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2020 Emmy nomination predictions: Tiger King, Picard or Schitt's Creek?

Remember these awesome TV shows from the past year? They could be in the running for Emmy nominations, scheduled to be announced Tuesday.

Schitt's Creek came to an end in 2020, and the Emmys are sure to give it the recognition it deserves.


From Tiger King to WatchmenThe Last Dance to Schitt's Creek, TV has been welcome company in these troubled, insular times. And the 2020 Emmy Awards is getting ready to recognize the shows that have glued us to our screens while we're all stuck inside.

Every year the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences rewards the best drama, comedy and documentary on the small screen. 2020 marks the 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards, covering shows broadcast between June 2019 and the end of May 2020. That includes stuff we've enjoyed during lockdown and shows from before the coronavirus pandemic times -- if you can remember such a thing. 

Nominations come out Tuesday, and a bunch of heavyweight shows are in the running once again, like Better Call Saul, The Handmaid's Tale, Westworld, Big Little Lies and The Crown. The big question is whether newcomers can grab their sparkle. In particular, this past year saw new streaming services muscling into the TV world, and the likes of Apple TV Plus, HBO Max and Quibi will be keen to steal the thunder of established televisual giants Netflix and HBO. Here's my list of acclaimed and interesting shows from the past year that stand a good chance of taking home a trophy. Leave a comment to let me know your favorite and tell me any I've missed... 

Big Little Lies (HBO)

Reese Witherspoon produced this year's acclaimed shows including The Morning Show, Truth Be Told and Little Fires Everywhere -- in which she also found time to deliver a potentially award-worthy acting performance. She also produced Big Little Lies, which scored big at last year's Emmys. The categories for lead and supporting access might as well just list the cast of season 2, it's so full of women on top of their game: Nicole Kidman, Laura Dern and Meryl Streep could all realistically prepare acceptance speeches.

Devs (Hulu)


Master of strange sci-fi Alex Garland developed this slow-burning Hulu miniseries starring Nick Offerman. It's a weird and thought-provoking show that could win a nod for writing.

Hollywood (Netflix)

Jim Parsons well and truly left The Big Bang Theory behind playing an acidic agent in Ryan Murphy's lavish take on Hollywood history. The Emmys could say hooray for Hollywood in acting and writing categories.

I Know This Much is True (HBO)

It's a grim watch, but you know this much is true: Mark Ruffalo is twice as good as usual in a dual role playing troubled twins, which will surely earn him some acting kudos.

The Last Dance (ESPN)


One interesting thing about The Last Dance, which tells the story of basketball legend Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, is that it exemplifies media in the pandemic era. The sporting documentary was brought forward to fill a gap created by the cancellation of live sports, and benefited from the huge audience stuck at home looking for something to watch (and tweet about). But that's just detail: The Last Dance is a fascinating story well told, and along with the rest of ESPN's 30 for 30 series richly deserves recognition.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon)

Amazon Studios

In previous years the Emmys have shown a lot of love for Amazon's comedy about a housewife who stands up to her family through stand-up comedy. Picture-perfect period design could well lead to a hatbox full of nominations for costumes, hair and makeup, not to mention acting and more.

The Morning Show (Apple TV Plus)

Apple TV Plus is one of the newer streaming services looking to build its profile with some prestigious awardage. The super timely Morning Show is probably the top contender for the drama category, with Jennifer Aniston looking good for a nomination. Apple may also have its fingers crossed for its other shows Defending Jacob, Amazing Stories and See, while iconoclastic comedy Dickinson deserves praise too.

Mrs. America (FX)

Informative and evocative, Mrs. America told the story of the fight for equal rights in 1970s America. Cate Blanchett and Margo Martindale are among the star-studded cast who could find themselves nominated in the actress categories.

Modern Family (ABC)

Comedy legend Fred Willard sadly died this year, and may be recognized for his final roles in Modern Family and Netflix's Space Force. Modern Family may also be recognized for its climactic season.

