The Emmy for Best Variety Series Directing will be handed out at the Creative Arts Awards ceremony on Sunday, September 11. But this is one race where the Expert TV journalists we’ve polled are going against the grain. “Saturday Night Live” is the frontrunner to win when you combine our Experts with the wisdom of Gold Derby’s Editors who cover awards year-round, the Top 24 Users who got the highest scores predicting last year’s Emmys, and all Users who make up the largest and often savviest bloc of Gold Derby predictors. However, taken by themselves, the experts are backing “Inside Amy Schumer.”
Ryan McFaul is nominated for directing the “Inside Amy” episode “Madonna/Whore,” and 10 of our 18 Experts are betting on him, giving him leading 9/10 odds: Michael Ausiello (TV Line), Robert Bianco (USA Today), Debra Birnbaum (Variety), Eric Deggans (NPR), Matthew Jacobs (Huffington Post), Kerr Lordygan (Rotten Tomatoes), Tom O’Neil (Gold Derby), Robert Rorke (New York Post), Ken Tucker (Yahoo) and Jarett Wieselman (Buzzfeed).
This is the second straight nomination for McFaul, who was nominated last year with Amy Schumer for directing the “Inside Amy” episode “12 Angry Men Inside Amy Schumer.” This would be his first win.
Nominated for “SNL” is Don Roy King, who contends for directing the December episode hosted by Emmy-nommed guest hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. King ranks second with 21/10 odds based on support from six experts: Joyce Eng (TV Guide), Lynette Rice (Entertainment Weekly), Matt Roush (TV Guide Magazine), Paul Sheehan (Gold Derby), Anne Thompson (Indiewire) and Adnan Virk (ESPN).
King has been an Emmy juggernaut in recent years, winning this category five times in a row for “SNL” (2010-2014) and then winning Best Variety Special Directing in 2015 for “Saturday Night Live: 40th Anniversary Special.” That means he’s walked away with a statue every year this decade so far.
One expert, Lynn Elber (Associated Press), foresees a victory for Paul Pennolino, who directed “Episode 303” of “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver,” giving him 14/1 odds. This is his first nomination.
One other expert, Pete Hammond (Deadline Hollywood), says the winner will be Tim Mancinelli for the “Post-Super Bowl Episode” of “Late Late Show with James Corden.” That gives him 14/1 odds also. This is Mancinelli’s first Emmy nomination as well.
None of our experts are predicting the final nominee in the category, Dave Diomedi for “Episode 325” of “Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.” That gives him odds of 80/1. This is his third straight nomination for directing Jimmy Fallon‘s “Tonight Show,” though he has yet to win.
Unlike the experts, our editors strongly favor “SNL.” Six out of seven of us place it out front: Sheehan, Chris Beachum, Marcus James Dixon, Rob Licuria, Matt Noble and myself. O’Neil is the sole editor predicting “Inside Amy Schumer.”
The race is a little closer when you consult our Top 24. Thirteen of them are predicting “SNL,” compared to seven for “Inside Amy,” one for “Last Week Tonight” and one for “The Tonight Show.”
“SNL” is also out front according to our All-Star Top 24, who got the highest scores when you combine Emmy predictions from the last two years, and that kind of consistency from year to year is worth paying attention to. Fifteen of them agree that it will be “SNL,” while four say “Inside Amy” and one is backing “The Tonight Show.”
Be sure to make your Emmy predictions right here. You’ll compete to win our contest prizes for best picks — $500 (first place), $300 (second place) and $200 (third place) in Amazon gift certificates — a place of honor on our leaderboard and a starring role in next year’s Top 24 Users (the two dozen folks who do the best predicting this year’s Emmys). Be sure to read our contest rules.