Awards HQ August 12 BONUS EDITION: Final Emmy Voting Has Started! Exclusive Host Chat with Kenan Thompson; Variety Talk Conundrum; More!

·19 min read

Greetings from Variety Awards Headquarters! Today is August 12, 2022, which means final round voting begins today, followed by 10 days until final round voting ends on August 22. Then comes the finales: It’s 22 days until the Creative Arts Emmys kicks off its two-night event on September 3; and then it’s 31 days until the 74th Emmy Awards takes place, live on NBC, September 12.

WE HAVE A HOST! WE HAVE A HOST! And it was the most obvious — and perfect — choice for NBC this year. If Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers weren’t going to host the Emmys (and trust me, neither talk show star had a DROP of interest in doing this gig again), why not turn to your other late night franchise — and this biggest of them all — “Saturday Night Live.” And if you’re going to mine SNL, then you gotta go with the GOAT. Kenan Thompson, beloved by multiple generations and a staple on NBC, is a great choice. I’m looking forward to seeing who shows up to play with Kenan that night — and given how many Emmy nominees are “SNL” alums who once worked with Thompson (I hope Jason Sudeikis is wearing a tracksuit under his tux, because there will very much need to be a “What’s Up With That” moment!), there will be a lot to play with.

Of course, voting is now underway — hence this bonus AWARDS HQ — and will continue until Monday, August 22, at 10 p.m. PT. Vote wisely and vote often! Wait, no. There shall be no voter fraud at the Emmys. But check out Variety’s Awards Circuit tab to get all your info on the shows and talent to watch, as well as Clayton Davis‘ predictions and more. And now… let’s get going!

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Reach Michael on Twitter @franklinavenue or email mschneider@variety.com

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Kenan Thompson: The Right Host for This Year’s Emmys, and Here’s What He Says to Expect (EXCLUSIVE)



Hosting an awards show these days is considered a pretty thankless job, with little upside — dwindling ratings, snarky social media posts and rigid formats that are tough to change. And yet, it’s still a bit of a bucket list item for many performers. Which is why I totally get it that Kenan Thompson would say yes to this year’s Emmys. (And I find it doubly admirable that he agreed to do it, even after TV Academy voters snubbed him this year and NBC canceled his primetime sitcom!)

“They asked, and it’s an honor,” Thompson told me on a sweltering August afternoon in Hollywood, where he was receiving his star on the Walk of Fame. “It’s a giant career milestone to host an Emmys, an Oscars, a Tonys, whatever. So you get that phone call, you should take it!”

His NBC colleague Seth Meyers, who hosted in 2014, had no interest in doing it again (nor did Jimmy Fallon, who hosted in 2010). “SNL Weekend Update” anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che did it in 2018, so it would only make sense that NBC would go to the “SNL” GOAT, Thompson, to take the reins this time around.

“Everyone’s got to do it once, and it’s his turn, he’s earned it,” Meyers says. “The good news is Kenan, like I was, is lucky enough to be connected to a talented group of writers. The ‘SNL’ writing staff I’m sure it’s going to show up for Kenan because he has been showing up for them and their sketches, getting laughs on looks and line reads for two decades.”

Read more about what Thompson, Meyers and NBCU’s Jen Neal say about the choice here.

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AWARDS CIRCUIT COLUMN: As More Late Night Shows Disappear, TV Academy Will Have to Figure Out Its Variety Series Conundrum Soon

As the number of major late-night shows continue to shrink, so does the Television Academy’s window to figure out how to handle the variety talk and variety sketch categories. After the org faced massive blowback in 2020 when it attempted to re-merge talk and sketch (reversing that plan after producers cried foul), it has resisted making any more changes. But given the monumental shift going on in the genre, the Academy will have no choice but map out new rules for 2023.

The recent, tremendously disappointing news that “Desus & Mero” and “Full Frontal With Samantha Bee” — two of the few late-night shows not hosted by middle-aged white dudes — have officially ended, further shrinks next year’s Emmy submission pool. Technically, “Full Frontal” can compete for next year’s trophies due to the fact four episodes aired in June, but the odds are probably not in her favor: “Conan” did not receive voter recognition for his final month of episodes airing during a similar period a year ago.

