Emmy Nomination Predictions 2017: Trump Era Voters Get Political in Variety and Reality Categories

Almost all the top variety-show Emmy contenders have spent lots of time taking shots at our former reality-host president

We have a former reality-show host for a president, and the talk and sketch shows can’t stop making jokes about him — so in many ways, the Emmys’ variety and reality categories are the ones that really take the measure of where we are at this moment in time.

Of course, Donald Trump’s “The Apprentice” is off the air and was never a favorite of Emmy voters (a fact that prompted a few angry Twitter rants in its time).

That means that the variety categories are where the president has the strongest presence, albeit usually as an irresistible target.

OUTSTANDING VARIETY TALK SERIES

“The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” wasn’t nominated last year but is one of the favorites this year, largely for the way it stepped up its political humor. “Full Frontal With Samantha Bee” and “The Daily Show With Trevor Noah” were similarly overlooked in 2016 but are real contenders in 2017, again because of their politics. Jimmy Kimmel is up and Jimmy Fallon is down, and the reasons why have to do with the fact that the former Jimmy isn’t afraid to get political and the latter Jimmy is seen as too conciliatory and silly.

That’s not to say that all the nominations will be political — after all, they’ll probably find room for Jerry Seinfeld’s “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee,” too.

Predicted nominees (in order of likelihood):
“Last Week Tonight With John Oliver”
“The Late Show With Stephen Colbert”
“Jimmy Kimmel Live!”
“The Late Late Show with James Corden”
“Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee”
“The Daily Show With Trevor Noah”

Don’t rule out: “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” “Full Frontal With Samantha Bee,” “Real Time With Bill Maher,” “Watch What Happens Live”
Possible upset: “Late Night With Seth Meyers”

OUTSTANDING VARIETY SKETCH SERIES

The most nominated show in Emmy history, “Saturday Night Live,” should easily extend its record by a dozen or more nominations, starting in this category. Fred Armisen should land another one-two punch with “Portlandia” and “Documentary Now!” And with “Inside Amy Schumer” and defending champ “Key & Peele” out of the running this year, the rest of the field should be a free-for-all of new practitioners of sketch comedy.

Predicted nominees:
“Saturday Night Live”
“Portlandia”
“Documentary Now”
“Billy on the Street”
“Drunk History”
“Tracey Ullman’s Show”

Don’t rule out: “Maya & Marty,” “Comedy Bang! Bang,” “Kevin Hart Presents: Hart of the City,” “The Meltdown With Jonah and Kumail,” “The UCB Show”
Possible upset: “The President Show”

OUTSTANDING REALITY-COMPETITION PROGRAM

“The Amazing Race” has been nominated for 14 straight years — which is to say, every year this category has existed. “Project Runway” has 12 straight nominations, “Dancing With the Stars” 11 straight, “Top Chef” 10 straight and “The Voice” five straight.

Logic suggests that voters will eventually get tired of ticking the same boxes year after year, but I’m not going to stop predicting them until they stop voting for them.

There’s room for one more nominee, and I’m guessing that RuPaul’s reality-host win last year means voters are ready to recognize his show this year.

Predicted nominees:
“The Voice”
“The Amazing Race”
“Top Chef”
“Project Runway”
“Dancing With the Stars”
“RuPaul’s Drag Race”

Don’t rule out: “American Ninja Warrior,” “Survivor,” “Match Game,” “Beat Bobby Flay”
Possible upset: “Celebrity Family Feud”

OUTSTANDING STRUCTURED REALITY PROGRAM

The category has only existed for three years, and “Antiques Roadshow,” “MythBusters,” “Shark Tank,” “Undercover Boss” and “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” have been nominated every one of those years.

If voters remain constant and “MythBusters: The Search” picks up the mantle from its predecessor, that means last year’s nominee “Lip Sync Battle” will battle for that last slot against “Property Brothers,” “Fixer Upper,” “Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party” and others.

We have a sneaking feeling, though, that the new “MythBusters” might not be as appealing to voters as the old one, and that Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg could be downright irresistible.

Predicted nominees:
“Shark Tank”
“Undercover Boss”
“Antiques Roadshow”
“Diners, Drive-ins and Dives”
“Lip Sync Battle”
“Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party”

Don’t rule out: “MythBusters: The Search,” “Fixer Upper,” “Cesar Millan’s Dog Nation,” “Property Brothers,” “Who Do You Think You Are?”
Possible upset: “Running Wild With Bear Grylls”

OUTSTANDING UNSTRUCTURED REALITY PROGRAM

This category includes “Bachelor in Paradise,” “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” and “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” but voters prefer more serious, socially conscious fare – along with “Deadliest Catch,” which always gets nominated.

Of the new shows looking to break in here, “Believer With Reza Aslan” might have been hurt when its host lost his CNN gig after calling Donald Trump a “piece of s—” on Twitter (or maybe he was helped), and Vice’s “Black Market With Michael K. Williams” could have been helped by its host’s recent roles on “The Night Of,” “When We Rise” and “Hap and Leonard.”

Predicted nominees:
“Gaycation With Ellen Page”
“Deadliest Catch”
“Intervention”
“United Shades of America”
“Born This Way”
“Black Market With Michael K. Williams”

Don’t rule out: “Believer With Reza Aslan,” “Naked and Afraid,” “Million Dollar Listing New York”
Possible upset: “Keeping Up With the Kardashians.” Nope, just kidding. How about “The Vanilla Ice Project”?

OUTSTANDING HOST FOR A REALITY OR REALITY-COMPETITION PROGRAM

Since this category was created in 2008, four people — Tim Bergeron, Heidi Klum, Ryan Seacrest and Cat Deely — have received 57 percent of the 49 nominations. And seven people — those four plus Tim Gunn, Phil Keoghan and Jeff Probst — have received 73 percent of all nominations.

True, Emmy voters seem to have lost their affection for “Survivor” host Probst, who won four straight awards but hasn’t been nominated since 2011, and for “The Amazing Race” host Keoghan, who hasn’t been nominated since 2012. But Bergeron and the team of Klum and Gunn are back and are locks, along with a few relative newcomers.

Predicted nominees:
RuPaul Charles, “RuPaul’s Drag Race”
Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn, “Project Runway”
Tom Bergeron, “Dancing With the Stars”
Alec Baldwin, “Match Game”
Steve Harvey, “Little Big Shots”
LL Cool J, “Lip Sync Battle”

Don’t rule out: Anthony Anderson, “To Tell the Truth,” Chris Hardwick, “The Wall,” Carson Daly, “The Voice,” W. Kamau Bell, “United Shades of America,” Padma Lakshmi and Tom Colicchio, “Top Chef,” Cat Deeley, “So You Think You Can Dance,” Phil Keoghan, “The Amazing Race,” Jeff Probst, “Survivor,” Ellen Page and Ian Daniel, “Gaycation With Ellen Page.”
Possible upset: Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg, “Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party”