Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series

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The Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series debuted in 1957, and has been annually awarded most years since 1964. It has had many slight name changes, mostly involving the addition or subtraction of the word comedy. Generally, the category has recognized the writers of variety and sketch comedy shows. However, in 1957, 1964, and 1979, it was the main category for writers of situation comedies, which have otherwise been recognized in a wholly separate category.

For most of the 1970s, the category was effectively split into two branches. From 1971 to 1978, one-off specials were awarded separately from ongoing series. Since then, the writers of one-off variety specials have competed against series writers, and have very occasionally won, as in 1991 and 2000. This has led to some anomalies, such as when a special edition of Late Night with David Letterman beat out regular editions of The Tracey Ullman Show and Saturday Night Live in 1987 — despite the fact that typical episodes of Late Night were not nominated that year.

The category eventually found greater stability with its name in 1982, when it settled on Outstanding Writing for a Variety or Music Program for almost two decades. In 2000, it added the word comedy, thus allowing for the current form of the name. Of all the writing Emmy categories, it has recently become the one most dominated by cable networks. Since 1996 it has been won by a major terrestrial broadcaster only twice, with the overwhelming majority of winners coming from HBO and Comedy Central.

List of winners[edit]

The following list of winners in this category is organized both by year and the name being used by the category in that year.

Best Comedy Writing – Variety or Situation Comedy[edit]

  • 1957: The Phil Silvers Show – Billy Friedberg, Nat Hiken, Coleman Jacoby, Arnold Rosen, Leonard B. Stern, and Tony Webster.
  • 1958 to 1963: No awards.

Outstanding Writing Achievement in Comedy or Variety[edit]

Outstanding Writing Achievement in Variety[edit]

  • 1966: An Evening with Carol Channing – Hal Goldman, Al Gordon, and Sheldon Keller.
  • 1967: The Sid Caesar, Imogene Coca, Carl Reiner, Howard Show – Mel Brooks, Sam Denoff, Bill Persky, Carl Reiner, and Mel Tolkin.

Outstanding Writing Achievement in Music or Variety[edit]

  • 1968: Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In – Chris Bearde, Phil Hahn, Jack Hanrahan, Coslough Johnson, Paul Keyes, Marc London, Allan Manings, David Panich, Hugh Wedlock, and Digby Wolfe.

Outstanding Writing Achievement in Comedy or Variety[edit]

  • 1969: The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour – Allan Blye, Bob Einstein, Carl Gottlieb, Cy Howard, Steve Martin, Jerry Music, Murray Roman, Cecil Tuck, Paul Wayne, and Mason Williams.
  • 1970: Annie, The Women in the Life of a Man – Gary Belkin, Peter Bellwood, Thomas Meehan, Herb Sargent, and Judith Viorst.

Outstanding Writing Achievement in Variety or Music[edit]

  • 1971: The Flip Wilson Show – Herbert Baker, Hal Goodman, Larry Klein, Bob Schiller, Norman Steinberg, Bob Weiskopf, and Flip Wilson.
  • 1972: The Carol Burnett Show – Art Baer, Roger Beatty, Stan Burns, Stan Hart, Don Hinkley, Ben Joelson, Woody Kling, Mike Marmer, Arnie Rosen, and Larry Siegel.
  • 1973: The Carol Burnett Show – Bill Angelos, Roger Beatty, Stan Hart, Robert Hilliard, Woody Kling, Arnie Kogen, Buz Kohan, Gail Parent, Tom Patchett, Larry Siegel, and Jay Tarses.

Outstanding Writing Achievement in Comedy, Variety, or Music Special[edit]

  • 1971: Singer Presents Burt Bacharach – Bob Ellison and Marty Farrell.
  • 1972: The Trial of Mary Lincoln – Anne Howard Bailey.
  • 1973: Acts of Love and Other Comedies – Joseph Bologna and Renee Taylor.

Outstanding Writing in Variety or Music[edit]

  • 1974: The Carol Burnett Show – Roger Beatty, Gary Belkin, Dick Clair, Rudy De Luca, Arnie Kogen, Barry Harman, Barry Levinson, Jenna McMahon, Gene Perret, Bill Richmond, and Ed Simmons.

Outstanding Writing in a Comedy – Variety or Music Series[edit]

Outstanding Writing in a Comedy, Variety, or Music Special[edit]

Outstanding Writing in a Comedy, Variety, or Music Series[edit]

Outstanding Writing in a Variety or Music Program[edit]

  • 1980: Shirley MacLaine..."Every Little Movement" – Buz Kohan.

Outstanding Writing in a Variety, Music, or Comedy Program[edit]

Outstanding Writing in a Variety or Music Program[edit]

Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music, or Comedy Series[edit]

Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series[edit]

References[edit]

General: