I feel like the late-night Emmy categories featured the most intrigue this year. And not just because of the four nominations for The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien, including best variety, music or comedy series and best writing for such series.
This year also marked the end of a pretty remarkable streak for David Letterman. Since 1984, going back to the first full season of his Late Night on NBC, Letterman had gotten a best VMC series AND best writing for a VMC series nominations every year, for Late Night and then The Late Show on CBS. (In 1996, the writing nom was for a Late Show special.) That is a 26-year streak that came to an end today when The Late Show with David Letterman failed to land a best VMC series or writing for a VMC series nomination.
In the best series category, Late Show was the only absentee from last year’s list, that also included Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report, HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher and NBC’s Saturday Night Live. This year, Late Show was replaced in the nominations by Conan’s Tonight Show. In the writing category, it was Real Time that “took” Late Show‘s spot from last year, while O’Brien is enjoying a nice 16-year nomination streak of his own in the category with his Late Show and now The Tonight Show. Speaking of streaks, The Daily Show is going for a 8th consecutive win in the best VMC series category. Meanwhile Bill Maher earned his sixth consecutive best VMC series nom and another one for writing, hoping to break the streak of 10 previous nominations and 0 wins for his HBO show. And Letterman still got a nomination, a rather unusual one, for producing PBS’ Sesame Workshop children’s special When Families Grieve.