The Daily Show returned to the Best Variety Talk Series Emmy competition for the first time with Trevor Noah as host, and HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher did not make the cut for only the second time since 2005 in a field dominated by hosts of whom of President Donald Trump does not approve.
TV Academy members continued to show support for Samantha Bee, giving her a nom weeks after the President of the United States tried to have her fired over an incendiary remark she made about Ivanka on her TBS late-night show. “Why aren’t they firing no-talent Samantha Bee for the horrible language used on her low-ratings show?” he had tweeted after Bee’s line, for which she and TBS apologized.
Bee released a statement shortly after the nominations were announced. “It’s been an interesting year for the show to say the least,” she said, “and none of it would have been possible without each person on my staff and each suit at TBS (it’s ok to say that–they’re very nice suits!). TBS bravely put a woman over 45 on TV and in turn I only got yelled at by the president once. We have some seriously special people on our staff and hearing them go crazy in the office right now is just the medicine this world needs.”
The Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon’s bid to get back in the game with a public apology for his Trump-normalizing stunt did not pan out; Fallon’s Tonight Show failed to secure a nom in this derby for a second year running. During Emmy noms walkup Fallon apologized for his infamous Trump hair muss stunt back in fall of 2016 that some Fallon critics insist helped land Trump in the White House. Expect Trump, who blasted Fallon for the apology, to take credit on Twitter before or after meeting with Russian ruler Vladimir Putin in Helsinki.
But CBS’ The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live, frequent subjects of Trump late-night bashing opus, both landed on the list. It marks a second consecutive nom for Colbert – or, as Trump calls him “that guy on CBS” – since taking over Late Show from David Letterman.
HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, a two-time winner in this category, again is in the running – one of nine nominations for the weekly late night show, also including Outstanding Directing for a Variety Series (Paul Pennolino) and Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series.
Oliver’s two previous wins for Best Variety Talk have spawned a new Emmy night tradition: Best Non-Winner, as the derby’s other contenders joke about their loss. Colbert’s already campaigning on that front, noting last night on his program how he’d lost out in ’17 race to his former Daily Show colleague, and suggesting his agent might work to overthrow the election like Putin did for Trump.
Also nommed again is CBS’ The Late Late Show with James Corden, marking a second consecutive year that two CBS late-night shows secured nod.
Meanwhile, the TV Academy did not nominate either Fallon or NBC’s Late Night with Seth Meyers, which is awkward given that this year’s Emmy broadcast is on NBC.
Academy voters continued to thumb their nose at Trump with Bee’s nomination. The Academy already had stood by her once when it went ahead with plans to honor Bee the day after her controversial Ivanka remark, for which she and TBS issued apologies the White House did not accept. “For its dedication to making the audience laugh while making it think, the Television Academy is proud to include ‘Full Frontal with Samantha Bee’ in the Television Academy Honors,” the Academy said the day after her broadcast.