Emmys: HBO Max's Elmo Talk Show Enters Race (Exclusive)

The 'Sesame Street' spinoff, episodes of which run 15 minutes, will aim to dethrone 'Carpool Karaoke: The Series' in the shortform variety series category.
HBO Max
'The Not-Too-Lae Show'

At a time when there have never been more late night talk shows in the running for Primetime Emmys, another is entering the mix, albeit in a different category than the rest: The Not-Too-Late Show With Elmo, a kid-centric offering from new streamer HBO Max, has been submitted in the shortform variety series category, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

The 13-episode Sesame Street spinoff launched with the streaming service May 27 and is said to be a top draw. It is hosted by Elmo and co-hosted by Cookie Monster, and features appearances by fellow late night hosts John Oliver, Jimmy Fallon and Andy Cohen; musical performers like The Jonas Brothers, Lil Nas X and Kacey Musgraves; and a wide range of others including Ben Platt, Blake Lively, John Mulaney and Hoda Kotb.

The show was made possible by a 2019 deal struck between HBO Max, which was looking for appealing kids and family programming, and Sesame Workshop, which produces Sesame Street and provided the service with Sesame Street's 50-year library; five new seasons' worth of episodes that will air first on the service before becoming available on Sesame Street's longtime home, PBS Kids; and the opportunity to do spinoffs.

There are some major differences between The Not-Too-Late Show and other late night talk shows. For one thing, The Not-Too-Late Show was shot entirely before the pandemic, and therefore does not comment on current events. And for another, each of its episodes runs for just 15 minutes, which enables it to compete in the shortform variety series category (which was created in 2016 and won in each of the past two years by Apple Music's Carpool Karaoke: The Series), unlike the aforementioned talkers, which have episodes averaging longer than 17 minutes, forcing them to compete in the jam-packed variety talk series category.

But, interestingly, The Not-Too-Late Show, though targeting kids, is, in fact, a late show: Its first three episodes were on HBO Max when the service launched, but each of the remaining 10 episodes will drop on Thursdays at 12:01 a.m. PST.