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Emmys: John Oliver, ‘Saturday Night Live,’ RuPaul Aim for Repeat Wins — Screen Talk Emmy Edition

Episode 7: Expect to see several incumbents back on stage in key variety and reality categories — with a few notable exceptions.

John Oliver, RuPaul, Kate McKinnon



The 2018 Emmy talk, sketch and unscripted categories could look a lot similar to last year. Categories like the reality races remain mostly unchanged, while the Variety/Talk competition has just one notable switch: “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah,” replacing “Real Time with Bill Maher.”

Incumbents such as RuPaul (as best reality host), “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” (variety/talk series) and “Saturday Night Live” (variety/sketch series) are all expected to repeat their wins.

But there are a few potential changes on the horizon: Sadly, CNN’s “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown” will likely win the Outstanding Informational Series Or Special category as a posthumous tribute to the show’s host.

Also, if the outstanding reality competition category is finally ready for a switch, “RuPaul’s Drag Race” seems like the likely contender.

Just like last year, IndieWire’s Screen Talk podcast will launch a weekly Emmy edition over the next few months to highlight the most interesting storylines and races. IndieWire editor-at-large Anne Thompson and executive editor Michael Schneider will banter each week, and also bring on the occasional guest. Here’s Episode 7 for 2018:

Here are the categories and nominees we talk about this week:

Outstanding Host For A Reality Or Reality-Competition Program

Ellen DeGeneres, “Ellen’s Game Of Games”
Jane Lynch, “Hollywood Game Night”
Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn, “Project Runway”
RuPaul, “RuPaul’s Drag Race”
W. Kamau Bell, “United Shades Of America With W. Kamau Bell”
Last year’s winner: RuPaul

Outstanding Variety Talk Series

“The Daily Show With Trevor Noah” (Comedy Central)
“Jimmy Kimmel Live!” (ABC)
“Last Week Tonight With John Oliver” (HBO)
“The Late Late Show With James Corden” (CBS)
“Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” (TBS)
Last year’s winner: “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver”

Outstanding Variety Sketch Series

“At Home With Amy Sedaris” (truTV)
“Drunk History” (Comedy Central)
“I Love You, America With Sarah Silverman” (Hulu)
“Portlandia” (IFC)
“Saturday Night Live” (NBC)
“Tracey Ullman’s Show” (HBO)
Last year’s winner: “Saturday Night Live”

Outstanding Variety Special (Live)

“The 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards” (NBC)
“60th Annual Grammy Awards” (CBS)
“Jesus Christ Superstar Live In Concert” (NBC)
“Night Of Too Many Stars: America Unites For Autism Programs” (HBO)
“The Oscars” (ABC)

Outstanding Variety Special (Pre-Recorded)

“Carol Burnett Show 50th Anniversary Special” (CBS)
“Carpool Karaoke Primetime Special 2018” (CBS)
Dave Chappelle: Equanimity” (Netflix)
“Full Frontal With Samantha Bee Presents: The Great American* Puerto Rico (*It’s Complicated)” (TBS)
“Steve Martin & Martin Short: An Evening You Will Forget For The Rest Of Your Life” (Netflix)
Last year’s variety winner: “Carpool Karaoke Primetime Special 2017”

Outstanding Documentary Or Nonfiction Special

“Icarus” (Netflix)
“Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond – Featuring A Very Special, Contractually Obligated Mention Of Tony Clifton” (Netflix)
“Mister Rogers: It’s You I Like” (PBS)
“Spielberg” (HBO)
“The Zen Diaries Of Garry Shandling” (HBO)
Last year’s winner: “13th”

Outstanding Documentary Or Nonfiction Series

“American Masters” (PBS)
“Blue Planet II” (BBC America)
“The Defiant Ones” (HBO)
“The Fourth Estate” (Showtime)
“Wild Wild Country” (Netflix)
Last year’s winner: “Planet Earth II”

Outstanding Informational Series Or Special

“Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown” (CNN)
“Leah Remini: Scientology And The Aftermath” (A&E)
“My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman” (Netflix)
“StarTalk With Neil deGrasse Tyson” (National Geographic)
“Vice” (HBO)
Last year’s winner:”Leah Remini: Scientology And The Aftermath”

Exceptional Merit In Documentary Filmmaking

“City Of Ghosts” (A&E)
“Jane” (National Geographic)
“Strong Island” (Netflix)
“What Haunts Us” (Starz)
Last year’s winner: “LA92”

Outstanding Structured Reality Program

“Antiques Roadshow” (PBS)
“Fixer Upper” (HGTV)
“Lip Sync Battle” (Paramount Network)
“Queer Eye” (Netflix)
“Shark Tank” (ABC)
“Who Do You Think You Are?” (TLC)
Last year’s winner: “Shark Tank”

Outstanding Unstructured Reality Program

“Born This Way” (A&E)
“Deadliest Catch” (Discovery Channel)
“Intervention” (A&E)
“Naked And Afraid” (Discovery Channel)
“RuPaul’s Drag Race: Untucked” (VH1)
“United Shades Of America With W. Kamau Bell” (CNN)
Last year’s winner: “United Shades Of America With W. Kamau Bell”

Outstanding Reality-Competition Program

“The Amazing Race” (CBS)
“American Ninja Warrior” (NBC)
“Project Runway” (Lifetime)
“RuPaul’s Drag Race” (VH1)
“Top Chef” (Bravo)
“The Voice” (NBC)
Last year’s winner: “The Voice”

Also, check out IndieWire’s other TV podcasts:

  • Very Good TV tackles the hot TV topics of the week.
  • Turn It On features interviews with top TV stars and showrunners.
  • Filmmaker Toolkit focuses on the craftspeople behind your favorite series and films.

Screen Talk is available on iTunes.

You can subscribe here or via RSS. Share your feedback with Thompson and Kohn on Twitter or sound off in the comments. Browse previous installments here, review the show on  and be sure to let us know if you’d like to hear the hosts address specific issues in upcoming editions of Screen Talk. Check out the rest of Indiewire’s podcasts on iTunes right here.

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