Orange is the New Black (Netflix)

It might seem like a million years ago, but Orange is the New Black's final season streamed on Netflix in June 2019, just sneaking into the eligibility window. As it bows out, the show may receive recognition for its groundbreaking success.

Ramy (Hulu)

There's a lineup of heavyweights potentially vying for the comedy acting categories, including Eugene Levy, Ted Danson, Don Cheadle, Steve Carell and Larry David. But the old guard may pass the baton to Ramy Youssef, who already won a Golden Globe for his portrayal of a mixed-up Muslim millennial.

Schitt's Creek (Pop TV)


Originally a sleeper hit, this thoroughly good-hearted Canadian comedy told the story of a family that's broke but not broken. The emotional finale aired in April, surely making it a strong contender for the best comedy category. The cast has won a hatful of awards but no Emmys so far, but I'm expecting to see a lot of love for Catherine O'Hara, Annie Murphy, Eugene Levy and Dan Levy in the acting (and writing) categories. (Disclosure: CNET and Pop TV are a part of ViacomCBS).

Star Trek: Picard (CBS All Access)

Trae Patton

Patrick Stewart is back in the Captain's chair, delivering a stirring performance as an older, more troubled Jean-Luc Picard on streaming service CBS All Access (Disclosure: That service and CNET are owned by ViacomCBS). However, he faces stiff competition in the actor categories from the likes of Brian Cox, Billy Porter, Sterling K. Brown and Bob Odenkirk.

Tiger King (Netflix)

Hey all you cool cats and kittens, remember Tiger King? Netflix's stranger-than-fiction true crime documentary was the early hit of lockdown, recounting the feud between animal-loving oddballs Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin. The series captivated viewers, and will no doubt earn Netflix awards in the documentary category.

Watchmen (HBO)


HBO's audacious and provocative adaptation of the iconic comic took the Watchmen story in bold new directions, addressing race in a way that proved to be extremely timely.

When the Streetlights Go On (Quibi)

The short-form category could be huge for Quibi. The bite-size streaming service launched in 2020 with star-studded, big-money mini shows but struggled to persuade viewers to part with their cash when they could just keep watching YouTube for free. But there is some good stuff on there, including mystery drama When the Streetlights Go On and a range of kooky comedies like Dishmantled and Nikki Fre$h.

The Emmys ceremony

The Emmy nominations will be announced July 28. The winners will then be revealed live on Sunday Sept. 20 in a ceremony hosted by Jimmy Kimmel at LA's Microsoft Theater -- if the coronavirus situation allows, of course.

What TV shows have rocked your world this past year? Let us know in the comments.

Other potential contenders

  • Altered Carbon
  • Amazing Stories
  • Avenue 5
  • Bad Education
  • Better Things
  • Betty
  • Big Little Lies
  • Big Mouth
  • Black Mirror
  • Bob's Burgers
  • BoJack Horseman
  • Central Park
  • Curb Your Enthusiasm
  • Dead to Me
  • Doctor Who
  • Drunk History
  • Feel Good
  • Giri/Haji
  • Glow
  • The Good Place
  • The Great
  • The Handmaid's Tale
  • High Fidelity
  • Hightown
  • Hunters
  • I Am Not Okay With This
  • The Kominsky Method
  • Killing Eve
  • Little America
  • The Loudest Voice
  • Never Have I Ever
  • Normal People
  • Nora from Queens
  • Perry Mason
  • The Plot Against America
  • The Politician
  • Project Runway
  • Queer Eye
  • Quiz
  • Ramy
  • Rick & Morty
  • Run
  • RuPaul's Drag Race
  • Saturday Night Live
  • The Simpsons
  • Solar Opposites
  • South Park
  • The Stranger
  • Stranger Things
  • Tales from the Loop
  • This Is Us
  • Unbelievable
  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
  • Unorthodox