Desus Nice and The Kid Mero are splitting from Viceland at the end of next week after less than two years of swathe-cutting late-night duty, but not before they make one last hard press on Emmy voters.
Over the past week, a long-planned and Vice Media-funded Desus & Mero FYC campaign has shifted to the next gear with a play on the industry’s inclusion problems and promises to “reduce white guilt” if the Bronx-based Bodega Boys score enough votes for a nomination. With tongue firmly in cheek, there has been a branded bus traveling around town and an airplane with a banner flying over the City of Angels.
Adding to the not inconsiderable bucks Vice has put out, over the past two days fliers began to show up in TV Academy membership-saturated neighborhoods asking Emmy voters to consider Desus & Mero in the Outstanding Variety Talk Series category.
Of course, Vice employing the same contrarian approach that has worked so well four nights a week for Desus & Mero might not go down so great in the last days of phase I of Emmy voting. “I like the show from what I’ve seen of it, but that campaign takes it too far,” a longtime TV Academy voter said after getting one of the fliers in her mailbox Thursday. “It’s almost offensive.”
Having failed to secure an Emmy nomination in their first year on Viceland with a fairly straightforward appeal, Desus & Mero at first looked to be aiming for more of the same, with hopes for a different result.
Between tour dates and Brooklyn tapings, Desus and Mero themselves were out in Los Angeles on April 20 for an event hosted by Lena Waithe. Like the duo’s show in some ways, that shindig was much closer to the conventional FYC event that cover the calendar this time of year.
This last “white guilt” surge comes as the two are jumping outlets again after their last Viceland show airs June 28. With a signed Showtime deal officially announced Tuesday, Desus Nice and The Kid Mero will front the premium cabler’s first late-night show starting next year. The quick-witted and topical team — real names: Daniel Baker and Joel Martinez — were previously at MTV before Viceland, and Complex TV before that.
So, if the efforts for Desus & Mero were to sway enough voters for an Emmy nom this year, it would be for a show that no longer exists. It’s a state of affairs that would primarily add shine to their new Showtime series — for Vice, that must now feel like a sin.