere four)” —
        – which does show that the author didn’t research enough to discern the *accurate* comparison.

  33. janet says:

    There were 7 episodes of Downton Abbey it’s first season (Brits call it series for some wank reason) and 8+1 the second season.
    I think it shld stick to a miniseries connotation as “best” drama is not always the best … It’s what the voters think shld win

  34. Bob Jones says:

    The Drama Category is a beast – Mad Men, Breaking Bad, The Killing (AMC); Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire, Luck (HBO), Downton Abbey (PBS/ITV), Homeland, Dexter (SHO), Justified, AHS (FX), Boss (Starz), The Good Wife (CBS), Damages (Direct TV/FX), Smash (NBC).

  35. p my mother and i would enjoy the complete sieriese to be aired this summer .