The late-night community has had its Primetime Emmy Awards hopes hit once again after it emerged that this year there will likely be only four nominees in the Outstanding Variety Talk Series category — losing a spot compared to the 2021 awards.
It reduces the chances of preventing Last Week Tonight with John Oliver scoring its seventh consecutive win and is a major blow for shows such as The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Late Night with Seth Meyers and The Late Late Show with James Corden scoring a nomination.
The Emmy ballots came out Thursday as nominations-round voting begins, and given that there were only 19 shows submitted, per TV Academy rules, it means there will be only four shows nominated. That is down from five last year and six in 2019.
Emmy rules dictate that if a category has between 16 and 19 submissions, it will have four nominations.
Observers have suggested that the Academy does have some flexibility to change its rules on such a tight call, but as it stands, per its own guidelines, it’s another blow for the late-night community.
Last year, the Emmys’ Outstanding Variety Talk Series category narrowly remained at five nominations as there were only 20 submissions. However, the loss of shows such as A Little Late With Lilly Singh, Doing the Most With Phoebe Robinson and Wilmore has meant that this is further reduced.
In 2021, the late-night shows nominated were Last Week Tonight, Conan, The Daily Show With Trevor Noah, Jimmy Kimmel Live! and The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.
Conan took Full Frontal with Samantha Bee’s spot from 2020, and The Late Late Show with James Corden lost out as it moved from six nominations to five.
This year’s group is now anyone’s guess.
Curiously, Conan, who last year scored his first nomination in 10 years and amusingly caused bother during the 2021 ceremony, has been submitted again, allowed in because it officially ended on June 24, 2021, within the period (June 1, 2021 to May 31, 2022) that 2022’s awards covers.
The host of the former TBS show will now compete against the likes of John Oliver, Trevor Noah, Samantha Bee, James Corden, Jimmy Kimmel, Stephen Colbert, Seth Meyers, Bill Maher, Jimmy Fallon, Charlamagne Tha God, Desus & Mero and Andy Cohen for a nomination (see this year’s full submissions list below).
The Problem With Jon Stewart, which saw the former Daily Show host’s return to the space, has been submitted in the Outstanding Hosted Nonfiction Series or Special category.
Meanwhile, a number of late-night shows have chosen to compete in the Outstanding Variety Sketch Series, which will once again only have two nominations per the same rules. The Amber Ruffin Show, Pause with Sam Jay and Ziwe will compete against Saturday Night Live, A Black Lady Sketch Show, That Damn Michael Che, True Story With Ed and Randall and Whose Line Is It Anyway? for a nomination.
Per Academy rules, if a category gets between eight and 11 submissions, it gets two nominations; Outstanding Variety Sketch Series received eight submissions.
It’s unclear whether the late-night category could stay at five nominations if a show like The Amber Ruffin Show or Ziwe, which are essentially late-night shows, changes its submission status.
The move comes after late-night hosts and producers breathed a separate sigh of relief last year when the Television Academy capitulated to the cries of the comedy lobby and reversed its decision to merge the variety sketch and talk categories.
There was much pressure from broadcast networks including ABC, CBS and NBC as well as cable nets including Comedy Central over the initial decision. Last February, the Academy reversed course after Deadline revealed that some showrunners were considering a boycott of the event.
Outstanding Variety Talk Series (Submissions)
The Daily Show With Trevor Noah
Desus & Mero
E! News’ Nightly Pop
Friday Night Vibes
Full Frontal With Samantha Bee
Half In The Bag
Hart To Heart
Jimmy Kimmel Live!
Last Week Tonight With John Oliver
The Late Late Show With James Corden
Late Night With Seth Meyers
The Late Show With Stephen Colbert
Real Time With Bill Maher
The Sisaundra Show
Tha God’s Honest Truth With Charlamagne Tha God
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen
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