Are the Emmy Awards moralizing against David Letterman?
The Primetime Emmy nominees were announced this morning in Hollywood, and there is much joy that the nominators gave a tip of the hat to Conan O’Brien. NBC will be hosting the Emmys this year, with Jimmy Fallon hosting the show on August 29, and in calling out Conan but not Jay Leno, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences was sending a clear message to the peacock that it treated a journeyman in TV comedy writing poorly. The Academy did some good for itself by lining up with Team Coco.
But as the AP notes, David Letterman was left out of contention:
David Letterman’s “Late Show” also was missing from the nominees, after a season in which the host turned an admission of affairs with female staffers and a blackmail attempt into high broadcast drama.
Movieline’s Christopher Rosen calls this one of the most stunning snubs of the awards, and I have to agree. If anything, Letterman’s graceful confessional to pre-empt news reports on the extortion attempt he faced by 48 Hours producer Joe Halderman was a reminder of what a vital force he’s been in American comedy for decades.
In leaving him out, the Emmys might have been clearing some space for other performers – perhaps they wanted to give a little something to the ever-underwhelming Real Time With Bill Maher. But one can’t escape the feeling that they’re signaling to Dave that by carrying on sexual relationships with some of his staffers, he did wrong. If at any moment any of the women on Dave’s staff had cried ’sexual harassment’, such a message might be appropriate. But that didn’t occur. And so the Emmys spurning of Letterman this year must put something of an asterisk on the awards, even if he weren’t the performer most deserving in the category of best “Variety, Music or Comedy Series.”