Ironically, the biggest TV star of the year isn't seated in the Emmys audience. As much as we're living in the Golden Age of Television, Donald Trump has dominated screens more than Game of Thrones ever could — or at least so thinks Emmys host Stephen Colbert.
Stephen Colbert thinks all of this — and by this we mean the current news cycle — could've been avoided by a single gold statue. During his politically-fueled opening bit, Colbert recalled that Donald Trump had been nominated twice for his reality TV show, The Apprentice, but never garnered a win.
Trump's still salty about it.
The Apprentice was nominated for a total of eight Emmys between the years 2004 and 2009. Trump craved the win so badly that, in 2006, he agreed to preform the theme song to Green Acres wearing overalls and carrying a pitchfork, alongside Megan Mullaly.
But win, Trump didn't. And forget, Trump didn't. After losing to The Amazing Race for Outstanding Reality-Competition Program category two years in a row, Trump, in line with his character, decided the entire awards were rigged.
In a 2015 episode of Celebrity Apprentice, Trump spoke candidly of that fateful evening exactly a decade prior. “I got screwed out of an Emmy. Everybody thought I was gonna win it. In fact, when they announced the winner, I stood up before the winner was announced. And I started walking for the Emmy. And then they announced the most boring show on television, The Amazing Race. Piece of crap."
For years, Trump publicly denounced the Emmys. In 2010, he lamented to The Hollywood Reporter, "They’ve lost credibility...Instead of shows that deserve to win, they pick Amazing Race. It’s a very sad commentary.”
With Twitter, Trump finally had the platform with which he could fuel his Emmy-hating vitriol on the evening of the awards.
A year later, Trump took to Twitter and denounced the 2013 Emmys as well.
And again in 2014, this time with a jab at the Oscars.
As of 2016, Trump still cradles the loss. His hurt over never winning an Emmy is so raw that, when Hillary Clinton brought it up during a presidential debate, Trump became defensive.
During their final presidential debate in Las Vegas, Clinton cited Trump's relationship to the Emmys as an example of why Trump's overall disposition rendered him unfit for the presidency.
“There was even a time when [Trump] didn’t get an Emmy for his TV program three years in a row and he started tweeting that the Emmys were rigged against him," Clinton said. Trump interrupted and said, "Should've gotten it."
When Colbert played the clip from the debate at the Emmys, this was Sarah Hyland's reaction, and frankly, all of ours.
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Maybe Colbert is right. Maybe if Trump had won an Emmy all those years ago, his ambitions wouldn't have kept climbing until he became the biggest TV star of all time.
As it stands, getting an Emmy would likely prove an insurmountable challenge to Trump. As Colbert pointed out, "Unlike the presidency, Emmys go to the winner of the popular vote."
Perhaps tonight offers a moment of catharsis for Trump. With Alec Baldwin getting a 2017 Emmy for his work parodying Donald Trump on SNL, the president got his Emmy after all.
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