Probst wants Emmys to be “riskier”; Bergeron wants nominees “to tell other people to fuck off”

Sunday night, the five Emmy-nominated reality TV hosts will actually host the Emmy telecast. If a recent Jimmy Kimmel Live bit, which features Ryan Seacrest tackling Jeff Probst as they swear at each other, is any indication, it should be ridiculously fun.

Because the ceremony will undoubtedly feature a lot of similar, ironically scripted reality TV shenanigans with the hosts–never mind the announcement of the winner in their category and the reality show categories–I’ll be trying something new and live blogging the Emmys this Sunday night, focusing primarily on the reality TV stuff. We’ll start at 8 p.m. ET, so check in then. (If you’re on the west coast and don’t want to know what’s happening, don’t read until the telecast starts for you.)

As the AP reports, the ceremony will bring some irony, since most nominated shows are scripted, and tension, since reality basically filled in the gaps when TV writers went on strike.

In advance of Sunday’s ceremony, the five hosts talked to the AP, and American Idol host Ryan Seacrest said “the five of us know each other and have really good chemistry together. It will seem comfortable, natural and most of all fun. … These shows are fun.”

He added that “The Emmy telecast reflects what television is throughout the year. Certainly, throughout the last few years we’ve seen the evolution of unscripted shows and their popularity with audiences. … It certainly speaks to the evolution of the medium.” And Survivor host Jeff Probst said that their presence “was the Emmys’ way of acknowledging that a majority of the most popular shows on television right now are reality shows. … As far as having us host? I think it just means the pool is quite dry.”

TV Guide also talked to all five hosts, and Jeff Probst told the magazine that there’s a lot of similarities between his reality TV genre and the awards show. “The Emmys are a reality elimination show. You start with 100 people in a category, whittle it down to five and then, on live national TV, four of them have to figure out how in the fuck to put on a smile,” Probst said.

Probst also says he “was as shocked as anybody” to be asked. “I think all of us sense there’s a certain bit of skepticism — like, really? I think it’s important to establish early that we’re in on the joke — that we don’t take ourselves too seriously.” As to the actual award, which I suspect will go to Seacrest even though Probst deserves it, Probst promises that, “if I lose, I will tackle Seacrest, and I will take that Emmy one way or another.”

Asked by TV Guide what changes they’d make to the series, Project Runway‘s Heidi Klum gives a lame answer (“I don’t know. I’m pretty excited this year.”), but Probst says he “would like it to be less scripted. And a little riskier.” Tom Bergeron, the randy host of Dancing with the Stars has the best response: “I’d make it pay-per-view. Then we could say anything we wanted to. You’d have people getting on stage to tell other people to fuck off.”

The Real Deal: Emmys Hosts Preview TV’s Biggest Night [TV Guide]
Emmys showcase five-star reality hosts lineup [AP]

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.