EXCLUSIVE: Writers on TV’s late-night comedy shows are still angry at the news that for the first time their category won’t be part of the Primetime Emmy telecast. Instead, as part of last year’s agreement between the TV Academy and Writers Guild, their category will be presented at the Creative Arts Awards the week before. Now those same scribes have been invited to write pre-taped bits for the shows nominated in the Best Variety, Music, or Comedy Series category. “Kinda insulting, no?” said one of the nominated writers approached for the gig.
A spokesman for the TV Academy explained: “While we are upholding our current agreement with the WGA, we still wanted to find a way to include the VMC writers in the telecast as it is always an entertaining part of the show. [So] the producers of this year’s telecast have reached out to the VMC Series writers to contribute to the nomination packages which are a highlight of the ceremony.”
In the past, when there was one writing for VMC series/special category, it was usually highlight of the ceremony. “It has always been one few moments during the Emmys to contain actual entertainment, because the writers come up with those funny pre-taped bits that roll while all those Jewish surnames are being read,” one writer said.
As part of the agreement last summer following the split of the variety music or comedy categories in two, series and specials, the far-less-prominent writing for a VMC special category will be presented at the Primetime Emmy ceremony, slated to air Aug. 29 on NBC. Read More »
This can be chalked up to a pure misunderstanding magnified by the power of Twitter. Deon Cole, one of the writers on The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien, created some shock waves online after he tweeted yesterday that the show’s writers had been informed that the writing for variety, music or comedy category won’t be televised this year. “Someone with power has kicked us in the nuts again,” he wrote. The situation got additionally heated by the fact that the Primetime Emmys air on NBC, the network that let O’Brien go. But there is no conspiracy. It is true that for the first time, the writing and directing for VMC categories will be presented at the Creative Arts Awards a week before the Primetime Emmy telecast on NBC. That is part of an agreement the TV Academy made with the WGA and DGA last summer when it announced the split of the writing and directing for VMC series or special into separate categories for series and specials. It called for the series and specials categories to alternate between the Primetime and Creative Arts ceremonies. The series categories were awarded during CBS’ Primetime Emmy telecast last year, with the specials awards given out at the Creative Emmys. This year, the roles are reversed, which I’m sure will present a challenge for the NBC telecast producer Don Mischer as the series are way better known and their writing staffs often provide funny clips to go with listing the nominees’ names. By the … Read More »
I feel like the late-night Emmy categories featured the most intrigue this year. And not just because of the four nominations for The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien, including best variety, music or comedy series and best writing for such series.
This year also marked the end of a pretty remarkable streak for David Letterman. Since 1984, going back to the first full season of his Late Night on NBC, Letterman had gotten a best VMC series AND best writing for a VMC series nominations every year, for Late Night and then The Late Show on CBS. (In 1996, the writing nom was for a Late Show special.) That is a 26-year streak that came to an end today when The Late Show with David Letterman failed to land a best VMC series or writing for a VMC series nomination.
In the best series category, Late Show was the only absentee from last year’s list, that also included Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report, HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher and NBC’s Saturday Night Live. This year, Late Show was replaced in the nominations by Conan’s Tonight Show. In the writing category, it was Real Time that “took” Late Show‘s spot from last year, while O’Brien is enjoying a nice 16-year nomination streak of his own in the category with his Late Show and now The Tonight Show. Speaking of streaks, The Daily Show is going for a 8th consecutive win in the best VMC series … Read More »