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Emmys 2019: Variety Talk Series Nominees Raise Questions of Variety, Talk, and Frequency

Maybe it's time to give "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver" and "Full Frontal with Samantha Bee" a category of their own.

"Last Week Tonight with John Oliver"

“Last Week Tonight with John Oliver”

Lloyd Bishop/HBO

Now that the crop of 2019 Emmy nominees has been announced, analysis can begin on who has the upper hand in their respective categories – and who should just be happy to be recognized by the Television Academy.

Host of CBS’s “The Late Late Show” James Corden earned six separate Emmy nominations this year for his role in a wide array of “Carpool Karaoke” and “Late Late Show” related categories, but the talk series itself didn’t earn nominations for writing or directing, suggesting that its support across the board in the category is weaker than HBO’s “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” or network-mate “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” both of which earned nominations for talk series, writing and directing when nominations were announced.

This week IndieWire Editor-at-Large Anne Thompson and TV Awards Editor Libby Hill pull apart the Variety Talk Series categories, including writing and direction, in an attempt to determine who’s competing at a higher level of difficulty, who gets a boost for doing it live, and who’s opted for more singing than actual talking.

Plus, Hill gets back on her horse about why the Variety Talk Series category is headed for a reckoning and how it’s high time that the TV Academy figure out what to do about the nightly (“The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”) vs. weekly (“Last Week Tonight with John Oliver”) showdown that increasingly divides the group.

Also in this week’s episode: A brief rundown of who’s got the heat in the Outstanding Competition Program category and why it seems highly likely that “RuPaul’s Drag Race” will be the series to beat for years to come.

Final-round Emmy voting is open from Thursday, Aug. 15 through Thursday, Aug. 29 at 10 p.m. PT. Winners for the 71st Primetime Emmys Creative Arts Awards will be announced the weekend of Sept. 14 and 15, with the Primetime Emmys ceremony broadcast live on Fox on Sunday, Sept. 22.

Check out the episode below, and remember to subscribe to Screen Talk on Apple Podcasts or via your preferred listening source. New Emmy edition episodes will resume imminently, while traditional Screen Talk episodes — with Thompson and IndieWire Executive Film Editor and Chief Critic Eric Kohn — will continue to hit the site each Friday. Make sure to listen to IndieWire’s other podcasts, as well, including Chris O’Falt’s Filmmaker Toolkit Podcast.

For more on this year’s Emmy race, please head over to IndieWire’s Awards page, where you’ll find breaking news, Consider This profiles, and Emmy predictions in 21 categories.

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