The 75th Primetime Emmy Awards has a new Emmy statuette, a slightly smaller field of contenders than last year and a few question marks hanging over it courtesy of the ongoing writers’ strike. It also potentially offers some fascinating faceoffs: “Succession” vs. “The White Lotus,” “Ted Lasso” vs. “The Bear” and “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver” vs. “Saturday Night Live,” among others.
Before Emmy nominations are announced on July 12, here are TheWrap’s predictions in 22 categories across the drama, comedy, limited series, variety and reality fields. (We’ll let you make your own predictions in the other 98 categories.)
The Emmys drama categories this year will be a showdown between “Succession” and “The White Lotus,” and that means they’ll also be a showcase for a new rule at least partially designed to prevent shows from hogging the nomination slots in a category.
Last year, “Succession” won in the Outstanding Drama Series category and also set a new Emmy record for a series with 14 individual acting nominations, including three for supporting actor, three for guest actress and four for guest actor. “The White Lotus,” meanwhile, dominated the limited series categories, combining with “Dopesick” to take 15 of the 16 supporting actor and actress nominations.
Those results happened under a system in which Television Academy members could cast votes for as many actors as they wanted; this year, they’ll be limited to six picks in the lead and guest categories and eight in the supporting category. That should presumably nudge voters to spread the love and not pick everybody from their favorite programs – but given the number of notable performers in “Succession” and “The White Lotus,” their resolve may be tested.
OUTSTANDING DRAMA SERIES
Three of the top contenders in this category, “Succession,” “The Crown” and “The Handmaid’s Tale,” have already won the Oustanding Drama Series Emmy. One, “Better Call Saul,” has been nominated for every one of its six seasons. Another, “House of the Dragon,” is a spinoff from “Game of Thrones,” which was nominated eight times and won four. Another, “The White Lotus,” was eligible and won in the limited-series category last year.
In other words, this is a category of heavyweights, even before you consider other past nominees “Yellowjackets,” “The Boys” and “The Mandalorian” and new shows “The Last of Us,” “The Diplomat,” “Andor,” “The Old Man,” “1923” and “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.” The final seasons of “Succession” and “Better Call Saul” seem all but guaranteed to make the cut, as does the year’s hottest new show, “The Last of Us,” and regular nominee “The Crown,” which has been recognized for each of its four seasons. “The White Lotus” is a similar lock, even though it’s in a far more competitive category now that the Television Academy has reclassified it as drama series.
That leaves three slots for at least half a dozen formidable contenders. The pedigree of “House of the Dragon” may be hard to resist for a body of voters that lavished awards on “Game of Thrones,” and Season 2 of “Yellowjackets” was a solid follow-up to the nominated Season 1. The last spot could easily go to “The Handmaid’s Tale,” a longtime favorite of voters even if it’s not in the conversation as much as it used to be; or to one of the “Star Wars” series, either “The Mandalorian” or the darker and more critically acclaimed “Andor,” or to “Bad Sisters” or “The Old Man” or “Yellowstone” (finally?) or “The Diplomat.” My guess is that the timing was right for the last of those shows, which dropped late in the eligibility period and got lots of people talking.
Predicted nominees: “Better Call Saul,” “The Crown,” “The Diplomat,” “House of the Dragon,” “The Last of Us,” “Succession,” “The White Lotus,” “Yellowjackets”
Watch out for: “Andor,” “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “The Old Man”
OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Here’s where we find out just how much strength “Succession” has. No drama series has ever placed three nominees in this category, but Brian Cox, Kieran Culkin and Jeremy Strong are all among the top contenders. It’s hard to imagine one of them not landing a nomination unless voters either take Strong for granted or decide that an actor whose character dies in Episode 3, Cox, doesn’t belong in the lead category. (Culkin, competing in Lead for the first time, is strangely enough probably the true lock, given his high profile this season.)
Outside the world of “Succession,” it’s the Academy’s last chance to recognize Bob Odenkirk for “Better Call Saul” and their first chance to salute Harrison Ford (“1923”), who’s never been nominated for an Emmy. One caveat with Ford: He’s also eligible for “Shrinking” in the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series category, where it might be easier to find a spot for him.
