Last Week with John Oliver will be battling it out with Saturday Night Live for an Emmy after the Television Academy merged two key awards categories as part of a range of changes.
The Academy has remerged the Variety Talk and Variety Sketch Series categories into one category: Outstanding Variety Series starting in 2021.
This was previously the case up until 2015 when they were split. The Academy didn’t give any reason for the changes. Categories for individual achievements in Variety Series will continue to include both Variety Talk and Variety Sketch Series.
The move comes after changes to the number of shows nominated impacted the categories. This year, SNL, which won, was up against only A Black Lady Sketch Show and Drunk History. In talk, the category was down one nomination from six to five.
It will likely upset those behind late-night teams, which will again this year likely see a drop in the number of nominations as SNL was a regular fixture in the category before 2015. However, Lorne Michaels’ show will unlikely be elated as it also regularly lost out to the likes of The Colbert Report and The Daily Show in the ten years prior to that.
Elsewhere, anthology series will be moved alongside limited series in a new Outstanding Limited or Anthology Series category. The Academy said this would “align storytelling formats throughout the competition”. Previously, an anthology series could enter the competition in either the Comedy or Drama Series categories or entrants could break up the series into individually entered, stand-alone movies.
It has also introduced a new category – Outstanding Stunt Performance by an Individual or Team in a Drama, Comedy, Limited Series or Movie. The award will recognize stunt performers themselves, there having previously only been stunt coordination categories.