Last Week Tonight with John Oliver took home its fourth consecutive Emmy for Outstanding Variety Talk Series.
The Emmy Awards’ Outstanding Variety Talk Series category has become a no-contest. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver won last night, securing it’s fourth win in a row.
It is certainly not due to a lack of competition. The HBO series was up against The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, The Late Late Show with James Corden and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
Yet it was Last Week Tonight that heard its name called once again. That makes four wins out of five nominations dating back to 2015.
The category that John Oliver and company have come to own is a relatively new one. In 2015, the Outstanding Variety Series category was divided into Outstanding Variety Talk Series and Outstanding Variety Sketch Series. That distinction eliminated Saturday Night Live as a competitor, opening the door for Last Week Tonight to go on its dominating run.
It is hard to argue with the results no matter how good The Late Show with Stephen Colbert has been in the past year. Last Week Tonight is such a unique late night show and that characteristic only stands out more when compared to its fellow nominees.
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert does one thing better than anyone else: skewer President Donald Trump. It is the reason why The Late Show is on top of the ratings, proving there is no such thing as “Trump fatigue” for late night audiences.
But perhaps the same can’t be said for Emmy voters. Because while Last Week Tonight with John Oliver also mocks President Trump, it does so much more and does not rely on Trump’s behavior for so much of its content.
John Oliver delivers compelling shows on out-of-the box topics like robocalls, mobile homes, and the president of Turkmenistan while also addressing important political issues like the Senate filibuster.
Last Week Tonight has an advantage over shows like Jimmy Kimmel Live! and The Late Late Show with James Corden. The network late night shows are often used for promotional and marketing purposes which can influence what guests are on the show and what material gets used. At HBO, Oliver has much more creative freedom and he has used that to capture four Emmy Awards.
It is hard to imagine how the results of this category will change in the future. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver doesn’t seem to be slowing down or losing its edge. Perhaps an election year can help The Late Show with Stephen Colbert pull an upset in 2020? We’ll see but for now, the Outstanding Talk Series category still belongs to Last Week Tonight.