Emmy Category Profiles: Variety Talk Series and Variety Sketch Series


The Daily Show With Trevor Noah (Comedy Central)

This show’s 25th season — its fifth in a row nominated in this category, one of its four noms this year — emanated from a new Times Square studio and featured guests as varied as Anthony Fauci, Monica Lewinsky and Greta Thunberg. Noah’s profile certainly grew, too, as he hosted the Grammys and White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

The Daily Show With Trevor Noah

Courtesy of Comedy Central

Jimmy Kimmel Live! (ABC)

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The dean of late night, whose show is nearing its 20th anniversary, had a colorful season during which he traded barbs with Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert and, on April Fools’ Day, shows with Jimmy Fallon. Alas, this is his show’s only nomination this year; each of his competitors show has more.

Jimmy Kimmel Live!

Courtesy of Eric McCandless/ABC

Last Week Tonight With John Oliver (HBO)

The Brit-hosted show — this year’s only nominee that airs just once a week, for a half-hour — has won this prize six years in a row. With only five nominations, however — including writing and directing, but its fewest since 2015, and a number equaled this year by Stephen Colbert’s program — might it be vulnerable?

The Late Show With Stephen Colbert (CBS)

This is the show’s sixth consecutive nom (Colbert twice won for The Colbert Report) for a season during which it lost EP Chris Licht to CNN, debuted a new title sequence and welcomed Stephen Sondheim shortly before he died. It’s up for a category co-leading five awards (its most ever), including writing and directing.

Late Show with Stephen Colbert

Courtesy of Scott Kowalchyk/CBS

Late Night With Seth Meyers (NBC)

Emmy voters apparently took, well, a closer look at this 12:30 a.m. show, which Meyers has hosted since 2014, and for a season featuring pop stars, public servants (Hillary Clinton, Justice Sonia Sotomayor) and past host David Letterman, nominated it in this category (a first) and directing (it had never before received multiple noms in a single year).

Late Night with Seth Meyers

Courtesy of Lloyd Bishop/NBC


A Black Lady Sketch Show (HBO)

The Robin Thede-fronted showcase for Black comediennes has been nominated for all three of its seasons (each with six half-hour episodes). This one was packed, as always, with cameos (including one from alum Quinta Brunson, now with her own noms) and yielded five noms (tying the series’ high), including writing and directing.

Saturday Night Live (NBC)

Lorne Michaels’ iconic show, winner in each of the past five years, is up for its 47th season — the first for comedy trio Please Don’t Destroy and the last for Kate McKinnon, Aidy Bryant and Pete Davidson. Its nine noms, including writing and directing, are a category best — but its tally of acting noms are down from 11 last year to three.

Saturday Night Live

Courtesy of Will Heath/NBC

This story first appeared in a July stand-alone issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

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