Emmy voters rewarded shows that took on Donald Trump, but snubbed Jimmy Fallon after the “Tonight Show” host largely gave the president a pass.
The most obvious example is “Saturday Night Live,” which earned 22 nominations — tied for the most of any show — after a season in which Alec Baldwin regularly savaged Trump as an incompetent, blithering sexist and racist, and Melissa McCarthy played White House press secretary Sean Spicer as a bullying blowhard. The real Trump took to Twitter to blast the show back.
Baldwin, McCarthy and Kate McKinnon — who plays Hillary Clinton and Kellyanne Conway — all earned acting nominations.
Notably missing from the Best Variety Talk Series mix was ex-“SNL” star Jimmy Fallon. This was the first time “The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon” was omitted from the variety-talk category since the NBC show’s February 2014 launch.
Fallon has been accused of going soft on Trump, particularly in a September 2016 interview in which he ruffled the then-candidate’s hair.
In place of “Fallon” in the category are such politically minded late-night series as “Last Week Tonight,” “Full Frontal With Samantha Bee,” “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” and “Real Time With Bill Maher.”
Sidelined was “Late Night With Seth Meyers,” even though that show has offered some of the most scathing critiques of the White House. The show did earn a nomination for Outstanding Writing For A Variety Series.
“The Daily Show,” the Trevor Noah-hosted series that dominated the Emmys during the Jon Stewart years, did not receive any nominations this time around, but its supplemental content was nominated for short-form variety series.
Another sign that politics may have been on voters’ minds was the fact that outspoken Trump supporter Jon Voight, who landed a supporting-actor nod last year for Showtime’s “Ray Donovan,” was absent from the category this year.
Meanwhile, there’s no question that Netflix’s “House of Cards” and HBO’s “Veep” are perennial awards-season magnets. But the Emmys prominence of those shows, plus Hulu’s dystopian “Handmaid’s Tale,” signal that voters are looking for even more politics, rather than an escape from them.
Emmy voters seem to be in a fighting mood.