How much will the events of 2020 break up a traditionally impenetrable Emmy category? Gold Derby contributing editors Riley Chow and Matt Noble and writer Charlie Bright join me in a new slugfest where we argue how much things will change in the variety categories this year. Chow, Noble and I are all predicting the same five shows to be nominated for Variety Talk Series: “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah,” “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee,” “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver,” “The Late Late Show with James Corden” and “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.” But Bright believes there will be some major turnover, with shows like “Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj” and “Desus & Mero” entering the mix, arguing, “There’s going to be a conscious effort on voters to look at diversity.” He adds that this won’t be the only criteria, but, “I think that’ll give them a bit of a leg up that they might not have had in previous years.” Watch the Emmy predictions slugfest above.
There is little doubt that John Oliver, Stephen Colbert and Samantha Bee‘s respective shows will be nominated again, but Noble observes how much Trevor Noah‘s series has gained major traction lately, potentially making it just as strong of a contender. “Trevor Noah is probably the one that I’ve seen rise the most of all these contenders over the past two or three seasons,” argues Noble.
James Corden‘s program is not among the top five of predictions on Gold Derby, but the four of us agree that his popularity among Emmy voters is hard to deny. Chow notes, “Even if he is not recognized in the main talk series category, he’ll still get plenty of other nominations.”
Should Emmy voters look for other late-night options this year, Bright believes Hasan Minhaj‘s show has the ingredients to do it, comparing it favorably to “Last Week Tonight,” which has won the Emmy every year since 2016. There is also a possibility for John Krasinski‘s new series “Some Good News,” which I point out was “made specifically for this time” and was so widely seen, even compared to the other contenders here.
Switching over to Variety Sketch Series, there are only 14 shows on the ballot, meaning we will have a limited number of nominees. We expect four, which will surely include defending champ three years running, “Saturday Night Live,” and perennial favorite “Drunk History.”
There is slightly less confidence in “At Home with Amy Sedaris,” though it is the only other previous nominee in the mix. The final slot will probably go to “A Black Lady Sketch Show,” which I state is “very much in the same vein as ‘Key & Peele’ and ‘Portlandia’ and ‘Inside Amy Schumer’ where it just has this unique voice and perspective.”
Bright has more faith in “Sherman’s Showcase,” comparing it to “Documentary Now!” Either way, Noble suggests a general philosophy in these variety categories that when “you’re voting for the show, you’re also voting for the person.”
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