Best Directing in a Variety Series
Will Win - Don Roy King "Saturday Night Live - Host: Jimmy Fallon"
Could Win - Any of the other four
Should Win - Jonathan Krisel "Portlandia - Getting Away"
Commentary - This is one of those categories that is hard to tell which way they will go. Colbert, Daily Show, and Jimmy Fallon are the three leading contenders for the top prize, so any one of them could benefit from buzz and popularity. But this category has been dominated recently by Don Roy King. SNL has a bunch of moving parts, and when they all fit together well, then a lot of deserved credit goes to the director. And Doy Roy King is the master of this type of work, has won this category many times before, and has the Jimmy Fallon Christmas episode to showcase his talents. I think he wins again.
Best Writing in a Variety Series
Will Win - The Colbert Report
Could Win - The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Should Win - Portlandia
Commentary - This category has bounced back and forth between The Colbert Report and The Daily Show in recent years, so history tells us that it will be one of these two once again. But watch our for Portlandia. It has the kind of creative spark that might appeal to writers. I am sticking with Colbert if for no other reason, than the fact that after last year's big program win, it is hot.
Best Directing in a Variety Special
Will Win/Should Win - Glenn Weiss "The 67th Annual Tony Awards"
Could Win - Gregg Gelfand "The Beatles: The Night That Changed America"
Commentary - I am once again watching out for The Beatles. The program itself wasn't exactly the best in the world, but it has the right nostalgic factor that appeals to Emmy voters. That being said, I am sticking with the perceived front runner going into next month's ceremony. The Tony Awards is still one of the best nights on television each year, and the 67th edition was no exception. The opening number alone is worthy of an Emmy for host Neil Patrick Harris, and for director Glenn Weiss who brilliant captured the madness, the excitement, and all the parts of the piece. Plus he has won this category several times in a row, and he, and the telecasts seem to be favorites among voters.
Best Writing in a Variety Special
Will Win/Should Win - Billy Crystal and Alan Zweibel "Billy Crystal: 700 Sundays"
Could Win - Dave Boone and Paul Greenburg "The 67th Annual Tony Awards" or Ken Ehrlich and David Wild "The Beatles: The Night that Changed America"
Commentary - The big spectacles do well in the directing category, but we have seen this one go to smaller performances and humor-driven specials. This year, one of my favorites was Billy Crystal's 700 Sundays. Not only is Crystal still a great presence and performer on stage, but the show itself, as a whole, was truly something great. A lot of credit goes to Crystal's writing. He deftly balances the funny with the emotional, and keeps his audience glued. I think they go smaller here, and reward the passions project of a beloved five-time Emmy winner.