Emmys 2021: Could the Final Season of ‘Conan’ Beat out ‘Last Week Tonight With John Oliver’?

The 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards are tonight, and TV fans are abuzz with excitement. This year the winner of the Emmy Award for Outstanding Variety Talk Series might be different than anticipated. The competition in this category is fierce. Nominees include Jimmy Kimmel Live!, The Daily Show With Trevor Noah, Conan, Last Week Tonight With John Oliver, and The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.

Conan O'Brien talks and gestures with one hand. He is sitting in a chair and wearing a blue shirt, red tie, and black jacket.
Conan O’Brien | Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images

Overall, Last Week Tonight With John Oliver is expected to secure a victory. Trevor Noah is also considered a strong contender. However, nostalgia for Conan could create a surprising upset. Earlier this year, late-night talk show legend Conan O’Brien announced that Conan would end after 11 seasons. It’s possible that an outpouring of sentiment for the late-night TV host could turn the tides in his favor.

‘Last Week Tonight With John Oliver’ is predicted to win

It’s no secret that Last Week Tonight With John Oliver is expected to win the Emmy Award for Outstanding Variety Talk Series. The show has won this category every year since 2016. As time goes on, it has not decreased in quality. While other nominees enjoy widespread popularity, that doesn’t necessarily mean they will have a leg up against Oliver.

Last Week Tonight With John Oliver has a grand total of 52 Emmy Nominations, 21 Emmys wins, and one Honor over the years. That’s an impressive amount of prestige that can’t be ignored. Still, it’s possible that Oliver’s competitors could turn the tides.

‘Conan’ could cause an upset at the Emmy Awards

Earlier this year, O’Brien announced that his TBS show Conan would air its final episode. O’Brien’s career as a late-night talk show host lasted 28 years and spanned several different shows, NPR reports. For fans of O’Brien, it’s hard not to feel a wave of nostalgia and even sadness about the show’s end.

Variety proposes that perhaps this swell of nostalgia could turn the tides for Conan at the Emmys. Many fans grew up laughing along with O’Brien’s antics. In an interview with Deadline, Jimmy Kimmel even stated that since he doesn’t believe his show will win, he hopes the award goes to Conan.

“I think [an Emmy win is] certainly deserved,” Kimmel said of Conan. “I know the Emmys isn’t a lifetime achievement type situation, but I do think that Conan—not only was he really funny and very consistent, which is hard—he stuck to his guns.”

Over the years, O’Brien has been nominated for 28 Emmy Awards. Though his last win for the show Conan came in 2012, it’s possible that an outpouring of love for O’Brien could create an upset.

‘Conan’ comes to an end

On June 24, 2021, Conan aired its final episode. The finale was an hour-long special featuring Jack Black as a special guest. O’Brien took the time to give an extensive round of thank you’s to his coworkers and supporters at the end of the episode.

Luckily, fans of O’Brien don’t have to worry that he has left entertainment for good. O’Brien will continue his spinoff series Conan Without Borders and his weekly podcast Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend.

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