Emmy reality TV nominations: pretty much the same as last year

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences has announced its prime-time Emmy nominees, and for reality television, particularly the non-technical categories, they haven’t really changed from last year.

Because Emmy voters have contempt for reality television and/or are fucking stupid, the outstanding reality competition program category is identical to last year, meaning Survivor was once again ignored even though it’s on a hot streak, and Project Runway was nominated even though its season pretty much sucked compared to previous seasons.

That preceding paragraph was copied and pasted from my Emmy nomination story last year; why should I come up with new content if they’re not going to? The same reality show hosts were nominated (though Padma Lakshmi and Tom Colicchio didn’t get a nomination–but Heidi Klum did!) and the exact same set of competition series received nominations. The only change was the addition of two prime-time network series, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and Undercover Boss, to the non-competition category; they’re both feel-good shows rather than actually good shows.

Survivor, Whale Wars, and other series such as Deadliest Catch earned technical nominations for things such as cinematography and editing, but as Kathy Griffin has observed, those are awarded at the second-class, lower-profile “Schmemmys.” However, at least American Idol won’t win another WTF Emmy for directing, as it wasn’t nominated in that category.

Finally, while we all know that The Amazing Race will win again and executive producer Bertram Van Munster will continue to defend it even as his peers call for it to withdraw, its nomination is especially ridiculous with this past season being so weak. And its episode-specific nominations were for an episode I summarized in one sentence: “tonight’s episode went like this: ride a bus, drive a car, break a loaf of bread in half, crawl, ride a bike four miles.” Of course, it also had exploding things and zany music. While I do think the show is technically well-constructed, the result of that technical proficiency has been, more often than not lately, minimally entertaining at best, and the series desperately needs a makeover. Maybe next year, after it gets another Emmy for being the show people recognize on the ballot.

Here’s the list of reality TV-related nominees, from which I’ve edited out references to nominees who aren’t reality shows or documentaries that fit my definition (generally, that means they focus on people). The Emmy web site has the full list of nominations and lists the episodes that were nominated.

  • Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality Competition Program: Dancing with the Stars‘ Tom Bergeron, Project Runway‘s Heidi Klum, The Amazing Race‘s Phil Keoghan, Survivor‘s Jeff Probst, and American Idol‘s Ryan Seacrest.
  • Outstanding Reality Competition Program: American Idol, Dancing with the Stars, Project Runway, The Amazing Race, and Top Chef.
  • Outstanding Reality Program: Antiques Roadshow, Dirty Jobs, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List, MythBusters, and Undercover Boss.
  • Exceptional Merit In Nonfiction Filmmaking: Brick City.
  • Outstanding Nonfiction Series: Deadliest Catch and Life
  • Outstanding Cinematography For Reality Programming: The Amazing Race 16, Dirty Jobs, Man Vs. Wild, Survivor Heroes vs. Villains, and Top Chef Masters.
  • Outstanding Cinematography For Nonfiction Programming: Deadliest Catch, Life, and Whale Wars.
  • Outstanding Art Direction For A Multi-Camera Series: Hell’s Kitchen 6
  • Outstanding Art Direction For Variety, Music Or Nonfiction Programming: American Idol 9‘s Idol Gives Back
  • Outstanding Short-Form Picture Editing: American Idol 9.
  • Outstanding Picture Editing For Nonfiction Programming: By The People: The Election Of Barack Obama, Deadliest Catch, Life, and Whale Wars.
  • Outstanding Picture Editing For Reality Programming: The Amazing Race 16, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Intervention, Survivor Heroes vs. Villains, The Amazing Race 16, Life, Teddy: In His Own Words
  • Outstanding Sound Mixing For Nonfiction Programming (single or multi-camera) : The Amazing Race 16, Deadliest Catch, and Life
  • Outstanding Sound Mixing For A Variety Or Music Series Or Special: American Idol 9 finale, American Idol 9 Idol Gives Back, and Dancing with the Stars 9.
  • Outstanding Directing For Nonfiction Programming: The Amazing Race 16, By The People: The Election Of Barack Obama, and Terror In Mumbai.
  • Outstanding Nonfiction Special: Believe: The Eddie Izzard Story, By The People: The Election Of Barack Obama, Johnny Mercer: The Dream’s On Me, The Simpsons: 20th Anniversary Special — In 3-D! On Ice!, and Teddy: In His Own Words
  • Outstanding Choreography: So You Think You Can Dance Mia Michaels (for “Gravity/Addiction & Koop Island Blues & One”) and Stacey Tookey (for “Fear”); Dancing with the Stars‘ Derek Hough (for “Futuristic Paso Doble/Living on Video & Quickstep/Anything Goes”) and Chelsie Hightower and Derek Hough (for “Paso Doble/Malaquena”).
  • Outstanding Technical Direction, Camerawork, Video Control For A Series: Dancing with the Stars 9.
  • Outstanding Lighting Direction (Electronic, Multi-Camera) For Variety, Music Or Comedy Programming: Dancing with the Stars 9.
  • Outstanding Makeup For A Multi-Camera Series Or Special (Non-Prosthetic): Dancing with the Stars 9 and So You Think You Can Dance 6.
  • Outstanding Hairstyling For A Multi-Camera Series Or Special: Dancing with the Stars 7

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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.