2017 Emmy predictions slugfest: Are the Variety and Reality races open and shut?

“It’s really just great to see Samantha Bee in there,” Gold Derby’s Amanda Spears says in our slugfest about the Emmy races for variety and reality programming (watch above), which also features Charles Bright, Tony Ruiz and moderator Riley Chow. Spears explains that “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” is the first female-led talk show nominated since “Tracey Takes On” in 1999. She concludes, “If John Oliver’s going to lose, it’s probably going to be to Samantha Bee.”

All four of us are predicting a repeat victory by “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” for Best Variety Talk Series, largely because it leads talk series in nominations. Spears explains, “It’s in Writing, it’s in Directing, it’s got all the technical categories that you would probably need for this and these other ones don’t; they’re in one or two other categories. You would have to add up all [of the nominations for the other Talk Series nominees], practically, to overtake his nomination total.”

Our group is also unanimous in predicting “Saturday Night Live” to win Best Variety Sketch Series, largely because it leads all programs in nominations at the Emmys this year (tying with “Westworld” at 22 bids). Ruiz calls it “a juggernaut” and “unbeatable.” Our group is further unanimous in predicting “Saturday Night Live” to win Best Variety Series Directing. The variety races seem to be open and shut this year, but Gold Derby was wrong last year to call Best Variety Sketch Series for “Inside Amy Schumer” instead of “Key & Peele,” as well as Best Variety Series Directing for “Saturday Night Live” instead of “Inside Amy Schumer.”

Chow is calling an upset in Best Variety Series Writing for “Saturday Night Live” over frontrunner “Last Week Tonight,” which won last year, because the category is prone to vote-splitting. I point out, “The other four nominees are all late-night talk shows.” Bright, Ruiz and Spears are calling an upset in Best Reality-Competition Series — by predicting “The Voice,” which Bright terms the “safe option,” as it has won the category three of the last four years. “RuPaul’s Drag Race” is the current frontrunner, for its ninth season, having been snubbed for its previous eight.

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UPLOADED Sep 12, 2017 6:01 pm