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Hey, what does Emmy have against that nice guy Jay Leno?

July 21, 2008 | 10:23 am

Good thing that Jay Leno has a sense of humor. While the "Tonight Show" host may be the king of the late-night ratings, when it comes to the Emmy Awards he is more like Rodney Dangerfield — he gets no respect. Since taking over the franchise in 1992, Leno's version of the talk-show staple has won the Emmy for best variety comedy or music series once — way back in 1995. The last of its nine nominations in that category came in 2003.


Just why is that? The middle-of-the-road-approach to humor that Jay Leno takes probably isn't cool enough for Emmy voters who prefer the edgier chicanery of David Letterman (his "Late Show" won five Emmys in a row beginning in 1998) and more recently Jon Stewart (his version of "The Daily Show" has won the last five races).

Leno has lost the individual performance category twice — in 1998 to Billy Crystal for hosting the Academy Awards and in 2005 to Hugh Jackman for hosting the Tony Awards. Letterman was also in that 1998 race. He has lost the hosting Emmy three more times — 2001, 2006 and 2007 — but returns as a nominee this year.

Letterman won four consecutive Emmys as part of the writing team on "Late Night" beginning in 1984 and has been a perennial writing nominee for "Late Show," including this year. Leno, who has never been nominated for writing, will have to be content with contending this year for outstanding special class — short-format nonfiction program for "Jay Leno's Garage." His competition for this Emmy Award for Web programming? Try "Deadliest Catch: The Real Dutch" and "Great Moments from the Campaign Trail."

That's a great category for "Tonight Show" talent, by the way. Way back in the 1960s and 1970s, Leno's predecessor, Johnny Carson, grew weary of his show losing the award for best variety show over and over to "The Andy Williams Show" and "The Carol Burnett Show," so he placed "The Tonight Show" in the special class category and won! When he left the airwaves in 1992, his "Tonight Show" won best variety series but otherwise it had a tragic, tarnished history with TV's Golden Girl.


The comments to this entry are closed.


Jay Leno can not and will not ever get a Emmy for talk show host. In order to be a talk show host you need to be a good host and interviewer.

Jay may be a nice guy but he is the anti- Johnny. Johnny set things up to make his guest look good, Jay sets the guest up for a lame punch line.

Jay Leno is the funniest of all his competitors. I have no idea why jay in not nominated, probably because he will win everything.

Wow...where do you people get off being so pretentious? The Emmys and the Oscars are all about politics and if they don't like someone, they'll snub them no matter how talented they are. You go ahead and be wannabees in their snooty club, but it won't stop me or the majority of Americans (yes, plenty of educated ones included) from watching Jay's last season. And FYI, Jay's been great this season, and as his job entails it, he covers everything and anything that controversial in today's pop culture, from politics to obesity to celebrities with DUIs and yes, even homosexuality. It doesn't mean he's anti-democrat, anti-republican, prejudiced towards fat people or homophobic. It means he's doing his job. Stop being so sensitive.

i agree with all of the above. leno doesn't win emmys because he's a hack. ratings have never correlated with quality. this is one of the rare times when the academy sees that clearly.

Jay Leno looks like he's a nice guy but, after so many years of gay jokes and all the incessant Brokeback Gay Cowboy jokes, I feel like telling him: "Get over it, Jay, it's NOT funny. Cut it out! Grow up and move on!"
Anyway, I moved on. I never watch him anymore.

The main problem is Jay himself and his locked down do not deviate from the script way of hosting. The show has no life, it's like a machine. Maybe NBC wants the tonight show to be a machine but it's really dull and so much of the humor is stale!

I'll tell you why Jay Leno gets snubbed: He's not funny. At all. And his show is terrible.

Alas, Jay Leno is no Johnny Carson. Wearing his homophobia lightly on his sleeve, Leno exudes all the style, class and foibles of Beleaguered White Suburban Dad, offering up jokes about gay cowboys and expressing sympathy for straight actors who play gay characters. Maybe that's why Leno isn't winning any Emmys?



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