Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage

Jimmy Kimmel only found out yesterday afternoon that he’d have to get out of bed at an ungodly hour this morning to announce the Primetime Emmy nominations along with Kerry Washington of ABC’s Scandal, subbing for stranded Parks And Recreation co-star Nick Offerman. Jimmy Kimmel EmmysBut Kimmel’s predawn trip to the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in North Hollywood — appropriately enough, in his pajamas — turned out to be well worth his while: His ABC late-night talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live received its first nomination in the Outstanding Variety Series category on its 10th try. As Washington read the best variety series nominees, Kimmel appeared surprised. “Should I give a speech now or what?” he asked.

The speech can wait until September 23, when Kimmel will be hosting the Emmys live on ABC from the Nokia Theatre at LA Live. The man is clearly on a hot streak, even if he dressed for nominations announcement duty in something he described as being from “the husky baby collection.” After years of flying mostly under the radar with his late-night show known mostly for its viral celebrity-driven videos (it won the Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics category in 2008 for the “I’m F**king Matt Damon” ditty), JKL seems to be hitting its stride, posting significant ratings growth this past season and getting boosts from Kimmel’s post-Oscars and pre-NBA Finals stints. Kimmel’s own profile has risen too — after years of emceeing lesser-profile awards shows such as the AMAs and the ESPYs, he hosted the White House Correspondents Dinner in April in Washington and will preside over the Primetime Emmys in September. “Here’s the thing: We’re not going to give out any awards,” Kimmel said of his upcoming first Emmy hosting gig. “What I’m actually going to do is take an Emmy and chop it into a million pieces and hand everyone just a little bit of it, and then the whole night will be nothing but entertainment and maybe some mixed martial arts.”

The first best variety series nomination for JKL comes on the heels of the first nomination in the category for Late Night With Jimmy Fallon last year — a sign of a continuing generational shift , with younger shows such as JKL and Fallon replacing the old guard of Letterman and Leno, who again failed to land nominations. More surprisingly, Conan O’Brien also is out this year after getting a nom for the first season of his TBS show last year. “We are very happy to get our first Emmy nomination,” Kimmel noted after the announcement. “We love getting awards.” JKL‘s competition the category include perennial winner The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, The Colbert Report, Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, Real Time With Bill Maher and Saturday Night Live. Kimmel, Stephen Colbert, Fallon and Maher have the daunting task of keeping The Daily Show from winning for a 10th year in a row.