Two actors in new series, Jeff Bridges in “The Old Man” and Pedro Pascal in “The Last of Us,” are formidable. They’ll have to fight off Diego Luna in “Andor,” Paddy Considine in “House of the Dragon,” Bryan Cranston in “Your Honor” and Patrick Stewart in the final season of “Star Trek: Picard,” among many others.
Predicted nominees: Jeff Bridges, “The Old Man”; Brian Cox, “Succession”; Kieran Culkin, “Succession”; Bob Odenkirk, “Better Call Saul”; Pedro Pascal, “The Last of Us”; Jeremy Strong, “Succession”
Watch out for: Paddy Considine, “House of the Dragon”; Harrison Ford, “1923”; Diego Luna, “Andor”
OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
Five of the six nominees from last year aren’t eligible, with Zendaya, Jodie Comer, Sandra Oh, Laura Linney and Reese Witherspoon out of the running because their shows have either ended or didn’t air during the eligibility period. That leaves “Yellowjackets” star Melanie Lynskey, who is a prohibitive favorite to be back as a nominee.
She’ll certainly be joined by Sarah Snook, moving from the supporting to lead category for “Succession,” and by 19-year-old Bella Ramsey, who goes toe-to-toe with Pedro Pascal in “The Last of Us.” Then there’s Imelda Staunton for “The Crown” (nobody who plays Queen Elizabeth on that show has ever not been nominated), Elisabeth Moss for “The Handmaid’s Tale” (10 previous acting nominations, three for this series) and Helen Mirren for “1923” (she’s Helen Freaking Mirren, what more do you need?).
The only problem with forecasting those six is that it leaves out Keri Russell, fierce and funny in “The Diplomat”; Juliette Lewis and Sophie Nelisse, both indispensable in “Yellowjackets”; and Sharon Horgan, both actress and mastermind in “Bad Sisters.” Among others.
Predicted nominees: Melanie Lynskey, “Yellowjackets”; Helen Mirren, “1923”; Elisabeth Moss, “The Handmaid’s Tale”; Bella Ramsey, “The Last of Us”; Sarah Snook, “Succession”; Imelda Staunton, “The Crown”
Watch out for: Keri Russell, “The Diplomat”; Emma D’Arcy, “House of the Dragon”; Juliette Lewis, “Yellowjackets”
OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Again, how much “Succession” can you fit in one category? Last year, the answer was three: Nicholas Braun, Kieran Culkin and Matthew Macfadyen, who won. And even though the new rules should make it harder for a show to hog the category, three seems right this year, too, with Macfadyen and Braun likely to be joined by either Alan Ruck or Alexander Skarsgard. (If it’s the latter, he could potentially go up against his father, Stellan, who’s in the running for “Andor.”)
“Better Call Saul” could easily score multiple noms as well, with Jonathan Banks and Giancarlo Esposito both strong. Actors more likely to be their show’s lone nominee in the category include F. Murray Abraham for “The White Lotus,” John Lithgow for “The Old Man,” Matt Smith for “House of the Dragon,” Jonathan Pryce for “The Crown” and Rufus Sewell for “The Diplomat.”
The supporting drama categories are the only acting categories that have enough entries to max out at eight nominees each, and they’ll need all those spots.
Predicted nominees: F. Murray Abraham, “The White Lotus”; Jonathan Banks, “Better Call Saul”; Nicholas Braun, “Succession”; Giancarlo Esposito, “Better Call Saul”; John Lithgow, “The Old Man”; Matthew Macfadyen, “Succession”; Alan Ruck, “Succession”; Rufus Sewell, “The Diplomat”
Watch out for: Alexander Skarsgard, “Succession”; Matt Smith, “House of the Dragon”
OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
There’s more of a consensus here than in any other acting category, with the top choices being Jennifer Coolidge, Aubrey Plaza and Meghann Fahy from “The White Lotus,” Rhea Seehorn and Carol Burnett (!) from “Better Call Saul,” Elizabeth Debicki from “The Crown,” J. Smith-Cameron from “Succession” and Christina Ricci from “Yellowjackets.”
That group seems to make sense, but there are other women who might well disrupt the conventional wisdom, among them Ann Dowd and Yvonne Strahovski from “The Handmaid’s Tale,” Olivia Cooke from “House of the Dragon,” Anne-Marie Duff and Eve Hewson from “Bad Sisters” and Lesley Manville from “The Crown.”
