NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” is the most awarded series in Primetime Emmy history, and this year the long-running variety series celebrated its 40th anniversary with a special that will likely add to the show’s record haul. Our exclusive Gold Derby odds have it heavily favored to win Best Variety Special with leading odds of 3/10. It has seven nominations total, which doesn’t count another eight bids for the main series. This wouldn’t be the first victory in this category for “SNL”; it actually won this award for its 25th anniversary in 2000.
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But we’d be foolish to count out its formidible competitors. Ranked second with 12/1 odds is “Mel Brooks Live at the Geffen,” which has two nominations this year including this award and Best Variety Special Writing for star Mel Brooks. Just last year this award went to the AFI Life Achievement Award special honoring Brooks, so voters might jump at the chance to award the man himself.
The annual “Kennedy Center Honors” are uncharacteristically far behind in our predictions with 20/1 odds. Honoring lifetime achievement in the performing arts, It has won this category seven times, including five in a row from 2009-2013. It also won twice more in 1984 and 1986, when series and specials were combined into one category. The nominated special, which aired in 2014, honored Al Green, Tom Hanks, Patricia McBride, Sting and Lily Tomlin. It has four total nominations, also including Best Variety Special Directing, Best Music Direction and Best Technical Direction.
Also with 20/1 odds is “Louis C.K.: Live at the Comedy Store.” The prolific Louis C.K., who also has several nominations for his FX series “Louie,” is a five-time Emmy champ for writing, but he has yet to win Best Variety Special.
A third program gets 20/1 odds from our predictors: “Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga: Cheek to Cheek Live.” This is the only nomination for the music special, but Tony Bennett previously won this category in 2007 for “Tony Bennett: American Classic.”
Rounding out the category is “Bill Maher: Live From D.C.” with 100/1 odds. Bill Maher has earned multiple nominations over the years for various variety series and specials, but his only win to date was Best Informational Program last year as a producer of HBO’s “Vice.”
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Last year, our Experts had an accuracy rate of 58.62% when it came to predicting the Emmy winners. That score tied them with both Gold Derby’s Editors and the Top 24 Users (those two dozen folks who did the best at predicting last year’s Emmys). Our Users scored 51.72% (Click on any of these groups to see what they got right and wrong last year.)
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Photo: “SNL: 40th Anniversary.” Credit: NBC