Monday, August 12, 2019

Emmy Predictions 2019 - Which Program Will and Should Win for Variety Special (Live)?

The nominations have been announced for The 71st Annual Primetime Emmy Awards. So now, it's time to speculate on who will and should win in each major category. Next up for analysis is Variety Special (Live).

The Nominees Ranked By Which Should Win:
  1. ABC's Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear's "All in the Family" and "The Jeffersons"
  2. FOX's Rent
  3. CBS' The 72nd Annual Tony Awards
  4. CBS' The 61st Grammy Awards
  5. NBC's The 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards
  6. ABC's The Oscars

The comedies created by Norman Lear are classics for a reason. They remain some of the most topical and relevant shows in the history of the medium. It was an inspired idea to restage some of the episodes from All in the Family and The Jeffersons. It brought the content to a modern audience to show how the topics discussed back then are still relevant now. The entire cast was terrific. Sure, it was awkward how some performers just wanted to do impressions of the prior actors while others truly wanted to act the parts. But it was a fun evening of television. Elsewhere, it's fascinating how Rent got nominated in this category even though the final version was mostly pre-taped due to a last minute injury amongst the cast. It was largely a hit-or-miss staging of the iconic musical. When it worked though, it showed just how powerful the medium can still be through seeing musicals on television. This has been such a popular trend over the last few years. Not every experiment works. It's been more of a mixed bag. And yet, this experimentation has been greatly welcomed. As such, it's easier to appreciate what the top two shows offered this year than the typical awards shows.

The Nominees Ranked by Which Will Win:
  1. CBS' The 72nd Annual Tony Awards
  2. ABC's Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear's "All in the Family" and "The Jeffersons"
  3. FOX's Rent
  4. CBS' The 61st Grammy Awards
  5. ABC's The Oscars
  6. NBC's The 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards

When looking at this category, one simply cannot underestimate the Tony Awards. This category has undergone countless rebrands. It was only separated into live and pre-recorded specials a year ago. The voters are still figuring out exactly what to do in both categories. This is the much less exciting race to talk about this year. As such, that could ultimately give the edge to the Tony Awards simply because it has won in the corresponding category eight times since 2007. That's very impressive. It's also noteworthy because it has triumphed over some of high-profile musicals on TV. In fact, those live events have an iffy track record at the Emmys. Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert and Grease: Live both won here. And yet, The Sound of Music Live and Hairspray Live both lost to the Tony Awards. It's easy to imagine a reality where Rent suffers the same fate simply because the critical acclaim isn't as present as it was for the TV musicals that actually won. Of course, the Norman Lear special is the huge spoiler in this race. It's a format ABC is committed to. The broadcast network has already ordered two more specials for the next year. A win here could solidify the experiment as a tremendous success. Voters would just have to care about such things which they have never really proven to be in the past. 

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with my predictions? Let me know in the comments below!