Five days from now, Anthony Anderson and Lauren Graham will announce the nominees for the 68th Primetime Emmy Awards, rewarding the best in television for the previous television season. In this special four-parter, I’ll be sharing my thoughts on which shows and performances are destined for Emmy gold this year. First up, the reality and variety series and specials.
OUTSTANDING REALITY/COMPETITION SERIES:
• The Amazing Race (CBS)
• Dancing with the Stars (ABC)
• Project Runway (Lifetime)
• So You Think You Can Dance (Fox)
• Top Chef (Bravo)
• The Voice (NBC)
Seventh nominee: Survivor (NBC)
Despite the surge in popularity of other reality shows like RuPaul’s Drag Race or the previously nominated Survivor, voters in this category are probably the laziest as this is the lineup we had for the last three years. Thus, even if there are other shows that were well-received, we’re stuck with this lineup, and that’s why I’m predicting the same six. Watch out though for a comeback of some sort, either Survivor‘s resurgence finally catches on the Academy or the farewell season of American Idol, to join the race again.
OUTSTANDING REALITY/COMPETITION HOST:
• Tom Bergeron, “Dancing with the Stars”
• Cat Deeley, “So You Think You Can Dance”
• Steve Harvey, “Celebrity Family Feud”
• Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn, “Project Runway”
• Jane Lynch, “Hollywood Game Night”
Sixth nominee: Ryan Seacrest, “American Idol”
Anthony Bourdain is ineligible this time around for The Taste, so that frees up a slot here, and the possibilities are endless. For now, I’m retaining three of the previous winners here – Bergeron, Klum and Gunn, and current champ Lynch – to join perennial nominee Cat Deeley. As for the newbie, I’m betting on Steve Harvey to pick up a nod, especially after his infamous Miss Universe stint in here. If not, then Ryan Seacrest probably comes back for Idol‘s series finale, or maybe RuPaul finally gets a breakthrough.
OUTSTANDING SPECIAL CLASS PROGRAM
• Grease: Live (Fox)
• Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill (HBO)
• The Oscars (ABC)
• Super Bowl 50 Halftime Show (CBS)
• 69th Annual Tony Awards (CBS)
• The Wiz Live (NBC)
Seventh nominee: Grammys 2016 (CBS)
For the first time, they’ve created a specific Special Class Program that separates specials to awards ceremonies and other live events. For this one, the focus is on theatrical specials and the current trend of doing live musicals on network shows will automatically give Grease Live and The Wiz Live nominations. Among awards ceremonies, however, the Oscars and the Tonys are the one that regularly gets nominated so expect them in here as well. HBO’s Lady Day special is a good bet as well, and since it’s still up in the air if we’ll get five or six nominees here, I’m including the Pepsi Halftime Show of the SuperBowl 50 which had the Coldplay, Bruno Mars, and Beyonce performance.
OUTSTANDING VARIETY SPECIAL
• Adele Live in New York City (NBC)
• Amy Schumer: Live at the Apollo (HBO)
• Kennedy Center Honors (CBS)
• Lemonade (HBO)
• Must See TV: A Tribute to James Burrows (NBC)
Sixth nominee: Sinatra 100: An All-Star Grammy Concert (CBS)
Speaking of Beyonce, the first of the Adele vs. Beyonce face-offs yet to come for the rest of the year will surprisingly start at the Emmys. Adele’s special NBC New York special is the frontrunner here, but Beyonce’s online smash premiere of Lemonade on HBO is a certain to receive a nod too. In between, there’s Amy Schumer’s Live at the Apollo special, multiple time winner Kennedy Center Honors, and as for the last spot, I’m going with the James Burrows special only because I think Burrows is a prominent and legendary TV figure that has worked on a lot of previous Emmy winning series.
OUTSTANDING VARIETY TALK PROGRAM
• The Daily Show with Trevor Noah (Comedy Central)
• Jimmy Kimmel Live (ABC)
• Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)
• The Late Late Show with James Corden (CBS)
• The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (CBS)
• The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (NBC)
Seventh nominee: Real Time with Bill Maher (HBO)
It’s a different category now without the usual shows (as the three from last year – the two Jimmys and John Oliver are coming back), especially from last year. With the exit of David Letterman and Jon Stewart, it frees up two spots here. Well, three if you include The Colbert Report, but then he’s just replacing himself with The Late Show. Trevor Noah taking over Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show is a shoo-in atoo. For that last spot, one can count on Real Time with Bill Maher to come back considering it’s a mainstay in this category except for its first absence last year. That said, I think HBO’s focus is now on Last Week Tonight already. I guess the popularity of his carpool karaoke series combined with the industrys penchant for him will give James Corden his first bid here for his CBS nightly show.
OUTSTANDING VARIETY SKETCH PROGRAM
• Documentary Now! (IFC)
• Drunk History (Comedy Central)
• Inside Amy Schumer (Comedy Central)
• Key & Peele (Comedy Central)
• Portlandia (IFC)
• Saturday Night Live (NBC)
Seventh nominee: Billy On The Street (truTV)
They’re extending the category to six now from last year’s five. Considering that all five nominees from last year are still eligible, then expect all five to be back. As for what’s joining them, we’re counting on IFC’s Documentary Now which has Emmy nominees Fred Armisen and Bill Hader on the forefront to get nominated too.
Tomorrow, it’s the longform categories with the TV Movie and Miniseries programs!
Talk to me about it on Twitter: @nikowl