What will it take for Jimmy Kimmel to finally break through into the pack of Emmy nominees for Best Variety Series? “I guess retirement on their part because we’re certainly not getting any better,” joked Kimmel in a video interview with senior editors Rob Licuria and Chris Beachum.
The variety series category has been won by “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” for eight consecutive years. Before that, “The Late Show with David Letterman” scored five straight victories. The other shows that repeatedly get nominated include “The Colbert Report,” “Real Time with Bill Maher,” “Saturday Night Live,” and one of Conan O’Brien‘s programs (“Late Night” or “The Tonight Show”).
If “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” lands its first nomination this year, its producers plan to submit their live “After the Academy Awards” episode to Emmy judges. Over the years, this annual special has created viral videos featuring Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, and the Handsome Men’s Club. The Damon video won an Emmy for co-writer Sarah Silverman for Original Music and Lyrics in 2008. The 2011 Oscar show included Tom Hanks as a special guest and the Hottie Body Hump Club workout commercial (with Jessica Alba, Jessica Biel, Emily Blunt, Scarlett Johansson, Lindsay Lohan, Eva Longoria, and Sofia Vergara).
Kimmel says it becomes harder and harder each year to top themselves: “I lay awake thinking about it at night because that’s the curse. You make a video that everybody likes, and you want to continue to up the ante and have each video be more popular and more beloved.”
“The video that has the most hits is ever is (when) Justin Bieber comes and meets a little girl who made a video crying about how much she loves him,” he adds. “That took about eight minutes of work whereas some of these things take months of planning. It’s annoying, to be honest.”
A song written by Kimmel, Josh Groban, and Kanye West is entered in the Original Song category at the Emmys. “This is a song where we put Kanye West tweets together on one page, and they are just as ridiculous on one page as they are one-by-one when you read them on Twitter,” Kimmel says. “Kanye was an unwitting participant in this, and I’m not sure he knows that he is eligible for a nomination. If we lose, I’m sure he will be furious.”
Kimmel has had some awards success for another program long before his talk show. In 1999, he won a Daytime Emmy in the Game Show Host category as co-host of “Win Ben Stein’s Money.”