“I randomly got a call from Ryan asking would you come on this season and I was so excited. And he basically just gave me an outline of the character. And he was like, this is all I can tell you, if you're in you're in, and if you're not you're not. And I remember that was more nerve-wracking than any audition would have been.”
Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk created the tale of a coven of witches living in New Orleans, starring Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, Sarah Paulson and Angela Bassett. Star power and popularity work in the show's favor.
Emile Hirsch and Holliday Grainger in the title roles of Depression-era outlaw couple Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker, immortalized by their criminal exploits. Many voters will go for the classic American crime story.
Chiwetel Ejiofor and Jacqueline Bisset star in this story of a jazz band as it interacts with the aristocratic world of 1930s London. The actors' fame (or notoriety) may help it win Emmy love.
Amoral drifter Lorne Malvo, played by Billy Bob Thornton, infects a small, frigid yet far-from-innocent Minnesota town with his malice and violence. Many will feast on the show's complex storylines and dark tales of intrigue.
Dominic Cooper stars as James Bond creator Ian Fleming during his days working for British naval intelligence, before he started his writing career. Will Emmy voters be shaken or stirred?
Sam Mendes and Gareth Neame adapted Shakespeare's history plays. Period junkies also get to enjoy perfs by stars including Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Irons and Ben Whishaw.
In this apocalyptic tale, the re-animated deceased return as rabid zombies, are hunted down and turned back into their pre-zombie selves, then face difficulties adjusting to society. What's not to like?
Ridley Scott exec-produced the channel's first scripted mini about two Yukon gold-rush adventurers who face harsh weather and unsavory characters in the 1890s. Howling winds won't keep voters away.
Idris Elba is a brilliant yet troubled British detective who solves serial killings as he attempts to rekindle a failed marriage. Emmy voters may go for this complex, conflicted character, created by Neil Cross.
Frank Darabont (“The Shawshank Redemption,” “The Walking Dead”) created this neo-noir crime drama centered on conflicts between the LAPD and Bugsy Siegel-led gangsters set in the 1940s.
The independently financed pic about a couple's heartbreak after facing a stillbirth has been generating grassroots buzz on the strength of Minnie Driver's performance.
Created by David Simon and Eric Overmyer, and now with four seasons and 36 episodes under its belt, the show follows the people and culture of New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina. Production values abound.
In pre-Tudor England, three ambitious and ruthless women vie for power — and for the ultimate prize of the throne. Fans of court intrigue find this a mesmerizing drama.
Christopher Plummer stars as actor John Barrymore rehearsing for a backer's audition to raise money for a revival of his Broadway triumph in Richard III. Actor pedigree and theater theme will pull highbrow votes.
Dominic West and Helena Bonham Carter topline as the volatile on-again, off-again lovers, Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. No Emmy voter will have a neutral opinion on this oft-told story.
Larry David and Jon Hamm star in this David-created story of a man who plots revenge against his former business partner. Whether they're in the 1% or 99%, socially aware voters will be intrigued.
Based on V.C. Andrews' cult classic, the movie traces the twisted tale of siblings forced to endure severe mistreatment in their grandparents' attic.
Whoopi Goldberg headlines and exec-produces the story of a mother who tries to help her dysfunctional family through life's ups and downs. A social subtext seldom hurts a show's chances.
Based on the book by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard about the assassination of JFK, this new spin on a perennially told story will pull political junkies. Rob Lowe and Ginnifer Goodwin star.
An all-star cast populates this movie about Muhammad Ali's refusal to fight in the Vietnam War — and the consequences of that decision. Movie will stir vivid memories among those who lived in that period.
A terrible tragedy and cover-up force an ex-con and a local cop to face the secrets of their past — and their lives quickly unravel. Jason Momoa, Martin Henderson, Julianne Nicholson, Tom Sizemore and Tamara Tunie star.
Mark Ruffalo is a gay activist in the early 1980s attempting to raise HIV/AIDS awareness in HBO's adaptation of Larry Kramer's autobiographical play. Strong perfs by Matt Bomer, Jim Parsons and Julia Roberts add to the movie's Emmy luster.
This TV adaptation of playwright Horton Foote's Tony-nommed play stars Cicely Tyson as Carrie Watts, who escapes the confines of her apartment to return to her hometown. A classic tale appeals to classic tastes.
A fresh, inventive take on the familiar detective story, the new “Sherlock” — starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman — follows the crime-solving pair in 21st-century London.
“Dancing With the Stars” (ABC)
Six-time nominee won in 2012 and the hard-working host is again one of the top contenders given that “Stars,” although down in the ratings, still taps its way to ratings gold.
“Cutthroat Kitchen” (Food Network)
Brown brings devilish glee to his new show, a cooking competition that makes the curves thrown on “Chopped” look like easy pitches down the middle. Emmy would do well to recognize this multitalented foodie.
“Project Runway”/“Under the Gunn” (Lifetime)
Last year's winner (he won with “Project Runway” colleague Heidi Klum) has a very good shot of repeating although his frosh series “Under the Gunn” didn't ignite the fervor that “Runway” did and does.
“The Bachelor” (ABC)
Much online gossip and speculation about Harrison's true feelings about the series' last bachelor pushed the host's profile higher than ever. But will Emmy recognize the harder edge he brought to the last season?
“Project Runway” (Lifetime)
The 2013 winner in this category with “Runway” colleague Tim Gunn, Klum became more assertive leading the judges' panel, introducing spicier deliberations that made better TV.
“The Amazing Race” (CBS)
Could the four-time nominee finally be recognized after the “All-Stars” season? He keeps his cool in exotic situations.
“So You Think You Can Dance” (Fox)
The sunny Brit is a past nominee and the continued popularity of the show could push her to a win although Emmy tends to reward older-skewing show hosts.
“Top Chef” (Bravo)
The series is must-see TV for food lovers and her rapport with the “cheftestants” and her command of the show has been growing in the last couple of seasons. But does Emmy still see her as a lightweight?
Four-time winner will certainly never get voted off the island, but is Emmy tired of celebrating his talent for managing chaos in challenging situations?
“American Idol” (Fox)
The six-time nominee may not see a seventh nom as the series experienced precipitous ratings erosion and is not the pop culture force it once was.