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Emmys Category Changes Will Put John Oliver Up Against Saturday Night Live

The Last Week Tonight host may have to say goodbye to his seven-year winning streak.
  • John Oliver. (Photo: Everett Collection)
    John Oliver. (Photo: Everett Collection)

    An Emmys shakeup will see John Oliver go up against Saturday Night Live next year. 

    The 75th Annual Emmy Awards will replace the Variety Talk and Variety Sketch Series categories with Talk Series and Scripted Variety Series. The definitions for the two new categories will force Last Week Tonight  to compete in the Scripted Variety series, facing sketch programs like Saturday Night Live.

    Last Week Tonight with John Oliver has taken home the Emmy Award for Variety Talk the past seven years, while Saturday Night Live has won the Variety Sketch Series award the past six. 

    The definition of the two new categories are as follows: 

    "Outstanding Talk Series: Programs where a significant portion of the running time consists of unscripted interviews or panel discussions between a host/hosts and guest celebrities or personalities. A Talk Series can include scripted elements and other aspects of a variety series such as monologues, musical performances, etc., so long as the main intent of the program is interviews/discussions."

    "Outstanding Scripted Variety Series: Programs that are primarily scripted or feature loosely scripted improv and consist of discrete scenes, musical numbers, monologues, comedy stand-ups, sketches, etc. Scripted Variety Series may occasionally feature unscripted elements, but the main intent of the series is scripted or performed entertainment."

    The last two years, there have only been two nominees in the Variety Sketch category — SNL and A Black Lady Sketch Show and the number of late-night shows have diminished significantly, factors that likely contributed to the Television Academy's choice to shake up these categories. 

    Jade Budowski is a freelance writer with a knack for ruining punchlines and harboring dad-aged celebrity crushes. She was previously a reporter/producer at Decider and is a member of the Television Critics Association. Follow her on Twitter: @jadebudowski.

    TOPICS: Emmys, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Saturday Night Live, John Oliver