Predicted nominees: Carol Burnett, “Better Call Saul”; Jennifer Coolidge, “The White Lotus”; Elizabeth Debicki, “The Crown”; Meghann Fahy, “The White Lotus”; Aubrey Plaza, “The White Lotus”; Christina Ricci, “Yellowjackets”; Rhea Seehorn, “Better Call Saul”; J. Smith-Cameron, “Succession”
Watch out for: Ann Dowd, “The Handmaid’s Tale”; Anne-Marie Duff, “Bad Sisters”; Yvonne Strahovski, “The Handmaid’s Tale”
Comedy took a hit this year from the Emmy system that ties the number of nominees in a category to the number of eligible contenders in that category. In four of the six comedy acting categories, lead actor and actress and supporting actor and actress, the number of qualifying performances fell below a cutoff point and reduced the number of nominees: Barring ties, it’ll be five nominees instead of six in the two lead categories and seven instead of eight in the supporting ones. (Guest actor and actress remain at six.)
That shrinkage will make competitive races even tougher, particularly in a year that saw the final seasons of three major Emmy-winning comedies: “Ted Lasso,” “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and “Barry.” They’ll be up against newcomers like “The Bear,” “Shrinking” and “Wednesday.” And every actor in all of those shows is wishing that the categories hadn’t gotten smaller.
OUTSTANDING COMEDY SERIES
This category isn’t affected by the number of submissions, so it’ll have the full eight nominees. Of those, the obvious choices are two-time winner “Ted Lasso,” the second season of “Abbott Elementary” and the year’s hottest (semi-)comedy newcomer, “The Bear.”
After that, the likeliest nominees include the final seasons of past winner “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and three-time acting winner “Barry” and the second season of “Only Murders in the Building.” New shows hoping to crash the party are “Shrinking” and “Wednesday,” though “Somebody Somewhere” and “Jury Duty” were gaining momentum heading into balloting, while “Poker Face” could be a sleeper.
Other contenders include “What We Do in the Shadows,” which has been nominated for its last two seasons; “Atlanta,” which was nominated for its first two seasons but not its third, and it looking to get back with its fourth and final season; and “The Great,” which always seems to be bubbling under the top group.
“Abbott Elementary,” “Barry,” “The Bear,” “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “Only Murders in the Building,” “Shrinking,” “Ted Lasso,” “Wednesday”
Watch out for: “Atlanta,” “The Great,” “What We Do in the Shadows”
OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
Five slots and at least a dozen strong contenders. What’s a voter to do?
The likeliest thing for voters to do, perhaps, is to nominate the five favorites: past winners Jason Sudeikis for “Ted Lasso” and Bill Hader for “Barry,” newcomer Jeremy Allen White for “The Bear” and the pair of legendary Martins from “Only Murders in the Building,” Steve Martin and Martin Short. But that would leave out Jason Segel for “Shrinking,” Donald Glover for “Atlanta,” Mohammed Amer from “Mo,” Bob Odenkirk from “Lucky Hank” and Nicholas Hoult from “The Great,” among others.
With a new system that will perhaps push voters to spread their votes rather than double up on contenders from the same show, we’re thinking that maybe Segel edges out the subtler of the two Martins.
Predicted nominees: Bill Hader, “Barry”; Jason Segel, “Shrinking”; Martin Short, “Only Muders in the Building”; Jason Sudeikis, “Ted Lasso”; Jeremy Allen White, “The Bear”
Watch out for: Donald Glover, “Atlanta”; Nicholas Hoult, “The Great”; Steve Martin, “Only Murders in the Building”
OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
Again, there are too many contenders and not enough slots. The top eight are probably Quinta Brunson from “Abbott Elementary,” Rachel Brosnahan for “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” Jenna Ortega for “Wednesday,” Selena Gomez for “Only Murders in the Building,” Natasha Lyonne for “Poker Face,” Elle Fanning for “The Great,” Bridget Everett for “Somebody Somewhere” and Christina Applegate for “Dead to Me,” but which three of them will be left out?
