Last Year’s Winner: “Saturday Night Live”
Still Eligible: Yes.
Hot Streak: Since the TV Academy split the Outstanding Variety Series category into two sections in 2015 (Sketch and Talk), no one show has won twice. Last year’s winner was “SNL,” which led the entire field in nominations.
Fun Fact: “Saturday Night Live,” “Portlandia,” and “Drunk History” have been been nominated every year since the category was created, and all three are eligible in 2018.
“Saturday Night Live” found success far beyond this category last year, and that helped solidify the win here. The long-running NBC sketch series isn’t quite as buzzy as it was a year ago, but few competitors have captured the public awareness like “SNL.” It’s primed to snag its fourth nomination in a row (and is already looking toward a win).
“Drunk History” and “Portlandia” haven’t added any gold to their trophy cases just yet, but both are well-liked in the industry and the latter could benefit from its final season of eligibility. Personally, Fred Armisen has 11 nominations and zero wins and Carrie Brownstein has seven with the same number of victories. Perhaps this is the year TV Academy members rectify those long losing streaks.
“Tracey Ullman’s Show” is looking to repeat with another nomination in 2018, and she’s already got seven wins over the course of her prestigious career. But there are a number of programs on the other end of the spectrum looking to earn a spot in the race. Freshman series like “I Love You, America” (Hulu), “At Home with Amy Sedaris” (truTV), and “The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale” (Netflix) all have a strong contingent of fans and well-liked stars at their center. Sarah Silverman has two Emmys, Joel McHale snagged a nod in 2014 for “The Soup,” and Amy Sedaris has decades of goodwill that should push her over the edge.
That is, unless the long-snubbed series “Nathan For You” or “Tosh.0” have anything to say about it. Below are IndieWire TV Critic Ben Travers’ predictions for Outstanding Variety Sketch Series (listed in alphabetical order), which will be updated throughout the season. Make sure to keep checking IndieWire for all the latest buzz and highlights from the 2018 race, and read predictions in the rest of the categories, as well.
- “At Home with Amy Sedaris”
- “Drunk History”
- “I Love You, America”
- “Saturday Night Live”
- “Tracey Ullman’s Show”
Spoilers: “The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale,” “Tosh.0”
In a Perfect World: “Nathan For You”