Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Emmy Nominations: Which five talk shows should get the nod?

Next week, on July 8, the Emmy nominations will be announced at an ungodly hour of the morning in L.A., in time to make it onto the early shows on the East Coast. Here are the five shows that were nominated in 2009 in the category of Outstanding Variety, Music Or Comedy Series:

"Late Show With David Letterman," CBS
"Real Time With Bill Maher," HBO
"Saturday Night Live," NBC
"The Colbert Report," Comedy Central
"The Daily Show With Jon Stewart," Comedy Central

"TDS" won, as it has every year since 2003. The Emmy folks don't particularly care about spreading the wealth -- "The Amazing Race" has won the Outstanding Reality-Competition Emmy every year since 2003 as well. Setting aside the seemingly inevitable victory of Jon Stewart & company, who do you think should be nominated in 2010? Here are my picks:

"The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien," NBC
"The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson," CBS
"Jimmy Kimmel Live," ABC
"The Colbert Report," Comedy Central
"The Daily Show With Jon Stewart," Comedy Central

Despite the fact that I have endless respect for Dave, and his forthright handling of his extortion scandal may impress voters, it pains me to say that I think his best work is behind him -- and I say this as someone who has watched literally thousands of hours of Letterman shows. I realize a lot of people disagree. "Saturday Night Live" deserved the nomination in 2009 because of their often-hilarious election coverage, but the most recent season was lackluster. I will admit that I don't have HBO and have only seen clips of "Real Time," so I may not be giving it a fair shake.

I think Emmy voters, who have ignored Jay Leno in this category since 2003, will find it irresistible to tweak NBC by nominating O'Brien, and he deserves it for the hilarious run of shows at the end of his brief tenure at "Tonight." Craig Ferguson is fresh and original and deserves recognition by Emmy voters. Jimmy Kimmel, who, like Ferguson, has never been nominated, is the most underrated host in late night, as well as one of the hardest-working -- his ABC prime time specials and viral videos (his latest one, with pop sensation Drake, has gotten close to 300,000 views on YouTube) have made many skeptics give him a second look; the Emmy voters should, too.

As for the two Comedy Central shows, I will cop to having watched every single episode of "The Daily Show" since Jon Stewart took the reins in 1999, so I can't say it's not deserving of its accolades. Some nights I think "Colbert" is funnier, mostly by virtue of its willingness to be goofy -- check out Monday's piece on doomsday bunkers. "TDS" is sharper and more serious about critiquing the news media, which is probably why it keeps winning. Calling out "Fox & Friends" and Rick Sanchez has more gravitas than making puppets yodel.

Am I unfairly ignoring Bill Maher? Is Jimmy Fallon ready for an Emmy nomination? Is "SNL" relevant in non-presidential election years? Anyone want to stick up for George Lopez? Post your comments and suggestions.


  1. Shane G. said...

    Great picks, I might throw in Real time over JKL, just because I don't usually watch JKL. I think Fallon's first year was pretty good, it got a lot better as it went along, and it still is. Ready for an emmy? I don't know.. maybe next year. He's hosting though, right?

  2. Anonymous said...

    Here we go guys---
    1. LLS with Craig Ferguson
    2. LS with David letterman
    3. Jimmy Kimmel Live
    4. TDS with Jon Stewart
    5. Saturday night Live
    And the winner this year is and should be--LLS with Craig Ferguson.
    Although I am a huge D letterman fan, it hurts me to say that Craigy deserves the award this year.
    And if LLS doesnot get nominated this year I will stop watching the emmys period.

  3. Andrew said...

    Is Letterman as good as he use to be? Probably not. Are there currently five shows that are better than his? Absolutely not. He still deserves a spot.

    And your logic is inconsistent. You disqualify SNL for having a lackluster season overall, and then turn around and say Conan deserves a nomination merely for being able to string together two weeks of funny shows at the end, as if the preceding six months (largely mediocre in my opinion) count for nothing.

  4. Talk Show News said...

    See, I kind of think Conan deserves an Emmy nomination just for the Bugatti Veyron Mouse. I don't think I've laughed as hard at anything else in the past year. Plus, it would bug NBC & Leno, and that's got to be worth something.

  5. Anonymous said...

    Hasn't the Late Show been nominated every year since it began? I'd be shocked if it wasn't again this year.

    I think Craig's Late Late Show deserves a nomination and the win, though.

  6. Anonymous said...

    I disagree with your omission of Dave. Ferguson is good, but name five memorable moments from his show. Hard to do, isn't it. Now name five from Letterman's last year. He had at least five every week or two during the Conan-Leno debacle, not to mention his scandal announcement.

    As noted in another comment, Dave's best shows may be behind him, but he's still a cut above just about everyone else.

  7. Jennbob said...

    Naming 5 memorable moments from the Late Late show isnt that difficult if you actually watch the show and are a fan. He's so much funnier than Letterman.

    1. Desmond Tutu Interview
    2. Stephen Fry interview
    3. Michael Sheen/Amy Ryan episode
    4. Introduction of Geoff Peterson
    5. Anything with Sid the Cussing Bunny

    I submit these for your approval..I've got more if you need more than 5 :) Craig's been over-looked too long..he deserves the Emmy!

  8. Jillian E said...

    Correction: Craig Ferguson was nominated for an Emmy in 2006. (Outstanding Individual Performance Variety or Music). He was accompanied by his mother, a huge Barry Manilow fan. Manilow won.

    [This individual achievement category has since been eliminated of course.]

    As for gravitas, the Ferguson interviews with Tutu and Stephen Fry had more heft than we've seen since old-school talk shows.

    I suspect TDS will take home the Emmy this year, as usual. It is best of its kind. But TLLS breaks new ground, something the other shows seem to avoid doing.

  9. Anonymous said...

    Aside from the Desmond Tutu interview, who saw those other four. For that matter, who even knows who the other four are? Not many, which is why Ferguson isn't in the same league as the rest of the aforementioned nominees.

  10. Anonymous said...

    I stopped reading when u say Letterman shouldn't be nominated. Get a grip will ya.

  11. Anonymous said...

    Just give it to LENO to piss off everyone!

    I think STEWART is going to win, but i like COLBERT more

  12. Anonymous said...

    Er hello? I think yiu forgot the bestest talk show ever. THE TALK!!!!