Late-Night Lobbying Pays Off As TV Academy Changes Course & Reverses Emmy Category Changes

The Television Academy has capitulated to the cries of the late-night lobby and has reversed course – keeping the variety sketch and talk categories separate for this year’s Emmys.

The Academy had announced in December that the categories would merge but has decided to keep them separate – a boon for the late-night crowd.

“While the Academy remains concerned about the number of series produced and the relatively small pool of entries in the variety sketch genre, it acknowledges that the differences between variety sketch and talk programs merit separate consideration,” the Academy said in a statement. “As the Academy continues to engage with industry leaders and constituents, it will always endeavor to uphold the integrity of the competition and be as fair as possible.”

It comes after Deadline revealed that that broadcast networks including ABC, CBS and NBC as well as cable nets including Comedy Central, HBO and Showtime were planning to petition the TV Academy with some showrunners going as far to suggest a boycott of the event.

The changes would have meant that sketch shows such as Saturday Night Live and A Black Lady Sketch Show would compete in the same category as the likes of HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. 

It is a boon for shows such as TBS’ Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live!, NBC’s The Late Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and Late Night with Seth Meyers, and CBS’ The Late Late Show with James Corden, which would have all struggled to compete in a more packed field.

It is also good news for emerging shows, particularly more diverse entries, such as Showtime’s Desus & Mero, Peacock’s The Amber Ruffin Show and NBC’s A Little Late with Lilly Singh, which can now all compete without the shadow of sketch.

Variety was first with the news.

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