People and shows get snubbed at the Emmys all the time. Every year there is chatter about who deserved this or what show should have been nominated for that; its inevitable. People have different opinions and its damn near impossible to satisfy everyone, but when a show that has consistently been nominated for over a decade fails to gain one, that is something else, that is something significant. For the first time since 2001, Comedy Central’s The Daily Show has failed to earn an Emmy nomination, and the reasons why might foretell an unfortunate future for the show.
When Jon Stewart left the daily show back in 2015, many mourned the loss of such an excellent satirical political pundit. When Stewart took over the show in 1999, following the departure of Craig Kilborn, he truly made the show his own, and through the work of him, his correspondents, and the shows writers, the show bloomed into the go to source for humor and news. By 2001 the show had earned the Emmy for outstanding writing in a variety, music, or comedy series, and from that point forward went on to win 18 Primetime Emmy Awards. Stewart’s departure meant that the winning formula he and his crew had developed would lose a key ingredient, and it was unknown whether they would be able to replicate it with a replacement.
When it was announced that young comedian Trevor Noah would be taking over hosting duties on The Daily Show many felt a bit of bewilderment at the odd choice. Not that Noah was a poor choice, but regular correspondents on the show seemed to be more obvious and perhaps better fitted for the position. John Oliver received very positive ratings during his brief stint as host in 2013 while Stewart was busy directing his drama Rosewater, and many felt that Oliver would be a fine predecessor and capable of carrying on the spirit of the show. Regardless, the decision had already been made, and fans would have to wait and see what Noah was capable of.
Apparently, what Noah was capable of was not as good as audiences and critics were used to. ratings for the show have dipped significantly and critics and fans have voiced complaints over the feel and style of the show. Some fans blame Noah, claiming he does not know how to handle hosting the show or does not have what it takes. Others have blamed the writing for the show, claiming that though the host has changed the writing remains as if it were meant for Stewart. The style Stewart developed was crafted specifically for him, and with Noah only echoing Stewart, he has not come to his full potential on The Daily Show. The lack of an Emmy nomination is a small but significant bump in the road for a show that is already experiencing a lot of turbulence. The fact that HBO’s Last Night Tonight With John Oliver earned an Emmy nomination also seems to indicate that, not only is John Oliver a more experienced and successful host, but also that The Daily Show may just be slowly spiraling to an end after its long reign on top.
Hopefully, Noah will be able to figure out how to proceed with the show and transform it from what it is currently into a show that caters to his style and expertise and appeals to audiences and critics, but that may be difficult to achieve, especially considering the legacy of the show. Come this time next year let us hope that Noah and The Daily Show find their stride, and that if they fail to gain an Emmy nomination its a snub and not a statement.