Is “Master of None” the new “Louie”? That FX series starred Louis C.K., who also wrote, directed, produced, and even edited the unconventional sitcom, which helped pave the way for other comedy-auteur series like Lena Dunham‘s “Girls,” Donald Glover‘s “Atlanta,” and “Master of None” from Aziz Ansari. “Louie” earned a total of 22 Emmy nominations during its run, but it only won three, and two of those were for Best Comedy Writing (for the episode “Pregnant” in 2012 and “So Did the Fat Lady” in 2014). Now “Master of None” is also on track for its second writing victory.
As of this writing we’ve polled nine Expert TV journalists from top media outlets for their picks, and seven of them are predicting that “Master of None” will win for its episode “Thanksgiving,” written by Ansari and Lena Waithe: Debra Birnbaum (Variety), Eric Deggans (NPR), Joyce Eng (TV Guide), Matthew Jacobs (Huffington Post), Robert Rorke (New York Post), Anne Thompson (IndieWire), and Adnan Virk (ESPN).
“Master of None” is already a proven winner in this category, having prevailed last year for the episode “Parents,” but its biggest advantage might be a lack of competition from itself. The Emmys nominated two episodes of “Atlanta” (“B.A.N.” and “Streets on Lock”) and two episodes of “Veep” (“Georgia” and “Groundbreaking”), and last year’s change in the Emmy system from ranked ballots to a simple plurality vote increases the likelihood of vote-splitting if one program is nominated multiple times.
That might be what happened last year in the writing and directing categories for comedies. “Master of None” won the writing award against two episodes apiece of “Veep” and “Silicon Valley.” And the directing award went to “Transparent” for “Man on the Land” against two episodes of “Silicon” and three episodes of “Veep.”
But Lynette Rice (Entertainment Weekly) is currently picking “Atlanta” to win for “B.A.N.” (written by creator and star Donald Glover) despite the show competing against itself. Voting for that acclaimed episode would give voters an opportunity to reward Glover, who also produces and directs the series. And “Atlanta” won two Writers Guild Awards earlier this year — Best Comedy Series and Best New Series — so we already know writers in the industry are inclined to reward it.
Ken Tucker (Yahoo) predicts “Veep” will win for its season finale episode, “Groundbreaking,” written by showrunner David Mandel. Though “Veep” also has a potential vote-splitting problem, it’s a proven winner in this category, having prevailed in 2015 for the episode “Election Night.” “Veep” is also adored by the TV academy at large with a whopping 17 nominations overall, far more than any other comedy. And the show is the two-time defending champ for Best Comedy Series, so if voters are picking it in the top category they might also check it off here.
Which of our Experts will be right? Or are they all underestimating the remaining nominees “Streets on Lock” (from “Atlanta”), “Georgia” (from “Veep”), or “Success Failure” (“Silicon Valley”), which is the only other nominee besides “Master of None” that competes for only one episode.
Be sure to make your Emmy predictions 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 winners are announced on September 17. And join in the fierce debate over the 2017 Emmys taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our TV forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.