For 15 years, Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" has been a fixture on Emmy nominations day. That streak was broken this morning in a reflection of the still-bumpy transition that remains in progress since longtime host Jon Stewart retired and "The Daily Show" moved on with new host Trevor Noah.
While Noah's difficulties with finding his footing have been well documented, what's more surprising is the diminished profile among Emmy voters for the alumni of "The Daily Show" as well. Apart from John Oliver, whose HBO series "Last Week Tonight" earned multiple nominations, former "Daily Show" correspondents Samantha Bee, Larry Wilmore and Stephen Colbert failed to make the cut in the variety/talk series category. Instead newcomers James Corden and Jerry Seinfeld's former short-form nominee "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee" received honors, alongside usual suspects Jimmy Kimmel, Bill Maher and Jimmy Fallon.
The omission of Colbert, who earned multiple Emmys during his run with Comedy Central's "Daily Show" spinoff, "The Colbert Report," stands as more evidence of his troubles since taking over for David Letterman's slot with "The Late Show" on CBS. Though Colbert's new show frequently draws better numbers than the Emmy-nominated "Jimmy Kimmel Live," it's been handily beaten by late-night's current ratings champion — the viral video-friendly "Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon."
Emmy voters bid a fond farewell to "Downton Abbey" on Thursday, honoring the final season of the costume drama with 10 nominations, including a fifth nod for drama series.
Though previous nominees from the cast, including Michelle Dockery and Jim Carter, were overlooked this time around, perennial favorite Maggie Smith was once again recognized in the supporting actress in a drama category.
"I’m thrilled and amazed and honoured that the show has been so generously recognized in its final year. It’s a wonderful goodbye for everyone involved," writer and creator Julian Fellowes said in a statement.
The shifts in the TV landscape brought on by online video streaming are more apparent than ever in the nominations for the 68th Primetime Emmy Awards announced Thursday.
HBO dominated the competition with 94 nominations — the most of any network for the 16th consecutive year — for the awards presented by the Television Academy. But its total was down from the 126 it received in 2015, a sign of how streaming services — as well as other cable outlets — have upped their game in the scripted programming arena.
One significant indicator of the new TV world order: Three out of the seven nominees in the comedy series category — “Master of None” and “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” both on Netflix, and Amazon’s “Transparent” — are only available through online viewing. Broadcast networks had dominated the category as recently as 2011, but this year only ABC was represented with “black-ish” and “Modern Family.” The commercial broadcasters have not had a series nominated for drama series since that same year.
The real message of this year’s nominations is remarkably clear: The best television turns vague social notions and ill-defined personal feelings into vividly specific stories and increasingly, it does it in real time.
TV critic Mary McNamara on the 2016 Emmy nominations
Shortly before Samantha Bee’s essential late-night talk show, “Full Frontal With Samantha Bee,” premiered this year on TBS, Vanity Fair published a story spotlighting “all the titans of late-night television.” The group of 10 talk show hosts was entirely male and made up of the usual suspects — Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, Bill Maher, among them — and also included Trevor Noah, who hadn’t yet taken the reins at “The Daily Show.”
That tired boys club scenario was shockingly repeated Thursday as Emmy voters ignored Bee’s bold, electrifying series in favor of a show in which Jerry Seinfeld drives around with his celebrity pals in fancy cars to grab a cup of coffee.
Bee was not the only strong, interesting woman overlooked.
It was the crime that rocked the country in the 1990s.
In 2016, it rocked television.
The killings of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman, for which O.J. Simpson was acquitted of murder in 1995, solidified its status as the television event of the moment when a scripted dramatization of the case on Thursday walked away with a load of Emmy nominations.
What are you doing to celebrate? It’s the kind of thing you just walk around being happy and proud and honored. I don’t need to do anything specific. I might open a bottle of champagne. It’s more just really gratifying.
Would you direct another six-hour series? Or even something longer?
I think I might need a little break before I do it again, but I would love to. It’s so interesting because you get into details that, coming from feature films, you can’t allow yourself that level of detailing for minor characters. When you do six hours, there is space to be detailed about that.
Tracee Ellis Ross of "black-ish" talks about her favorite line in the show's "Good Times" tribute.
The only person who may have been more excited about Tracee Ellis Ross being nominated for lead actress in a comedy series was her "black-ish" co-star Anthony Anderson, who read the 2016 nominations with actress Lauren Graham and screamed her name.
Ross sat with critic Mary McNamara earlier this year to talk about the show's finale and the important recently completed season.