Add the impending departure of “The Late Late Show With James Corden” next spring, and it’s clear this is a category in transition. Only 19 shows were submitted for variety talk this year, and the TV Academy rounded that tally up to 20, in order to at least maintain five nominees in the category. But it can’t keep doing that if the number continues to dip.

Variety sketch is even more paltry: just eight submissions this year, leaving it to only two nominees once again — “Saturday Night Live” and “A Black Lady Sketch Show.”

Part of the problem is figuring out how to categorize such different shows for an apples-to-apples comparison. Maybe that’s not possible; there aren’t many shows to begin with, and each is so different. Topic-based shows like “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver” compete against variety-focused talkers (“The Late Late Show With James Corden”), talk shows with a heavy dose of politics (“The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” “The Daily Show With Trevor Noah” and “Late Night With Seth Meyers”) and shows with a bit of everything (“Jimmy Kimmel Live!”).

And what about shows that don’t feature hosts sitting at a desk, but still interviewing people or doing a lot of the same things that the other late-night stars are doing?

Read more here.

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WATCH: Henry Winkler, Paul W. Downs and More Comedy Stars and Creators Talk Empathic Storytelling

“Barry” star Henry Winkler was joined by Paul W. Downs from “Hacks,” John Hoffman from “Only Murders in the Building,” Daniel Palladino and Amy Sherman-Palladino from “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” Brendan Hunt from “Ted Lasso” and Paul Simms from “What We Do in the Shadows” for a conversation with TV editor Michael Schneider for the Variety Virtual TV Fest: The Nominees.

Together, the creators, producers, stars and showrunners took a deep dive into their Emmy-nominated seasons of remarkable television. “Hacks” co-creator Downs believes that the real soul of his acclaimed comedy lies in its hilarious protagonist duo. Click above to watch, or go here.

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‘Legendary,’ ‘Arcane’ and ‘We’re Here’ Among Juried Emmy Winners

Jazz Tangcay writes:

Although the Creative Arts Emmys aren’t set to be handed out until Sept. 3 and Sept. 4, the Television Academy has already named “Legendary” and “We’re Here” among its winners in the juried categories.

Netflix’s “Arcane” led the way with three wins for individual achievement in animation. Winners in costume, interactive programming and motion design were also handed out.

The winners are screened by a panel of professionals in the appropriate peer groups and chosen via a one-step evaluation and voting procedure. Deliberations include open discussions of each entrant’s work with a thorough review of the merits of awarding the Emmy.

Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation

“Arcane” (The Boy Savior)
Netflix
A Riot Entertainment and Fortiche Production for Netflix
Anne-Laure To – Color Script Artist

“Arcane” (Happy Progress Day!)
Netflix
A Riot Entertainment and Fortiche Production for Netflix
Julien Georgel – Art Direction

“Arcane” (When These Walls Come Tumbling Down)
Netflix
A Riot Entertainment and Fortiche Production for Netflix
Bruno Couchinho – Background Designer

“The Boys Presents: Diabolical” (“Boyd In 3D”)
Prime Video, Amazon Studios, Sony Pictures
Television Studios, Titmouse, Kripke Enterprises, Original Film, and Point Grey Pictures
Lexy Naut – Storyboard Artist

“The House”
Netflix
Nexus Studios for Netflix
Kecy Salangad – Animator

“Love, Death + Robots”
Jibaro, Netflix, Blur Studio for Netflix
Alberto Mielgo – Character Designer

More from Variety

Outstanding Costumes for Variety, Nonfiction or Reality Programming

“We’re Here” (Evansville, Indiana)
HBO/HBO Max. HBO in association with House of Opus 20 and IPC
Casey Caldwell – Costume Designer
Diego Montoya – Costume Designer
Joshua “Domino” Schwartz – Costume Designer
Marco Marco – Costume Designer
Patryq Howell – Costume Designer

Outstanding Hairstyling for a Variety, Nonfiction or Reality Program

“Annie Live!”
NBC,  Chloe Productions, The Green Room, Zadan/Meron Productions, Sony Pictures Television
Mia Neal –  Department Head Hairstylist
Leah Loukas –  Assistant Department Head Hairstylist

Outstanding Makeup for a Variety, Nonfiction or Reality Program

“Legendary” (Whorror House)
HBO/HBO Max, HBO Max in association with Scout Productions
Tonia Green –  Department Head Makeup Artist
Tyson Fountaine – Key Makeup Artist
Sean Conklin-  Makeup Artist
Marcel Banks-  Makeup Artist
Jennifer Fregozo – Makeup Artist
Silvia Leczel – Makeup Artist
Glen Alen-  Makeup Artist

