In the 2018 Emmy election for Best Variety Talk Series, we should expect to see mostly familiar faces. According to the combined predictions of thousands of Gold Derby users, “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” is the front-runner to win for the third year in a row with 3/1 odds, followed by returning nominees Stephen Colbert, Samantha Bee, Jimmy Kimmel and James Corden. But we’re anticipating one major change: incumbent Bill Maher might lose his primary to Seth Meyers.
That is to say, “Late Night with Seth Meyers” is predicted to take that sixth Emmy slot away from “Real Time with Bill Maher.” Including the years before 2015 when talk shows and sketch shows were awarded in the same category, “Real Time” has been nominated a whopping 12 times, missing only once since 2005.
That miss was a unique circumstance: in 2015 the show was booted to make room for “Late Show with David Letterman” the year Letterman retired from late night. Once Letterman was gone, “Real Time” returned in 2016 and has stayed there despite other category shakeups in the last two years.
But as of this writing 7 of the 12 Expert journalists we’ve polled from top media outlets are expecting Meyers to be nominated: Debra Birnbaum (Variety), Lynn Elber (Associated Press), Joyce Eng (Gold Derby), Chris Harnick (E!), Matthew Jacobs (Huffington Post), Anne Thompson (IndieWire) and Ben Travers (IndieWire).
Only four Experts are currently predicting Maher to get back in: Debbie Day (Rotten Tomatoes), Pete Hammond (Deadline Hollywood), Tom O’Neil (Gold Derby) and Peter Travers (Rolling Stone). None of our Experts are predicting both Meyers and Maher to be nominated, so it really might come down to a battle between the two of them for that sixth slot since there is almost unanimous agreement that the top five contenders are secure.
If Maher does lose out to Meyers then he could look at last year’s race for Best Variety Series Writing as the canary in the coal mine. “Late Night with Seth Meyers” was nominated there as its only Emmy recognition that year, but “Real Time” was not. That could mirror the rise of “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee,” which earned a lone writing nomination in 2016 before sweeping the awards with seven noms in 2017.
But Maher has faced challenges before and maintained his position in the race. Can he withstand this latest threat?
Be sure to make your Emmy predictions today so that Hollywood insiders can see how their TV shows and performers are faring in our odds. You can keep changing your predictions as often as you like until just before nominees are announced on July 12. And join in the fun debate over the 2018 Emmys taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our television forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.