Brunson and Brosnahan are locks, and Ortega seems likely to make it as well. A lot of people seem to have discovered Everett and “Somebody Somewhere” in recent months, but the fact that Emmy voters ignored its first season last year could hurt her chances. Fanning landed her first nomination for “The Great” last year, Lyonne has been nominated for both “Orange Is the New Black” and for “Russian Doll” and Applegate is a seven-time nominee who has now retired from acting because of multiple sclerosis. Gomez wasn’t nominated for “Only Murders” last year but also has a cooking show and a documentary in the Emmy race this year.
Predicted nominees: Rachel Brosnahan, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”; Quinta Brunson, “Abbott Elementary”; Elle Fanning, “The Great”; Natasha Lyonne, “Poker Face”; Jenna Ortega, “Wednesday”
Watch out for: Christina Applegate, “Dead to Me”; Bridget Everett, “Somebody Somewhere”; Selena Gomez, “Only Murders in the Building”
OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
This category had eight nominees last year, and all eight of them are eligible again this year. But the category only has reduced to seven nominees this year – and there are some new kids who’d like to crash the party, including Ebon Moss-Bachrach from “The Bear,” James Marsden from “Jury Duty” and the 80-year-old Emmy newcomer Harrison Ford from “Shrinking.” We’re guessing that “Ted Lasso” falls from three nominations to two, with Nick Mohammed and Toheeb Jimoh dropping out and Phil Dunster slipping in, and that the usual “Saturday Night Live” slot that last year went to Bowen Yang instead goes to Ford.
Predicted nominees: Anthony Carrigan, “Barry”; Phil Dunster, “Ted Lasso”; Harrison Ford, “Shrinking”; Brett Goldstein, “Ted Lasso”; Tony Shalhoub, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” Tyler James Williams, “Abbott Elementary”; Henry Winkler, “Barry”
Watch out for: Ebon Moss-Bachrach, “The Bear”; Stephen Root, “Barry”; Bowen Yang, “Saturday Night Live”
OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
“Saturday Night Live” has had nominees in this category 22 times in the last 15 years, with only one year in that stretch without an “SNL” representative. Could this be the second 0-fer for the sketch series? There are trouble signs for Cecily Strong and Ego Nowdim, the two likeliest “SNL” nominees: “Abbott Elementary” and “Ted Lasso” have multiple past nominees back in contention; Sarah Goldberg (“Barry”) and Alex Borstein (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”) are in the mix for the final seasons of those shows; and contenders from new shows include Ayo Edebiri for “The Bear,” Christina Ricci for “Wednesday” and Jessica Wiliams for “Shrinking.”
Predicted nominees: Alex Borstein, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”; Ayo Edebiri, “The Bear”; Sarah Goldberg, “Barry”; Janelle James, “Abbott Elementary”; Sheryl Lee Ralph, “Abbott Elementary”; Juno Temple, “Ted Lasso”; Hannah Waddingham, “Ted Lasso”
Watch out for: Cecily Strong, “Saturday Night Live”; Lisa Ann Walter, “Abbott Elementary”; Jessica Williams, “Shrinking”
LIMITED AND ANTHOLOGY SERIES AND TELEVISION MOVIES
The Emmys have now decided that “The White Lotus” is a drama series instead of a limited series, which is good news for everybody else in the categories where that show won 10 awards last year. This year, those categories include a lot of true-crime stories (“Dahmer – Monster,” “Black Bird”), a couple of music-based ones (“George & Tammy,” “Daisy Jones & the Six” and, in the TV-movie category, “Weird: The Al Yankovic Story”) and a potpourri of dramas and dark comedies (“Tiny Beautiful Things,” “Fleishman Is in Trouble,” “Beef”).
Producer Ryan Murphy dominated the limited-series field in the 2010s with seven nominations and wins for “The People vs. O.J. Simpson” and “The Assassination of Gianni Versace,” but he hasn’t had a show nominated in the top category since 2018. “Dahmer – Monster” is perhaps his best shot since then to regain his Emmy mojo.
