Tom Bergeron’s Emmy win slightly mitigates Amazing Race’s unbelievable ninth Emmy

Dancing with the Stars host Tom Bergeron won the best reality show host Emmy tonight, likely due to Jeff Probst’s absence from the nominees after winning every year since the award began. I say that because, once a-fucking-gain, The Amazing Race won for best competition series. The award has been given 10 times and the CBS series has won it nine times, not that I have strong feelings about that win.

Tom Bergeron is a fine choice: He’s quick on his feet and funny, and is never afraid to acknowledge the ridiculousness going on around him. I would have voted for Cat Deeley, because she does similarly strong work but adds unexpected humanity to the role. Honestly, had either Cat or Phil Keoghan won, that would have been perfectly acceptable. Despite my rage at Amazing Race‘s win, Phil remains one of the consistently strong parts of the series.

Speaking of that rage: Damaged beyond repair by budget cuts and ego and bad decision-making, The Amazing Race is a shadow of its former self, and even nominated a shitty episode, yet it wins again. Sure, it looks gorgeous, and I can’t imagine the logistical challenges it presents. I was once an unapologetic cheerleader for it. But that does not mean the end product is good. What was broadcast last year is objectively a shadow of the show’s previous self, and is in no way better than some of the other nominees.

I’d say Emmy voters hate reality television but from Modern Family’s ridiculous wins, it seems like their votes come from a place of laziness or disconnection from reality. Even one winner called out the Emmys: Jon Stewart, accepting for The Daily Show, referred to “how fucking predictable these things are.”

Based on last year’s seasons, I think The Voice should have won for its surprising reinvention of a well-worn format, but So You Think You Can Dance would have been a fine choice, too. While Padma Lakshmi thinks Top Chef was “robbed”, it did not have a strong season last year.

While Honey Boo Boo got a mention in Jimmy Kimmel’s monologue, reality TV didn’t get much attention beyond its two awards and a “Year in Reality” clip package, which was okay but seemed to draw from just a few series, so it was weird. Better was the telecast’s cold open: The five reality show hosts first nominated in the category appeared briefly in a bathroom stall to volunteer to host the Emmys before shrinking away, gently mocking their disastrous hosting in 2008.

Here are the nominees and winners for the final two reality-related Emmy categories; the other winners were announced last week.

  • Outstanding Reality Competition Program: The Amazing Race, Dancing with the Stars, Project Runway, So You Think You Can Dance, Top Chef, and The Voice.
  • Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality Competition Program: Dancing with the Stars‘ Tom Bergeron, So You Think You Can Dance‘s Cat Deeley, The Amazing Race‘s Phil Keoghan, American Idol‘s Ryan Seacrest, and Betty White.

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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.