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2020 Primetime Emmy Awards Competition/Variety Series Betting Odds

James Murphy
by in Entertainment on
  • The 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards ceremony will be held ‘virtually’ on September 20, 2020.
  • Jimmy Kimmel will host the 2020 Primetime Emmy Awards.
  • The Primetime Emmy Awards will be broadcast live on ABC.

There’s nowhere on the Emmy Awards ballot that has been impacted more by the digital revolution than the Variety Show. At one point the variety show format dominated the television landscape. You can make a compelling case that the first ‘big’ TV show was the Texaco Star Theatre which began on television in 1948 and made Milton Berle one of the first true superstars in the new media. Speaking of ‘making superstars’, The Ed Sullivan Show made so many of them it’s easy to lose count but none as iconic as The Beatles and a Mississippi born truck driver named Elvis Presley. Curiously, the show itself won only one ‘Best Variety Series’ Emmy Award despite an impact on popular culture that is immeasurable. In the late 1950’s, the variety show format was so huge that the Emmys experimented with several sub categories: ‘Best Variety Series’, ‘Best Music Series’, ‘Best Series–Half Hour or Less’, ‘Best Series One Hour or More’. By 1958, they had abandoned that idea and everything was back to being lumped in the same category.

The Variety Show would continue to flourish in the 60’s and 70’s. One of the biggest was The Dean Martin Show featuring the considerable talents and charisma of it’s namesake. Martin would sing, cavort with his troop of comely women called ‘The Golddiggers’ and cut up with guests like Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald. He would also show off his legendary comedic timing that was able to make even the biggest stiff look (almost) as funny as former partner Jerry Lewis.

As the story goes, Dino didn’t really want to do a variety show when first approached concerned that it would cut into his lucrative movie and nightclub work. Rather than simply turn down the offer from NBC he made what he considered an absurd list of demands. He asked for a salary that he considered outlandish and terms that he thought would be obvious dealbreakers–such as not having to rehearse and only having to show up for the actual taping on the show. As Martin told his family at the time: “They went for it. So now I have to do it.” It worked out very well for Dino–at the time of his death he was the largest individual holder of stock in General Electric, NBC’s parent company at the time. That probably took the sting off of never winning a ‘Best Variety Show’ Emmy despite being nominated five times. Personally, I’d much rather watch The Dean Martin Show than any of the programs nominated in either variety category this year.

By the 1980’s, the traditional variety show was on it’s last legs. As a result, the Emmy Awards have been constantly re-engineering the variety related categories which now offers the ‘Variety Talk’ and ‘Variety Sketch’ nominees. Although these are the only remaining relevant subsets of the variety category they’d arguably be a better fit in the Comedy section. Or maybe come up with a new heading for this type of programming–after all, they gave Reality TV it’s own set of awards. Given the minimal relevance of categories such as ‘Outstanding Variety Special (Live)’ we’ll limit the odds markets here to only a few categories. Here are the official SPORTSINSIDER.COM 2020 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards odds for the Variety/Competition categories:



RuPaul's Drag Race                                    -350
The Masked Singer                                     +500
Top Chef                                              +500
The Voice                                             +1250
Nailed It                                             +1250


RuPaul/RuPaul's Drag Race                             -200
Padma Lakshmi & Tom Colicchio/Top Chef                +500
Karamo Brown, Antonio Porowski et.al/Queer Eye        +600
Amy Poehler & Nick Offerman/Making It                 +1000
Daymond John, Barbara Corcoran, et.al/Shark Tank      +1000
Nicole Byer/Nailed It                                 +1000


Last Week Tonight with John Oliver                    -200
Daily Show with Trevor Noah                           +500
Late Show with Stephen Colbert                        +500
Full Frontal With Samantha Bee                        +1000
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver                    +1000
Jimmy Kimmel Live                                     +1500


Saturday Night Live                                   -2500
Any Other Show                                        +1250

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