Emmys: Who's Likely to Win a Nomination in Late Night

It’s a gladiator-style fight to the finish for variety talkers as spots once occupied by David Letterman and Jon Stewart free up on the ballot.
Courtesy of Janet Van Ham/HBO
Bill Maher

Late-night talk shows have experienced massive turnover and expansion during the past year, resulting in an unprecedented amount of fresh blood angling for a spot in the variety talk category — created last year when variety series was splintered into talk and sketch categories.

Historically, it was hard for a sketch show like SNL to compete with a talker like The Daily Show, which won the variety series category 11 times. But now Comedy Central's The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, as well as another perennial nominee, The Colbert Report, are gone. The reincarnated Daily Show hosted by Trevor Noah hasn't resonated much with viewers and isn't likely to make the nom cut for the first time in 15 years.

Stephen Colbert, who gave up his alter ego to replace David Letterman on the Late Show over at CBS, should retain Letterman's old nom slot. Three nominees from last year are likely to return: NBC's The Tonight Show, ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live! and HBO's Last Week Tonight. Last year was only the second time this century that Bill Maher's HBO series wasn't nominated, and with its ripe election material, Real Time should be back.

And it's hard to imagine James Corden's Late Late Show won't join him. This scenario leaves out rookies Full Frontal With Samantha Bee (TBS) and Chelsea (Netflix) — as well as the relatively more serious fare of Seth Meyers' Late Night (NBC), Larry Wilmore's Nightly Show (Comedy Central) and Conan (TBS). 

This story first appeared in a special Emmy issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

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