2024 Emmy Predictions: Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series


We will update this article throughout the season, along with all our predictions, so make sure to keep checking IndieWire for the latest news from the 2024 Emmys race. The nomination round of voting takes place from June 13 to June 24, with the official Emmy nominations announced Wednesday, July 17. Afterwards, final voting commences on August 15 and ends the night of August 26. The 76th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards are set to take place on Sunday, September 15, and air live on ABC at 8:00 p.m. ET/ 5:00 p.m. PT.

The State of the Race

While there has not exactly been a cutdown on documentary series in the way there has been for scripted series, it does seem like budgets have gone down. There is already talk online of people feeling tricked by the merger of HBO Max and Discovery+ that has led viewers to take projects like “Quiet On Set: The Dark Side Of Kids TV” as something HBO produced rather than true crime label Investigation Discovery. Regardless of quality, the series proved to be an impactful hit for Max.

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In terms of profile, the only show on the same platform that has received the same level of recognition is probably “The Jinx Part Two.” Also worth noting that the previous iteration of the Andrew Jarecki-helmed series about the life and deaths of real estate scion Robert Durst won Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series in 2015, so TV Academy voters in particular are plenty familiar with it.

Same goes for Netflix’s “Our Planet II” and National Geographic’s “Secrets of the Octopus,” which are follow ups to the last two nature docuseries to have won this Emmy category in recent years. Hulu’s “Black Twitter: A People’s History” also comes from Black-focused Disney content brand Onyx Collective, which produced last season’s winner “The 1619 Project.”

Given the number of people who watched it, and the headlines it has generated, Netflix’s “Beckham” seems like the one personality-focused docuseries with the best chance of awards success (it already has a PGA Award.) But there are other similar projects in the race that generated a lot of buzz for better (“The Super Models” on Apple TV+) or worse (“Where is Wendy Williams?” on Lifetime.)

And don’t forget sleeper hits like “Telemarketers” and “Love Has Won: The Cult of Mother God” on HBO, and “Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets” on Amazon Prime Video, which really just need another boost of momentum to maintain a foothold as Emmys contenders, since they all premiered last year.

Current Contenders (In Alphabetical Order):
“Beckham” (Netflix)
“Black Twitter: A People’s History” (Hulu)
“The Dynasty: New England Patriots” (Apple TV+)
“The Jinx – Part Two” (HBO)
“Lolla: The Story of Lollapalooza” (Paramount+)
“Love Has Won: The Cult of Mother God” (HBO)
“Our Planet II” (Netflix)
“Queens” (National Geographic)
“Quiet On Set: The Dark Side Of Kids TV” (ID)
“Secrets of the Octopus” (National Geographic)
“Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets” (Prime Video)
“Stax: Soulsville U.S.A.” (HBO)
“The Super Models” (Apple TV+)
“Telemarketers” (HBO)
“Where is Wendy Williams?” (Lifetime)

More Category Predictions:
Outstanding Animated Program
Outstanding Talk Series
Outstanding Scripted Variety Series
Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special

View IndieWire’s full set of predictions for the 76th Emmy Awards.

Last Year’s Winner: “The 1619 Project”
Still Eligible: No.
Hot Streak: Through ESPN, Disney+, and now Hulu, Disney TV has won Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series the last four TV seasons. While it is working with less contenders than year’s past, there is still ample chance for the company to keep the streak going.
Notable Ineligible Series: “Disco: Soundtrack of a Revolution” (the series will not premiere in time to be eligible); “Erased: WW2’s Heroes of Color” (the series will not premiere in time to be eligible); “Gypsy Rose: Life After Lock Up” (the series will not premiere in time to be eligible)

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