Last Year’s Winner: “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver”
Still Eligible: Yes.
Hot Streak: “The Daily Show” or a show run by one of its former correspondents has won this category 14 years running.
Fun Fact: …but “The Daily Show” itself, despite a record 10 wins in the variety category, wasn’t nominated in 2016.
The Emmys are more competitive than ever, and the Variety Talk category is no exception. Last year’s winner, “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver,” should feel secure in its odds for a nomination after another strong year, but few others can rest easy.
Of last year’s other nominees, “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” are all in similar boats: They all have a solid history with the Academy and remain strong in the ratings. “The Late, Late Show with James Corden” has only grown in popularity since breaking in last year, while “Real Time with Bill Maher” might find itself in a tough spot considering its host’s recent controversial remarks. “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” remains the oddball of the lot, but it’s evident from its 2016 nod that Jerry Seinfeld still has some pull in the TV Academy.
With those picks in mind, there are a slew of contenders who want to break into the race. “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” may have the most buzz of the lot, as Bee’s “Not the White House Correspondents Dinner” and many other impressive reports have made her the unofficial queen of late night. After missing out for the first time in a long time, “The Late Show” would like to get back in the race, and Stephen Colbert’s recent ratings rise could get him his first nod since taking over the gig on CBS.
Trevor Noah is hoping to break through for “The Daily Show,” too. The landmark Comedy Central news program was a TV Academy favorite until it missed out last year, during Noah’s first year hosting. That could change now that he’s settled into the role and earned more respect from his audience and, presumably, voters. And then there’s Seth Meyers on “Late Night.” Critics have been pointing to his late night series as the best on NBC, if not all of television. Could he sneak in and steal his timeslot predecessor’s slot, like Corden did to Colbert in 2016?
Below are IndieWire TV Critic Ben Travers’ predictions for Outstanding Variety Talk Series (in alphabetical order), which will be updated throughout the awards season. Make sure to keep checking IndieWire for all the latest buzz and highlights from the 2017 race, and read the rest of the predictions in all categories, as well.
- “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee”
- “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee”
- “Jimmy Kimmel Live”
- “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver”
- “The Late, Late Show with James Corden”
- “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”
Spoilers: “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah,” “Real Time with Bill Maher,” “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon”
In a Perfect World: “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” “Conan”