Thursday, September 7, 2017

Emmy Predictions 2017 - Which Program Will Likely Win for Variety Talk Series?

The nominations are in for The 69th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards. The final round of voting has occurred. So, it's time to speculate on who is likely to win in each major category. Next up for analysis is Variety Talk Series.

The Nominees:
  • TBS' Full Frontal with Samantha Bee
  • ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live!
  • HBO's Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
  • CBS' The Late Show with Stephen Colbert
  • CBS' The Late Late Show with James Corden
  • HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher

Much like the Variety Sketch category, this is only the third year of the existence of an award for Variety Talk series. However, there is much more history to delve in with this field because the variety talk shows were dominating in the former Variety Series category. That's why it needed to be split into two distinct categories because sketch and talk are very different types of shows. As such, there is more history to analyze for the potential winner here. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart or one of its alums has won in this category ever since 2003. That's very impressive. But now, there are three nominees in the field this year that came from that Comedy Central show - Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. So, the odds are good that this pattern will hold once again this year. It's just a mystery as to which of these shows will walk away victorious.

It may actually be a race between former winners. Both John Oliver and Stephen Colbert have won in this category. Of course, Colbert won for his former Comedy Central show and not his current show on CBS. It was a huge deal when he was snubbed in this race last year. It felt like a year where he stumbled and couldn't quite find his footing with this new format. But he came roaring back this year thanks to the election. That has given him a point-in-view in the genre once more. It would almost play as a comeback story. He won once, then left to do a different show, worked out the kinks and returned to take the trophy once more. That's a solid story. And yet, The Late Show still probably isn't the best show in this category. It deserves its nomination. But Last Week Tonight is the reigning champion. So, the Emmys may just be setting up a new winning streak in this field with the HBO show winning ever year because it truly is doing something remarkable with the genre.

But Full Frontal can't be overlooked either. Like Colbert, Samantha Bee was overlooked in this race last year. That seemed likely because her show was still so young and came from a network that doesn't have a strong track record at the Emmys. But this year, it got many well-deserved nominations for its weekly show and its correspondents' dinner special. That gives her even more opportunities to win this year. As such, it seems likely that she'll prevail in at least one race. It's just unclear which it will be. It would be easier to spread the love if she loses here but wins for writing or in the special categories. But Full Frontal is doing terrific work in the genre as well. This has turned out to be a great year for news satire. As such, this may be one of the categories to watch heading into the ceremony.

All of this essentially makes Jimmy Kimmel Live, The Late Late Show with James Corden and Real Time with Bill Maher long shots in this race. It would be truly shocking if one of them prevailed. Jimmy Kimmel and James Corden are excellent hosts of their shows. There just doesn't seem to be the urgency to reward them because this is a category where the political content of the past year will likely have an impact of some sorts. Of course, James Corden won in several categories last year. So, he could be a dark horse contender once more. Meanwhile, it would be truly baffling if Bill Maher won. He got nominated despite the latest round of controversy he created with his show. He's been nominated more times than anyone else in this category without a victory. But it would feel odd and wrong if he somehow managed to pull off an upset.

Should Win: Full Frontal with Samantha Bee
Will Win: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
Dark Horse: The Late Show with Stephen Colbert