Friday, August 7, 2020

Emmy Predictions 2020 - Which Program Will and Should Win for Variety Sketch Series?

The nominations have been announced for The 72nd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards. So now, it's time to speculate on which shows will and should win in each major category. Next up for analysis is Variety Sketch Series.

The Nominees Ranked By Which Should Win:
  1. HBO's A Black Lady Sketch Show
  2. NBC's Saturday Night Live
  3. Comedy Central's Drunk History

Black women have historically been underutilized and underrepresented in the sketch comedy format. As such, A Black Lady Sketch Show was revolutionary right out of the gate. More than that though, it was wickedly funny and produced so many memorable sketches. The creative spirit that flows through that show has been missing from the conversation for a long time. With its debut, it could no longer be ignored. Black women are smart and powerful. They are hilarious as well. The first season was eerily prescient with a depiction of four female friends stuck in an apartment together trying to survive. But the show succeeded by creating numerous characters that were instantly compelling with the audience demanding more. Saturday Night Live and Drunk History are the veterans of this category. At this point, people should expect them to get nominated. A Black Lady Sketch Show was a true unknown. It had such a successful and well-received launch. It has the backing of HBO. That never guarantees a nomination. That could be all the blessing and recognition needed. And yet, it would be very satisfying for the show to pull off a victory for its first season. That would honor the contributions Robin Thede and her collaborators have given to the genre. It's so much more than the confined box that has long defined what sketch comedy can be.

The Nominees Ranked by Which Will Win:
  1. NBC's Saturday Night Live
  2. HBO's A Black Lady Sketch Show
  3. Comedy Central's Drunk History

In order for A Black Lady Sketch Show to win, it will have to take down Saturday Night Live. That isn't going to be an easy task. It has won for the past three years. That's impressive. It's been rewarded because the variety field was separated into two different categories. Before that, the show had only won twice and was never a shoo-in to even be nominated every year. The current voters though see the long running show as the epitome of what the sketch format should be. Toppling that - albeit with a fresh and exciting concept - may be insurmountable. Having only three nominees in this category only gives the voters a condensed list of options. It's half what has become common for this field to produce. That shows just how brutal the new ballot system can be this year. These three have the support amongst the voters. That is abundantly clear now. Drunk History wasn't the perennial sixth place show that always managed to get onto the list. It has a voting block that recognizes it every year. That can't go unnoticed. One of these years it may actually prevail. After six nominations, it would certainly be worth it. That may never happen though. Saturday Night Live may be too big to fail. If an upset were to occur, then it would likely be a result of a surging A Black Lady Sketch Show. HBO has the resources to make that happen. This is one of the few categories where it isn't competing against Netflix. And yet, Saturday Night Live remains the bright light of hope for the broadcast networks. NBC won't give up that title so easily. That makes this a competitive fight despite only three shows getting nominated.

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