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Schmigadoon vs. SNL vs. John Oliver? Emmys’ New Scripted Variety Series Category Will Be Quite the Catch-All!

Emmys Scripted Variety Series SNL Schmigadoon
Emmys Scripted Variety Series SNL Schmigadoon
Courtesy of Apple TV+ ('Schmigadoon') and NBC ('SNL')

A rejiggered Emmy Awards category is shaping up to be quite the hodgepodge of contenders, now that Schmigadoon!, Apple TV+’s musical-comedy, reportedly will face off against Saturday Night Live, NBC’s long-running sketch comedy series — and maybe also that sassy John Oliver.

First, some background: For six years in a row, NBC’s SNL took home the prize for Outstanding Variety Sketch Series. But for the past two years, that Variety Sketch Series race fielded only two contenders: SNL and HBO’s A Black Lady Sketch Show. (And in 2020, there were just three nominees, adding in Comedy Central’s Drunk History.)

Enter the Scripted Variety Series category, new for 2023.

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Emmys Nix Schmigadoon! Category Change for Season 2

Per the Emmy rule changes — which were in part conceived to make SNL face more challengers — a Scripted Variety Series is defined as “a variety program that is primarily scripted, or loosely-scripted improv, and consisting of discrete scenes, satire, musical numbers, monologues, comedy stand-ups, sketches, etc. Scripted Variety Series may occasionally feature unscripted elements, but the main intent of the series is scripted or performed entertainment.”

As defined above, the category now invites HBO’s Last Week Tonight With John Oliver into the tent alongside the likes of SNL and A Black Lady Sketch Show (which is now airing Season 4).

And now, as reported by, Apple TV+ has decided to remove Schmigadoon! from the Outstanding Comedy Series race (where Season 1 competed) and instead have Season 2 vie for Scripted Variety Series, and its related technical categories. (The Schmigadoon! cast, however, will still compete in Comedy categories.)

Schmigadoon! Season 1 racked up four total Emmy nominations (including for production design, musical composition and choreogarphy), and won for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics (for Cinco Paul’s “Corn Puddin,” which you now have stuck in your head again. #IYKYK).

Do you think Schmigadoon! (and Last Week Tonight, for that matter) belong in the same category as SNL

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