Sat. Aug 15th, 2020

Emmy Predictions: Variety/Reality-Competition/Short Form categories

It’s the very final stretch. We’ve done the top categories in Drama, Comedy and Limited Series and now it’s time to take on the Variety and Reality categories, which are equally as competitive this year.

Without further ado, here are my predictions in Variety, Reality/Competition and Short Form categories.


Variety Talk Series (5)

  • Full Frontal with Samantha Bee (TBS)
  • Jimmy Kimmel Live! (ABC)
  • Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)
  • The Late Late Late Show with James Corden (CBS)
  • The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (CBS)

Variety Sketch Series (4)

  • At Home with Amy Sedaris (TruTV)
  • A Black Lady Sketch Show (HBO)
  • Drunk History (Comedy Central)
  • Saturday Night Live (NBC)

There were only 14 submissions for Variety Sketch Series so we’re only getting four nominees with the Television Academy’s new sliding scale. Of last year’s nominees only SNL, Amy Sedaris, and Drunk History are eligible and I think all should be back. HBO’s A Black Lady Sketch Show is in its first year of eligibility and should be this year’s breakthrough. Saturday Night Live has won this the last three years.

Variety Special (Live) (5)

  • 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards (NBC)
  • The Little Mermaid Live! (ABC)
  • Live In Front of a Studio Audience: “All in the Family” and “Good Times” (ABC)
  • The Oscars (ABC)
  • 73rd Annual Tony Awards (CBS)

It’s a little awards show heavy but I wonder if there will be a bit sympathy/nostalgia for awards shows as this year – including the Emmys – are very much up in the air.

Variety Special (Pre-Recorded) (6)

  • Dave Chappelle: Sticks & Stones (Netflix)
  • Hannah Gadsby: Douglas (Netflix)
  • Homefest: James Corden’s Late Late Show Special (CBS)
  • John Mulaney & The Sack Lunch Bunch (Netflix)
  • A Parks And Recreation Special (NBC)
  • Take Me To The World: A Sondheim 90th Birthday Celebration (YouTube/

Variety Special Writing (Pre-Recorded) (5)

  • Dave Chappelle: Sticks & Stones
  • Hannah Gadsby: Douglas
  • John Mulaney and the Sack Lunch Bunch
  • A Parks and Recreation Special
  • Patton Oswalt: I Love Everything

Hannah Gadsby won last year for Nanette. Dave Chappelle, despite winning Variety Special in 2018, was not nominated for Writing. John Mulaney won for Kid Gorgeous in 2018 and was nominated in 2016 for Comeback Kid. Patton Oswalt won in 2016 and was nominated again in 2018. The Tony Awards have been a mainstay in the category, but haven’t been nominated in 2017.


Competition Program (6)

  • American Ninja Warrior (NBC)
  • Making the Cut (Amazon)
  • Nailed It! (Netflix)
  • RuPaul’s Drag Race (VH1)
  • Top Chef (Bravo)

There is no The Amazing Race for the first time in 17 years (due to COVID halting production). They had been nominated every year and won an record 11 times. This category will drop to 5 nominees for the first time since 2010. Of previous nominees, RuPaul’s Drag Race has won two out of its three nominations here (the last two years). American Ninja Warrior has 4 nominations, Nailed It! has one, Top Chef has 13 (and 1 win) and The Voice has 8 (with four wins).

Host for a Reality or Competition Program (6)

  • Nicole Byer – Nailed It! (Netflix)
  • Ellen DeGeneres – Ellen’s Game of Games (NBC)
  • Jane Lynch – Hollywood Game Night (NBC)
  • Melissa McCarthy – Little Big Shots (NBC)
  • Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman – Making It (NBC)
  • RuPaul – RuPaul’s Drag Race (VH1)

RuPaul has won the last 4 years. Nominees last year, James Corden and Marie Kondo, aren’t eligible this year. There are enough submissions to give us 6 nominees with the new sliding scale. Amy Poehler & Nick Offerman and Ellen DeGeneres are last year nominees eligible to return this year.


Obviously, Quibi could really dominate these categories with the majority of submissions coming from the new short form app.

Short Form Comedy or Drama Series (5)

  • #FreeRayshawn (Quibi)
  • The Good Place Presents: The Selection (NBC)
  • Most Dangerous Game (Quibi)
  • Nikki Fre$h (Quibi)
  • Reno 911! (Quibi)

Short Form Variety Series (5)

  • Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis: The Movie, Sorta Uncut Interviews (Funny or Die)
  • Carpool Karaoke: The Series (CBS)
  • Cold as Balls (LOL Network)
  • Late Night with Seth Meyers: Late Night Storytime (NBC)
  • UNHhhh (YouTube/WOW)

Short Form Nonfiction or Reality Series (5)

  • Born This Way: Moving Forward (A&E)
  • Gayme Show (Quibi)
  • Kevin Hart: What the Fit (LOL Network)
  • Pose: Identity, Family, Community (FX)
  • Top Chef: Last Chance Kitchen (Bravo)

Actor in a Short Form Series (5)

  • Darren Criss – Royalties (Quibi)
  • Laurence Fishburne – #FreeRayshawn (Quibi)
  • Will Forte – Flipped (Quibi)
  • Marc Evan Jackson – The Good Place Presents: The Selection (NBC)
  • Christoph Waltz – Most Dangerous Game (Quibi)

Actress in a Short Form Series (5)

  • Loni Anderson – My Sister is So Gay
  • Jasmine Cephas Jones – #FreeRayshawn (Quibi)
  • Peri Gilpin – Old Guy (YouTube)
  • Anna Kendrick – Dummy (Quibi)
  • Sophie Turner – Survive (Quibi)
%d bloggers like this: