One year after being snubbed by the Television Academy, Stephen Colbert’s The Late Show has received six Emmy Award nominations –and the CBS host’s full-bore negative coverage of President Donald Trump, along with a steady stream of politically-charged monologues lambasting Republican lawmakers, may have played a significant role in the turnaround.
Colbert struggled to gain ratings successes early on after taking over hosting duties from David Letterman in September 2015. But the former Comedy Central host slowly gained an audience footing on par with his late-night competitors by hosting two weeks of live shows filmed from the Republican National Convention last July, and a now-infamous live Election Night episode that reunited him with former Daily Show host Jon Stewart.
The former Colbert Report host has also filled his monologues with topical anti-Trump jokes, some of which have sparked protests and outrage from viewers. Colbert made headlines in May for hurling a particularly vulgar slur at President Trump: “The only thing [Trump’s] mouth is good for is being Vladimir Putin’s c*ck holster.”
The homophobic slur drew outrage from fans, who made the hashtag #FireColbert a trending topic on Twitter.
The swipe also caught the attention of Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Ajit Pai, who revealed that the federal agency had received “a number of” complaints about Colbert’s profane pun. Ultimately, though, no fines were levied against CBS.
Colbert has also taken advantage of the media’s obsession with Russia, and it’s involvement in the presidential election. The host was on assignment in June and taped a week’s worth of episodes for his show in St. Petersburg, for what Late Show is promoting as “Russia Week.”
All the Trump-bashing has apparently benefitted the Late Show, which now, thanks to the Television Academy, has six Emmy nominations to show for it.
Colbert wasn’t the only staunch anti-Trump television personality to be honored with Emmy nods this year. Samantha Bee’s late-night TBS program, Full Frontal, also earned a nomination in the talk and variety series category this year. As the Hollywood Reporter noted, Colbert and Bee’s addition to the list has pushed decidedly non-political shows like Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show and Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee off of it.
Saturday Night Live Trump impersonator Alec Baldwin also scored a nomination, while the long-running NBC variety show tied with HBO’s Westworld for the most nominations overall for this year’s awards, with 22 each.