OUTSTANDING LIMITED OR ANTHOLOGY SERIES
The two top contenders in the limited series category are probably a Ryan Murphy true-crime miniseries that came out 10 months ago with the clunkiest title imaginable, “Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story,” and Korean filmmaker Lee Sung Jin’s dark series about road rage that came out in April with a one-word name, “Beef.” The latter series won significantly more positive reviews, but Murphy has a history of Emmy success, so they’re both in good shape. So is another fact-based miniseries about a serial killer, “Black Bird.” There are two music-based contenders in the mix, “Daisy Jones & the Six” and “George & Tammy,” with the fictional “Daisy Jones” perhaps having the better shot at a nomination. The last slot could go to the Anne Frank drama “A Small Light,” the Taffy Brodesser-Akner adaptation “Fleishman Is in Trouble,” the true-crime drama “Love & Death” or Liz Tigelaar’s “Tiny Beautiful Things,” among many others.
Predicted nominees: “Beef,” “Black Bird,” “Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story,” “Daisy Jones & the Six,” “A Small Light”
Watch out for: “Fleishman Is in Trouble,” “George & Tammy,” “Tiny Beautiful Things”
OUTSTANDING TELEVISION MOVIE
Once upon a time (before the pandemic), the top contenders in the TV movie category would likely have been theatrical movies. The comedy “Weird: The Al Yankovic Story” and the drama “Reality” both premiered at major film festivals, Toronto and Berlin, respectively, while “Prey” is the latest installment in the “Predator” film franchise and “Fire Island” was nurtured by Searchlight Pictures, which released it via Hulu. Other films with a stronger TV pedigree include “Dolly Parton’s Mountain Magic Christmas,” the latest in a string of Parton movies that have done well at the Emmys, “The Last Kingdom: Seven Kings Must Die,” a spinoff from a British television series; and “Reno 911!: It’s a Wonderful Heist,” the latest entry in the long-running TV franchise.
Predicted nominees: “Dolly Parton’s Mountain Magic Christmas,” “Fire Island,” “Prey,” “Reality,” “Weird: The Al Yankovic Story”
Watch out for: “The Last Kingdom: Seven Kings,” “Jerry and Marge Go Large,” “Reno 911!: Wonderful Heist”
OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A LIMITED OR ANTHOLOGY SERIES
This category may well have a serial killer trifecta: Evan Peters as Jeffrey Dahmer in “Dahmer – Monster,” Steve Carell as a psychiatrist held prisoner by a serial killer in “The Patient” and Taron Egerton as a convict trying to get a serial killer to confess in “Black Bird.” Compared to them, Steven Yeun’s hot-headed contractor in “Beef” is a pussycat. The lineup could well be rounded out by a couple of musicians: Michael Shannon’s George Jones in “George & Tammy,” supremely talented but destructive when he drinks, and Daniel Radcliffe’s Weird Al Yankovic in “Weird,” who in this entirely fictional telling singlehandedly wipes out a nest of Central American drug lords.
Other contenders include Woody Harrelson in “White House Plumbers,” Ben Whishaw in “This Is Going to Hurt,” Jesse Eisenberg in “Fleishman Is in Trouble,” Ewan McGregor in “Obi-Wan Kenobi,” Billy Crystal in the filmed version of his play “Mr. Saturday Night” and Josh Groban as the Beast in the live “Beauty and the Beast.”
Predicted nominees: Steve Carell, “The Patient”; Taron Egerton, “Black Bird”; Evan Peters, “Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story”; Daniel Radcliffe, “Weird: The Al Yankovic Story”; Michael Shannon, “George & Tammy”; Steven Yeun, “Beef”
Watch out for: Jesse Eisenberg, “Fleishman Is in Trouble”; Woody Harrelson, “White House Plumbers”; Ben Whishaw, “This Is Going to Hurt”
OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A LIMITED OR ANTHOLOGY SERIES
Barring ties there will be six nominees in this category, or maybe seven if Rachel Weisz gets in and you count both of the roles she plays in the David Cronenberg adaptation “Dead Ringers.” She’ll likely be up against a field that includes Jessica Chastain as real-life singer Tammy Wynette in “George & Tammy” and Riley Keough as fictional singer Daisy Jones in “Daisy Jones & the Six.”
