For years comedian and political commentator Bill Maher was by far the Emmys’ most overdue entertainer. Between his shows “Politically Incorrect” and “Real Time with Bill Maher” and a number of comedy specials, he had been nominated 32 times without ever winning. But that changed in 2014, when HBO’s documentary series “Vice” prevailed as Best Informational Program, and Maher was awarded as executive producer. “Vice” contends again. Could the once perennial also-ran win two in a row? We’ll find out at the Creative Arts Emmys on Sept. 12.
“Vice’s” victory last year was a tie with CNN’s “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown,” and they’re battling again this time around. Chef Anthony Bourdain has been quite popular with Emmy voters in the last five years, winning this category twice in a row for “Parts Unknown” (2013, 2014) and receiving several nominations before that for his previous series “No Reservations.” This year Bourdain also contends for Best Nonfiction Writing for “Parts Unknown” as well as Best Reality Host for “The Taste.”
Bourdain’s 2013 win in this category was actually another tie. He shared that victory with Bravo’s “Inside the Actors Studio,” which is also nominated again this year. That was the first ever win for the series hosted by James Lipton and featuring in-depth discussions with actors about their craft. Before that “Actors Studio” had suffered years of Emmy losses. This is its only nomination this year.
They face HBO’s “Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways,” which follows the rock band across the country as they record songs in various cities for the album of the same name, which was released last year. The music series is nominated four times, including bids for Best Nonfiction Directing (for Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl) for the “Washington DC” episode.
The final nominee is “StarTalk with Neil deGrasse Tyson.” This is the only nomination for the National Geographic series, which debuted on April 20, 2015, and features astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson discussing science topics with various guests. Tyson himself has one other nomination this year: Best Narrator for “Hubble’s Cosmic Journey.”
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Photo: Shane Smith in “Vice.” Credit: VICE Productions
Photo: Bill Maher in “Real Time.” Credit: Janet Van Ham/HBO