Emmy experts predict Best Comedy Series: ‘Atlanta’ or ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’ could win over ‘Veep’

After a week of Emmy voting, “Veep” is the frontrunner to win Best Comedy Series for the third time, but it shouldn’t necessarily be considered a lock. Last year its only other victories were for Best Comedy Casting and Best Comedy Actress (Julia Louis-Dreyfus for the fifth year in a row). However, momentum is a powerful force at the Emmys. “Veep” has won for the last two years; before that “Modern Family” won five times (2010-2014) and “30 Rock” won three times (2007-2009). So what will happen when 2017’s winner is announced this September?

As of this writing we’ve polled 19 Experts from various top media outlets, and 13 of them predict a third consecutive victory for “Veep”: Debra Birnbaum (Variety), Eric Deggans (NPR), Lynn Elber (Associated Press), Joyce Eng (TV Guide), Bonnie Fuller (Hollywood Life), Pete Hammond (Deadline), Matthew Jacobs (Huffington Post), Tom O’Neil (Gold Derby), Paul Sheehan (Gold Derby), Anne Thompson (IndieWire), Ken Tucker (Yahoo), Adnan Virk (ESPN) and Jarett Wieselman (Buzzfeed).

But if any show is in a position to upset “Veep,” which will it be? Five Experts are betting on “Atlanta”: Kerr Lordygan (Rotten Tomatoes), Robert Rorke (New York Post), Matt Roush (TV Guide Magazine), Peter Travers (Rolling Stone) and Glenn Whipp (LA Times).

Emmy voters are often slow to embrace new shows, but there’s good reason to believe “Atlanta” will be an exception to that rule. Consider how well it did during the winter awards season. It won the Golden Globe for Best TV Comedy Series, which isn’t unusual since Globe voters can’t resist a cool new show. But then “Atlanta” swept through a number of key industry awards, winning Best Comedy Series from the Producers Guild and Writers Guild and earning a nomination from the Directors Guild. It was overlooked by the SAG Awards, but that’s rarely a fatal blow: the SAG Awards have been late to the party with other shows like “Homeland” and “Transparent” that nevertheless scored top Emmy nominations and wins for their first seasons.

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One Expert, Lynette Rice (Entertainment Weekly), is going out on a limb for an underdog: “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” which would be the first winner in this category from a streaming service. “Kimmy” has been nominated for Best Comedy for the past two seasons, and it has accumulated 11 total nominations, but it has yet to win in any category. However, it premiered its third season later that usual, on May 19, so it will be fresher in voters’ minds. And the fact that the show comes from Emmy winners Tina Fey and Robert Carlock (“30 Rock”) doesn’t hurt.

None of our Experts are predicting a victory for ABC’s “Black-ish,” but all 19 are predicting it will be nominated again. It earned its first bid in this category last year for its second season, and since then the show has been steadily increasing its awards momentum, earning its first Golden Globe nom for Best Comedy Series and its first SAG Awards nom for Best Comedy Ensemble. If it prevails it certainly wouldn’t be the first time it took Emmy voters a few years to catch on to a show — just look at “Veep,” which didn’t win until season four.

“Transparent” will be nominated for the third consecutive year according to 17 Experts. The Amazon dramedy has won eight Emmys to date, including Best Comedy Actor (Jeffrey Tambor) and Best Comedy Directing (Jill Soloway) twice in a row.

Silicon Valley” is looking for its fourth nomination, and it will make the cut again according to 16 Experts. HBO’s tech-industry comedy has been steadily gaining support over the years, earning five nominations in 2014, then seven in 2015, and then nine in 2016.

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There are 14 Experts forecasting a repeat nomination for another Netflix comedy, “Master of None,” after it broke through for its first season last year. The series is the brainchild of comedian Aziz Ansari and his creative partner Alan Yang, and it earned four nominations last year: Best Comedy Series, Best Comedy Actor (Ansari), Best Comedy Writing and Best Comedy Directing, with Ansari and Yang winning the writing award.

“Atlanta” may not be the only freshman show in this year’s Emmy lineup. Six Experts think HBO’s “Insecure” will also be in contention. Like “Atlanta” and “Master of None” it’s created and written by its star, Issa Rae.

“Modern Family” has been nominated for all of its last seven seasons, and as mentioned above it’s a five-time winner, but only five Experts predict it will be nominated for an eighth time this year. Only four shows in Emmy history have been nominated eight times or more: “Frasier” (eight), “All in the Family” (nine) and “Cheers” and “M*A*S*H” (11 each).

Three Experts think “Girls” will make a comeback for its sixth and final season after earning nominations in its first two years (2012-2013). And there are five more shows with support from one Expert apiece: “You’re the Worst,” “Dear White People,” four-time nominee “The Big Bang Theory,” “Fleabag” and “Better Things.”

Predict the Emmy nominees now; change them until July 13

Be sure to make your Emmy predictions. Weigh in now with your picks so that Hollywood insiders can see how their TV shows and performers are faring in our Emmy odds. You can keep changing your predictions until just before nominees are announced on July 13. And join in the fierce debate over the 2017 Emmys taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our TV forums.

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