The seemingly impossible happened during the Emmys last night: Top Chef Las Vegas won the Emmy for best reality competition show, finally dethroning seven-time winner The Amazing Race, which has won every year since the category was created in 2003.
Executive producer Dan Cutforth, who is one of Magical Elves’ two principles, accepted the award, saying “we never expected it.” Host Padma Lakshmi, who was the most animated of all of the show’s cast and crew on stage, said “I’ll say!” and then stood in front of Gail Simmons. Cutforth also said that his producing partner, Jane Lipsitz, has attended previously but skipped out this year. Their shows have been nominated all the way back to 2004 when Last Comic Standing was nominated. Ironically, they ended up beating the show they created, Project Runway, which has since changed hands to other producers.
Although Top Chef Las Vegas wasn’t the series’ best season ever–I asked if the Voltaggio brothers were ruining the series, and of course, one of them ultimately won. But even though, as Phil Keoghan pointed out in defense of TAR’s repeated wins, the shows are judged on the strength of a single episode, I think we can take this as an award that applies to the series as a whole, too–never mind their contributions to reality. I’m hoping this means that the Academy is waking up to reality TV a bit, but we’ll see how many years in a row Top Chef wins.
Here’s the Magical Elves’ win and a very excited Padma: