CREDIT: Rhys Thomas/IFC

The 2019 Emmy nominations will be announced on July 16, and as that annual occasion approaches, I typically put together my own list of which shows and performers I would like to see recognized. But I’ve had some mixed feelings about putting that together this year, as I’ve grappled with the fact that in the era of Peak TV, it becomes more and more impossible to capture all my favorites in one place. Ultimately I decided I wouldn’t be too formal or too precious about it. If there are ten shows I really want to see nominated, then I’ll list ten on my wish list. But if there are just two I really like in another category, then I’ll just list two.

I’ve already run through Comedy, Drama, and Limited Series, and you know what? I’ve also got some thoughts on Variety shows, as they are a steady part of my TV diet. For Variety Talk, I am delighted to say that my top choice is the revitalized CONAN, as Mr. O’Brien has rediscovered plenty of his mojo by slimming down a half-hour. And let’s not forget Norm MacDonald Has a Show, a brilliant bit of comedic chaos. As for Variety Sketch, Documentary Now! may just be my very favorite show of 2019

Nominees are listed in alphabetical order. My top choices are in bold.


Variety Talk Series
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
Norm MacDonald Has a Show

CREDIT: Allyson Riggs/IFC

Variety Sketch Series
Documentary Now!
Drunk History
The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale