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Emmys: Who Should Win in Late-Night and Reality?

The 65th Emmy Awards are this Sunday and, to prepare, all this week Vulture will be examining the major — and a few minor — categories. Let's put aside trying to predict who will win and focus on the more important question: Who ought to win? Today, let's dig into the variety and reality categories. That's mostly late-night, really.

Outstanding Variety Series
The Colbert Report (Comedy Central)
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart (Comedy Central)
Jimmy Kimmel Live (ABC)
Late Night With Jimmy Fallon (NBC)
Real Time With Bill Maher (HBO)
Saturday Night Live (NBC)

The Daily Show has won this award each of the last ten years. But The Colbert Report, with its eighth consecutive nomination in the category, is way past its due here. Every bit as biting as TDS and led by Colbert — whose performance as a blowhard conservative pundit is always pitched at an 11 and whose interview skills have long outshone Stewart’s — this should really be a no-brainer. Plus, the show submitted an episode from last October which included a Days Without a GOP Rape Mention board. C’mon! What else does Colbert have to do to take home the Outstanding Variety Series statuette, voters?

Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series
The Colbert Report (Comedy Central)
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart (Comedy Central)
Jimmy Kimmel Live (ABC)
Portlandia (IFC)
Real Time With Bill Maher (HBO)
Saturday Night Live (NBC)

As much as we'd love to give it to Real Time's New Rules segment alone, The Colbert Report remains the funniest and most consistent news-skewering outfit. (The writers have taken the award twice; once in 2008 and again 2010.) Colbert's news is delivered with gusto, as opposed to the incredulous and/or mocking way the rest of the nominated shows report everything, and because of that, the writers really get to indulge. Recent highlights: Colbert had the adorable subway hobo kittens August and Arthur on the show so that New York mayoral candidate Joe Lhota could kill them, and he recently defended J.Lo and Kanye West for their decisions to entertain Asian dictators. “How could [Lopez] have known about Turkmenistan's appalling human rights record? Google?”

Outstanding Reality Competition Program
Dancing With the Stars
Project Runway
So You Think You Can Dance
The Amazing Race
The Voice
Top Chef

This is a completely baffling selection of reality contest shows — The Voice? What? — but we come to pick winners, not belittle nominees. The Amazing Race has won this category every year except one (when Top Chef scored an upset), but it's time for So You Think You Can Dance to get a little credit. That show is consistently interesting without being phony and emotional without being too schmaltzy. Plus, they really can dance!

Photo: Linsey Fields/2013 All Rights Reserved