Predicted nominees: Emily Blunt, “The English”; Jessica Chastain, “George & Tammy”; Kathryn Hahn, “Tiny Beautiful Things”; Riley Keough, “Daisy Jones & the Six”; Rachel Weisz, “Dead Ringers”; Ali Wong, “Beef”
Watch out for: Lizzy Caplan, “Fleishman Is in Trouble”; Elizabeth Olsen, “Love & Death”; Bel Powley, “A Small Light”;
OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A LIMITED OR ANTHOLOGY SERIES
Even more than the lead actor category, this one could be all crime all the time: The top contenders include two serial killers (Domhnall Gleeson in “The Patient” and Paul Walter Hauser in “Black Bird”), a serial killer’s father (Richard Jenkins in “Dahmer – Monster”), a drug and arms dealer’s father (the late Ray Liotta in “Black Bird”), two murder victims (Rodney Burford in “Dahmer – Monster” and Murray Bartlett in “Welcome to Chippendale’s”), the lover of an accused murderer (Jesse Plemons in “Love & Death”) and Richard Nixon’s dirty-tricks guru G. Gordon Liddy (Justin Theroux in “White House Plumbers”). Others in the running include Young Manzino in “Beef,” Liev Schreiber in “A Small Light” and Greg Kinnear in “Black Bird.”
Predicted nominees: Rodney Burford, “Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story”; Domhnall Gleeson, “The Patient”; Paul Walter Hauser, “Black Bird”; Richard Jenkins, “Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story”; Ray Liotta, “Black Bird”; Jesse Plemons, “Love & Death”; Justin Theroux, “White House Plumbers”
Watch out for: Murray Bartlett, “Welcome to Chippendales”; Greg Kinnear, “Black Bird”; Young Manzino, “Beef”
OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A LIMITED OR ANTHOLOGY SERIES
There are lots of past Emmy winners in the mix here, including Claire Danes for “Fleishman Is in Trouble,” Olivia Colman for “Great Expectations,” Cherry Jones for “Five Days at Memorial,” Merritt Wever for “Tiny Beautiful Things” and Daytime Emmy winner and Primetime Emmy nominee Niecy Nash-Betts for “Dahmer – Monster.” Nash-Betts and Danes are perhaps the strongest contenders, while the others will be going up against Maria Bello for “Beef,” Lena Headey and Judy Greer for “White House Plumbers,” Lily Rabe for “Love & Death,” Michael Learned for “Dahmer – Monster” and Camilla Morrone and Suki Waterhouse for “Daisy Jones & the Six.”
Predicted nominees: Maria Bello, “Beef”; Olivia Colman, “Great Expectations”; Claire Danes, “Fleishman Is in Trouble”; Lena Headey, “White House Plumbers”; Niecy Nash-Betts, “Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story”; Lily Rabe, “Love & Death”; Merritt Wever, “Tiny Beautiful Things”
Watch out for: Cherry Jones, “Five Days at Memorial”; Camilla Morrone, “Daisy Jones & the Six”; Suki Waterhouse, “Daisy Jones & the Six”
VARIETY AND REALITY
The Emmys’ big variety shakeup took place earlier this year, setting the stage for a showdown between “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver,” which won seven times in a row in the variety talk category, and “Saturday Night Live,” which won six consecutive awards in variety sketch. The two existing categories were reshuffled into Outstanding Variety Talk Series and Outstanding Scripted Variety Series and “Last Week Tonight” was moved into the latter category, where it will likely go head-to-head with “SNL.”
First, though, both shows have to be nominated. That impending showdown highlights this year’s variety and reality categories.
OUTSTANDING VARIETY TALK SERIES
That sound you hear is the sigh of relief coming from Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel, Seth Meyers and all the other late-night hosts who are no doubt tired of losing to John Oliver, whose largely scripted one-night-a-week show has dominated all the five-nights-a-week talk shows in this category. With Oliver now in the scripted variety category, this category has been left to the late-nighters and to a couple of once-a-weekers, Bill Maher and Jon Stewart. Stewart’s “Daily Show” won in a slightly different variety category 10 years in a row, so you can’t rule him out – but he might be hurt by the fact that his season of “The Problem With Jon Stewart” consisted of only 12 episodes.
Predicted nominees: “The Daily Show With Trevor Noah,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” “Late Night With Seth Meyers,” “The Late Late Show with James Corden,” “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert”
Watch out for: “The Amber Ruffin Show,” “The Problem With Jon Stewart,” “Real Time With Bill Maher”
OUTSTANDING SCRIPTED VARIETY SERIES
The Outstanding Variety Sketch Series category had so few eligible programs recently that the last two years have found it with only two nominees: “Saturday Night Live” (which won both years) and “A Black Lady Sketch Show.” The new category has a few more entries and is slated for three nominees – and unless voters think John Oliver doesn’t belong (an unlikely theory that has been floated), those three nominees will almost certainly be “Last Week Tonight,” “SNL” and “Black Lady,” even with Mel Brooks in the running.