“We’re Here” (Kona, Hawaii)
HBO/HBO Max, HBO in association with House of Opus 20 and IPC
Jeremy Damion Austin – Makeup Artist
Martin De Luna Jr. – Makeup Artist
Tyler Devlin –  Makeup Artist

Outstanding Motion Design

“Home Before Dark”
Apple TV+ • Paramount Television Studios in association with Apple
Jon Berkowitz – Creative Director
Brad Colwell –  Creative Director
Kimberly Tang – Associate Creative Director
Nolan Borkenhagen – Art Director

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ON THE CIRCUIT: ‘Abbott Elementary’ at the Americana, Seth Meyers Career Retrospective and More

ABC’s “Abbott Elementary” visited The Americana at Brand in Glendale this week to pass out custom popsicles, as well as feature live professional step team performances from Stroll Groove. Customers also had the opportunity to support real teachers via curated wish lists through DonorsChoose.



On August 10, VH1 unveiled a “RuPaul’s Drag Race” themed mural by Richard Henderson. Season 14 contestants Lady Camden, Bosco, Kerri Colby, June Jambalaya, Jasmine Kennedie and DeJa Skye were all there at Carrera Cafe (8251 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046). Throughout August, Carrera Cafe will have special RuPaul’s Drag Race coffee topper promotions along with limited edition coffee cup sleeves as part of the partnership.

For each post with the hashtag #DragRaceFYCMural and tag @RuPaulsDragRace and @lalgbtcenter, Vh3 will make a donation to the Los Angeles LGBT Center. Following the mural unveiling, the Season 14 queens volunteered at the Los Angeles LGBT Center in Hollywood. (Photo by Sarah Morris/Getty Images for Vh3)



The SAG-AFTRA Foundation held a career retrospective conversation with Seth Meyers, moderated by Jenelle Riley on Tuesday, August 9.



Jeni’s ice cream sent out a “Ted Lasso” themed flavor, “Biscuits with the Boss,” and it’s as delicious as you’d expect. Specifically, it’s “crumbly shortbread cookies in a buttery sweet cream. Salty, mouthwatering, conversation-worthy.” Yes, the description concludes, “ice cream is life.” That, I must agree.

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From TV Academy Interns to Emmy Nominees

Trivia time! According to the TV Academy, four 2022 Emmy Nominees actually started out as Television Academy Foundation interns. The Internship Program has launched careers in television since its inception in 1980. Below is list of Emmy nominees who started as interns:

Ann Jimkes is nominated for Outstanding Sound Mixing For A Comedy Or Drama Series (One Hour) for “Euphoria.” She was a 2014 Television Academy Foundation ‘sound’ intern.

Lindsay Pepper is nominated for Outstanding Sound Editing For A Comedy Or Drama Series (Half-Hour) for “Love, Death + Robots.” She was a 2012 Television Academy Foundation ‘movies for television’ intern.

Matthew Faughnan is nominated for Outstanding Animated Program for “The Simpsons.” He was a 1997 Television Academy Foundation ‘animation’ intern.

Eric Kripke is nominated for Outstanding Short Form Animated Program for “The Boys Presents: Diabolical.” He was a 1996 Television Academy Foundation ‘single camera directing’ intern.

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VARIETY EMMY COVER: Making Misty a Murderer: Christina Ricci Was Told Not to Do TV, Then She Found the Perfectly Flawed Character

The Variety Emmy special editions are back for Phase 2, edited by Emily Longeretta! This edition focuses on best drama. She writes:

When Christina Ricci read the “Yellowjackets” script for the first time, she was fascinated by one specific quality of Misty Quigley: Her pettiness.

At the start, she wasn’t told much about the character’s arc in the Showtime survival drama. She didn’t know that as a girl Misty was so desperate to be needed by her peers so after a plane crash, she chose to destroy the black box, which meant the girls were deserted for months. Ricci didn’t know that, as an adult, Misty would keep a reporter prisoner in her basement and eventually, poison her with her own cigarette.

All she knew was that Misty’s job was a hospice nurse and that she used that power to abuse the elderly — a concept that captivated Ricci.

