NU alumni, faculty nominated and win Emmy Award


Illustration by Meher Yeda

This Emmy Award season, 12 Northwestern alumni and faculty received nominations.

Laya Neelakandan, Arts & Entertainment Editor

This Emmy Award season, Wildcats dominated the nominee list with 12 Northwestern affiliates in the industry, ranging from alumni and faculty to writers and actors. Three alumni scored wins Sunday night, and all twelve make the spotlight shine brighter on NU.

Here are the winners and nominees, ranging across categories and genres but having one characteristic in common: purple pride.

Stephen Colbert’s Election Night 2020: Democracy’s Last Stand: Building Back America Great Again Better 2020 — Outstanding Variety Special (Live) 2021 Winner

“My blood pressure is in normal range… for a truck tire,” Stephen Colbert said in his election night special. 

We hope he’s doing better now. Colbert (Communication ’86) received multiple nominations as host of his various late night programs, but his election night special won in the Outstanding Variety Special (Live) category.

The special, which aired on Nov. 3, 2020, featured Colbert live-reacting to election results as they rolled in. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, Colbert explained in his speech that everyone did the show from their Zoom rooms.

The award acceptance was not without some noise. When Colbert won the award, veteran late-night TV host Conan O’Brien crashed the stage, and the moment went viral. 

A Black Lady Sketch Show — Outstanding Picture Editing For Variety Programming 2021 Winner

“A Black Lady Sketch Show” made history Sunday as the first all-women of color team nominated in the editing category and to win the award — the show’s first-ever Emmy. The show is created and produced by Robin Thede (Medill ’01) and written by Ashley Nicole Black (Communication M.S. ’08). The winning episode was Season Two Episode Three, “Sister, May I Call You Oshun?”

“A Black Lady Sketch Show” features five to six sketches each episode, covering socially relevant topics ranging from dating and relationships to religion. The show was recently picked up for a third season on HBO Max.

The Flight Attendant — Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music 2021 Winner

“The Flight Attendant” took to the skies and soared home with an Emmy on Sunday night. Greg Berlanti (Communication ’94) is the show’s executive producer, pulling the strings behind the comedy mystery thriller on HBO Max. The show was nominated for nine Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Comedy Series, and won in the Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music category.

Berlanti’s own production company, Berlanti Productions, produced “The Flight Attendant.” Blake Neely composed the show, receiving the award for his music compositions. 


Black as a writer for “A Black Lady Sketch Show” and “The Amber Ruffin Show,” for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series.

Zach Braff (Communication ’97) as director for the “Ted Lasso” episode “Biscuits” for Outstanding Director for a Comedy Series.

Kathryn Hahn (Communication ’95) as an actress on “WandaVision” for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie.

Jenny Hagel (Communication MFA ’09) as a writer on “The Amber Ruffin Show” for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series.

Patrick Hogan (Communication ’92) as the Sound Supervisor on the Karate Kid sequel “Cobra Kai” for Best Sound Editing in a Half Hour Comedy or Drama.

Seth Meyers (Communication ’96) as the host of “Late Night with Seth Meyers: CORRECTIONS” for Outstanding Short Form Comedy.

Brendan Scannell (Communication ’13) as an actor on “Bonding” for Outstanding Actor in a Short Form Comedy or Drama Series.

Amanda Krieg Thomas (Communication ’07) as a music supervisor on “Halston” for Outstanding Music Supervision.

Radio, Television, Film Prof. Marco Williams as a writer on “Tulsa Burning: The 1921 Race Massacre” for Outstanding Writing for a Nonfiction Program.

Email: [email protected] 

Twitter: @laya_neel

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