Predicted nominees: “A Black Lady Sketch Show,” “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver,” “Saturday Night Live”
Watch out for: “History of the World: Part II,” “Inside Amy Schumer,” “Random Acts of Kindness”
OUTSTANDING STRUCTURED REALITY PROGRAM
Nominees in this category don’t change much year to year, which is why it’s a no-brainer to predict that “Queer Eye” will get its sixth straight nomination, “Shark Tank” will get its 12th and “Antiques Roadshow” will get its 21st over a few different category names. “Love Is Blind” was nominated last year and seems likely to be back. There’s often a home renovation show in the category as well, but the usual suspects (“Fixer Upper,” “The Property Brothers”) aren’t on the ballot this year, leaving “Married to Real Estate” or “Home Town Takeover” to claim that spot from past nominees like “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” and “Who Do You Think You Are?” There’s also a wild card in “Couples Therapy,” the Showtime series competing in this category for the first time.
Predicted nominees: “Antiques Roadshow,” “Love Is Blind,” “Queer Eye,” “Shark Tank,” “Who Do You Think You Are?”
Watch out for: “Couples Therapy,” “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” “Married to Real Estate”
OUTSTANDING UNSTRUCTURED REALITY PROGRAM
“RuPaul’s Drag Race: Untucked” has been one of the few constants in this category lately, though “Selling Sunset,” “Below Deck” and “Indian Matchmaking” have also made the cut twice, twice and once, respectively. Newcomers “Welcome to Wrexham” and “Vanderpump Rules” are newcomers that have gotten lots of attention, though the latter show will have to overcome Emmy voters’ longstanding reluctance to nominate anything to do with the “Real Housewives” franchise. “Deadliest Catch,” “Intervention” and “Naked and Afraid” are among the multiple nominees that are on the ballot, but the first hasn’t been nominated since 2019 and the others since 2018.
Predicted nominees: “Below Deck: Sailing Yacht,” “Indian Matchmaking,” “RuPaul’s Drag Race: Untucked,” “Selling Sunset,” “Welcome to Wrexham”
Watch out for: “Deadliest Catch,” “90 Day Fiance: The Other Way,” “Vanderpump Rules”
OUTSTANDING REALITY COMPETITION PROGRAM
Last year, this category had six nominees and “Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls” ended the four-year winning streak of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” This year, fewer submissions means the category is down to five and “Lizzo” isn’t eligible – so unless the new show “The Traitors” can break through or an older one like “The Masked Singer,” “The Circle” or “The Great American Baking Show” can come on strong, the likeliest nominees are the five shows that lost to Lizzo last year.
Predicted nominees: “The Amazing Race,” “Nailed It,” “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” “Top Chef,” “The Voice”
Watch out for: “The Circle,” “The Masked Singer,” “The Traitors”
OUTSTANDING HOST FOR A REALITY OR COMPETITION PROGRAM
This is another reality category that has been downsized from six nominees to five – or, given the number of nominees that fill one slot if it goes to “Queer Eye” or “Shark Tank,” from 16 nominees last year to 14 this year. The likeliest field will consist entirely of past nominees, though newcomers like Alan Cumming (“The Traitors”), Stephen Colbert (“Pickled”) and the Lacheys (“Love Is Blind”) would have a decent chance of breaking in if the category hadn’t shrunk.
Predicted nominees: Bobby Berk, Karamo Brown, Tan France, Antoni Porowski and Jonathan Van Ness, “Queer Eye”; Nicole Byer, “Nailed It!”; Mark Cuban, Barbara Corcoran, Lori Greiner, Robert Herjavec, Daymond John and Kevin O’Leary, “Shark Tank”; Padma Lakshmi, “Top Chef”; RuPaul, “RuPaul’s Drag Race”
Watch out for: Stephen Colbert, “Pickled”; Alan Cumming, “The Traitors”; Vanessa Lachey and Nick Lachey, “Love Is Blind”