“To play a whole human being and get to explore a person that’s capable of that, for me, was really interesting,” she says, adding that the character has sociopathic characteristics. “There is probably a clinical diagnosis for her, but I’m just not educated enough to make it.”

For Ricci, it wasn’t about relating to Misty; in fact, that’s not necessarily important when she takes on a role.

“I don’t believe that you need to relate to a person to find it interesting. I don’t believe that today’s audience needs to relate to the story and to be fascinated by the story,” she says. “As women we’ve had to relate to men, these male stories about maleness that I haven’t related to but somehow, I was able to figure it out.”

Go here for more.

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Game Shows Shift to Primetime Emmys as the Two TV Academies Continue Their Awards Realignment

Game shows are heading to the Primetime Emmys. As part of the ongoing Emmy realignment between the Television Academy (the West Coast org formerly known as the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences) and the New York-based National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, the two sides will migrate game show categories from the Daytime Emmys to the Primetime Emmys beginning next year.

The decision comes as, previously announced, the two orgs have agreed to award many programming categories by genre instead of daypart. Game shows remained a sticking point in such an arrangement.

Moving forward, the new Primetime Emmy category for outstanding game show “will be awarded to programs with game elements that primarily take place in studio and involve mental challenges,” the orgs said in an announcement on Thursday. “They must be self-contained or carryover (winner continues to next episode) and cannot be arced.”

According to the announcement, game shows migrating to the Primetime Emmys will have an 18-month eligibility window, Jan. 1, 2022 to May 31, 2023.

As part of the move, the Primetime Emmys will also add a category for outstanding host for a game show, “awarded to the “master of ceremony” host(s) for a continuing performance in a game show.” This year, in their final appearance in the Daytime Emmys, “Jeopardy” continued its streak as the best game show winner, while Steve Harvey (“Family Feud”) won for game show host.

The Primetime Emmys already have an “outstanding competition program” field (which awards programs with reality-style, skill-based competitions). In order to avoid confusion, the category for the latter will return to its original name of “outstanding reality competition program.” Also, game shows and reality competition programs with solely children as contestants must enter in the Children’s & Family Emmy Awards.

The decision to realign the major Emmy awards came last year, with several categories realigned to focus on genre, rather than dayparts, as a way to divide eligibility between the Primetime and Daytime Emmys.

Click here for more details.

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Colman Domingo, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Samantha Hanratty Among 2022 Television Humanitarian Awards Honorees

BreAnna Bell writes:

The Creative Coalition has announced its crop of high profile honorees for this year’s eighth annual Television Humanitarian Awards Gala.

The list includes James Cromwell (“Succession”), Colman Domingo (“Euphoria”), Sheryl Lee Ralph (“Abbott Elementary”); and Samantha Hanratty (“Yellowjackets”), along with Melissa Rauch (“The Big Bang Theory”) and Paul Scheer (“Black Monday”).

The Television Humanitarian Awards Gala, which takes place during Emmy week, highlights prominent figures in the television industry, as well as 2022 Emmy Award nominees who use the power of their celebrity for social good.

“Grey’s Anatomy” and co-executive producer and writer Jamie Denbo have also been named the recipient of the Your Voice Carries Weight Award – which honors a television leader for their advocacy work in obesity awareness – for the episode, “Living in a House Divided.”

Variety’s Marc Malkin will host this year’s ceremony, which is scheduled to be held on Sunday, September 11, 2022 in Los Angeles.

Read more here.

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AWARDS CIRCUIT PODCAST: Steve Martin on How the Fear of Being Washed Up Inspired His ‘Only Murders in the Building’ Character



On “Only Murders in the Building,” Steve Martin plays Charles-Haden Savage, the former star of popular crime drama “Brazzos.” The inspiration for playing a washed-up TV star, Martin tells Variety’s Awards Circuit podcast, “comes from worry. I think about actors who’ve had these hits, they’re on TV for eight years. And then they don’t really work that much again, because they’re maybe too identified with the part. And I’ve always been curious about that life.”

Martin remembers, in particular, an actor he spotted at an HBO Comedy Festival party. The man, who had starred in a hit show, hadn’t worked in about ten years. But Martin, standing about 20 feet away, got curious as he saw the actor speaking, very animated, to a ski instructor.

“So I go over and I say, ‘I’ve got to ask you, what are you talking about?’ And the actor turned to me, he said, ‘These scripts today!” he laughs.

