TV critics’ awards reality nominees: slightly less embarrassing than last year’s

The nominees for the Television Critics Association’s annual awards have been announced, and in the Outstanding Achievement in Reality Programming category, we’ve once again embarrassed ourselves, though less than last year, as two high-quality series deserving of recognition have been nominated: The Glee Project and So You Think You Can Dance. The others, ugh.

The press release details all nominees in all categories, but here are the reality nominees:

  • The Amazing Race, CBS
  • Dancing with the Stars, ABC
  • The Glee Project, Oxygen
  • So You Think You Can Dance, Fox
  • The Voice, NBC

This represents some progress over last year’s nominations. But it’s still disappointing. Primarily, we’ve nominated all competition series, which represent just a fraction of actual unscripted television. What about the docudramas, the series that take us into other people’s lives?

And the actual nominees, ugh. By no objective standard does The Amazing Race belong there, especially since it won last year. Dancing with the Stars and The Voice do what they do well, but did they just have “outstanding” seasons? No. (The Voice actually got worse.)

Forgive me for being grumpy that the genre I love gets little respect, especially from a group full of smart people who (are supposed to) think critically about television, and especially when there are so many deserving series that we could acknowledge, highlight, and bring attention to with an award–even popular ones on broadcast networks.

But alas, these are what they are. So now I have to decide between So You Think You Can Dance and The Glee Project, and I’m not yet sure which way I’ll vote.

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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, 37, 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.