While the winner of Outstanding Variety Sketch Series at the Emmys last year was rather obvious, this year's race is much harder to predict.
Comedy Central's Inside Amy Schumer won the Emmy for Outstanding Variety Sketch Series last year after a very buzzworthy year for star Amy Schumer. Such buzz has died down a bit in 2016, but her show has once again been nominated. Also, the other four nominees from last year are back in addition to one new nominee, but almost all of them have a good shot of taking home the trophy this time around.
Another important factor to remember is that the Variety Sketch category is still in its infancy. Last year, the Television Academy voted to split up the Variety Series category into Variety Talk and Variety Sketch, so this is only the category's second year of existence. As such, there isn't much of a precedent for the type of show that wins in this category, so it really is up in the air.
To sort through this category, let's break down the six nominees from least likely to win the Emmy to most likely.
6. Drunk History (Comedy Central)
Drunk History was nominated last year and it's back again this year. The series, which features famous comedians and actors telling famous stories from history while drunk, does have a lot of comedy star power. However, it simply doesn't have the widespread buzz or acclaim of the other five shows in this category, so we think it doesn't have much of a shot this year.
5. Portlandia (IFC)
Portlandia, which parodies the left-wing hipster culture of Portland, Ore. has had some success at the Emmys in its six-season run, with 17 nominations overall and three wins. Star Fred Armisen picked up a nomination one year, as did guest star Steve Buscemi. While voters clearly seem to like the show, it's not exactly at the peak of its run right now so we're not sure if it's their year either.
4. Documentary Now! (IFC)
Another Fred Armisen vehicle, Documentary Now! is a critically acclaimed new series that parodies famous documentaries from history. The series, which also stars Bill Hader, has the appeal of being a new show with a creative flair that will certainly appeal to people in the entertainment business. Yet, it may still be too minor to get enough votes for a win over well-established shows.
3. Inside Amy Schumer (Comedy Central)
It's never wise to bet against the incumbent in an Emmy race, but the buzz on Inside Amy Schumer arguably faded significantly compared to last year. It still received four nominations this year, but that's down from the seven nominations it received last year and there weren't as many "viral" sketches that stuck in the public consciousness overall. If voters still like the show anyway or are just too lazy to vote for something different, Inside Amy Schumer could still win, but we think two other shows have a better shot.
2. Key & Peele (Comedy Central)
This was the final season for Key & Peele, starring Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele. Like Inside Amy Schumer, Key & Peele has done well at the Emmys over the years, with 18 nominations over the course of its history. Many in the industry were sad to see the show go, so it's possible that Emmy voters will want to reward it, with this being their last chance to do so. At the end of the day, though, there's one show in particular to which Emmy voters might default.
1. Saturday Night Live (NBC)
You'd be hard pressed to find someone in the Television Academy who's not familiar with Saturday Night Live. The sketch comedy series just concluded its 41st (!) season and has a whopping 199 nominations from its entire run. While Emmy voters tend to ignore shows once they get to a certain age, voters have loved SNL for decades and we think that with so many quirky, niche shows in this category, traditional Emmy voters will just vote for what they know best.
The 2016 Primetime Emmys will air live Sunday, Sept. 18 at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT on ABC.