On this episode of the Variety Awards Circuit Podcast, we talk to “Only Murders in the Building” co-stars Martin and John Hoffman about the success of the Hulu series, which is nominated for 17 Emmys this year — including outstanding comedy series and outstanding comedy writing. Listen below!



Variety’s “Awards Circuit” podcast, produced by Michael Schneider, is your one-stop listen for lively conversations about the best in film and television. Each week “Awards Circuit” features interviews with top film and TV talent and creatives; discussions and debates about awards races and industry headlines; and much, much more. Subscribe via Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify or anywhere you download podcasts. New episodes post every Thursday and Friday.

Read more here.

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Larry Wilmore to Host the 46th Annual Humanitas Prizes (EXCLUSIVE)



Comedian, writer and actor Larry Wilmore has been tapped to host the 46th Annual Humanitas Prizes, which return as an in-person event on September 9, 2022 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

Wilmore is a previous Humanitas winner, having served as creator, writer and exec producer of “The Bernie Mac Show,” which won two of the prizes (along with an Emmy and a Peabody over five seasons). Next up he’s the exec producer, along with Kerry Washington, of the legal drama “Reasonable Doubt,” which comes from Onyx Collective and will air on Hulu this fall.

Also at this year’s Humanitas Prizes, Nkechi Okoro Carroll will lead the New Voices Fellowship and College Screenwriting Award presentations.

This year’s Humanitas nominees include “Maid,” “This Is Us,” “Queen Sugar,” “Pachinko,” “Abbott Elementary,” “Somebody Somewhere” and “Black-ish.” The Humanitas Prizes recognize “television and film writers whose work explores the human condition in a nuanced way.” The award is given out in nine categories, including comedy, drama and limited series. Go here for a full list of this year’s nominees.

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Clayton Davis’ Emmy Winner Predictions: Lead Actress in a Comedy Series – Could Quinta Brunson Unseat Jean Smart as the New Emmy Darling?

 Clayton Davis is putting up his early Emmy predictions. This time out, he tackles comedy actress:

As the creator, EP, writer and star of ABC’s comedy, Quinta Brunson has become the newest Hollywood success tale. As the first Black woman to be nominated for comedy series, lead actress and writing in the same year, she’ll likely walk away with something. Trying to topple Jean Smart’s front-runner status won’t be easy, but if the show is making a run for the biggest category, every possibility is on the table.

Issa Rae continues to tack on multiple Emmy nominations yearly, shown by three in 2020 and two in 2021. So with two again — as an executive producer on “A Black Lady Sketch Show” for variety sketch and her role in the final season of “Insecure” — could voters finally reward this eight-time nominee who has yet to take home a trophy?

You had us at “Hacks.” Since winning her fourth statuette for her role in the HBO Max dramedy, many pundits have assumed we should prepare for a Jean Smart Emmy run that will mimic Julia Louis Dreyfus’ historic streak with “Veep” — meaning she would win until the show was off the air. With the series overperforming with the TV Academy and with four previous wins, until proven otherwise, print the nameplate now to save time.

Five nominations later and a win for the first season of the Amazon Prime Video comedy, Rachel Brosnahan has proven to be an Emmy darling. Miriam “Midge” Maisel has been a critical favorite from the very start. As the penultimate season eyes love during phase two, nostalgia may kick in, leading to a win this year or for the final season. Her chances may be better next time around.

The talented Elle Fanning was a double treat this year, executive producing and starring in “The Girl From Plainville,” which helped push her into this lineup. Her work as Catherine the Great sliding in indicates the show’s support, especially with Nicholas Hoult also getting a nom. However, without a series nom and the likes of Jean Smart dominating, she’ll need to wait before getting up to the stage. We presume this is the first of many.

The executive producer and star of HBO Max’s adaptation of the best-selling novel, Kaley Cuoco had an impressive showing at the 2021 Emmys with two noms. While the sophomore season certainly foundered, at least in the awards buzz department, the former “Big Bang Theory” star was one of two returning women to the lineup. Her nom is likely her award, especially since many feel she elbowed Selena Gomez out of the race.


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Send Me Your Questions, Comments and More!

Feel free to send your burning Emmy questions and suggestions to mschneider@variety.com, and your hot tips as well!  Thanks for reading.

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