“Let’s talk about ‘Full Frontal with Samantha Bee.’ Can she finally make it in?” I ask Matt Noble and Charles Bright in our lively video chat (watch above). They joined me for a spirited debate about what we should be looking out for in the Best Variety Talk Series category, as we await the Emmy nominations announcement in a couple of weeks.
“I think she will get in,” Charles proclaims. “She’s gotten more notoriety, and for the more liberal base of the TV academy, it’s definitely become more of a rallying cry kind of show for them.” Matt agrees, adding that “the fact she was overlooked last year was noticeable. This category is crying out for there to be a woman nominated.” I agree wholeheartedly, “she’s really cemented her voice as someone that people are sitting up and taking notice of.”
I then move on to the other burning question in this race – can “Real Time with Bill Maher” survive recent controversies and the overall competitiveness of this category to claim another nomination? Last month, talk show comedian Bill Maher was lambasted for his inappropriate use of the n-word on his show, which led to calls of boycotts and maybe firing him altogether. After he apologized on air and seemed to have weathered the storm, the controversy appears to have died down to some degree, but it might still remain in the minds of Emmy voters, who were about to start voting when the controversy exploded.
Charles says Maher is on shaky ground, but not necessarily because of the n-word debacle but because “Bill Maher has become a more polarizing figure,” he explains. Matt agrees with this sentiment. “I feel like he was already on the cusp,” he says. “I was thinking, because people like Samantha Bee and Stephen Colbert have probably strengthened this year, maybe dropping him, but when the n-word controversy erupted, it for me said there’s another reason to not include him in my predictions.” I agree with those arguments. “Although he is very anti-Trump, which is very in right now in Hollywood, he does call out a lot of issues that people find quite controversial,” I say. “I’m not sure if people are going to want to reward him this year after hearing all of these very controversial views.”
We then delve deep into discussing the merits of the numerous contenders in the Best Variety Talk Series race this year, with “Late Show with Stephen Colbert” emerging as a potential favorite alongside last year’s winner “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.”
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