Monday, June 6th, 2011



Project Runway
Outstanding Reality-Competition Program

Coming Home
Outstanding Reality Program


Cynopsis Media presents 

Before the Ballots: Reality

Host, Reality Competition

Series, Reality Program

2011 Primetime Emmy® Award Pre-Nomination Special Report
by Daisy Whitney

Good morning. It’s Monday, June 6, 2011, and this is the third of a five-part series predicting the nominees for this year’s primetime Emmy® Awards.  Today’s installment looking at the potential nominees for Outstanding Reality Host, Reality Competition Series, Reality Program.

BEFORE THE BALLOTS: Outstanding Reality Host, Reality Competition Series, Reality Program
By Daisy Whitney

What was once a ho-hum genre in the Emmy® Awards was blown wide open last year when Top Chef snapped the Emmy® for best reality-competition series away from long-time winner Amazing Race. The CBS show had commanded a seven-season winning streak, taking home the top show trophy since the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences birthed the reality category in 2003.

That’s why Top Chef 2010 win has other networks, producers and hosts buzzing about this year’s race that’s barely started. Other programs stand a fighting chance now so they’ll be knocking on doors and asking for a lot of consideration. Indeed, the betting and predicting for the top three Emmy reality categories is alive and well even though the Academy won’t reveal the nominees for outstanding reality program, outstanding reality-competition program and outstanding reality host until July 14.

Top Dog

Survivor’s Jeff Probst has taken home the hosting gold since the reality host award’s inception three years ago, but American Idol’s Ryan Seacrest is a perennial favorite along with Top Chef’s Padma Lakshmi. The name most frequently cited by industry watchers, though, as deserving of a win is Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs. He is in nearly every frame of that show and he is an in-the-trenches host, rather than just an emcee. “He is the gold standard. The genuine article. Completely unflappable and no one has more range,” said Clint Stinchcomb, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Global Content Partners, a programming creator and distributor, and also the producer of CurrentTV show 4th and Forever.

But Ryan Seacrest has lots of fans too and he is the “quarterback of the best team” Stinchcomb said. He also likes Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage of Mythbusters, saying they define the term “sexy geek.”

“Ryan Seacrest keeps it moving. He should get some credit because that’s not an easy thing to do,” said industry expert Shari Anne Brill, one of Co-Authors along with Steve Sternberg, of the just-released Upfront edition of the Primetime TV Insight Series report published by Baseline Intelligence.

Tom Bergeron of Dancing with the Stars may turn up on the ballot too. “He makes you love him effortlessly. He is funny and naturally talented,” said John Miller, Senior VP, Original Productions & Development for WE tv & Wedding Central.

Real Life

Last year’s win for best reality program went to one-time series Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and has gone to Kathy Griffin’s My Life on the D-List a handful of times. But this year Discovery has yanked Deadliest Catch from the non-fiction series category where it’s earned nominations for the last five years, and is instead entering it in the reality program category in the hopes of winning gold for the first time. The show’s star Captain Phil Harris died in 2010. “It was a groundbreaking moment for reality TV and a tragic situation that was handled both sensitively and thoughtfully,” said Clark Bunting, President and General Manager of Discovery Channel. Miller also likes Deadliest Catch’s chances.

Stinchcomb expects shows like Pawn Stars, Dirty Jobs, Dog Whisperer, Intervention and Antiques Roadshow to be among those nominated, and hopes his own show 4th and Forever lures voters. Miller said he’s also pulling for Keeping up with the Kardashians to earn a nod simply for “the sheer brilliance in casting and finding the humor in these women.” He added, “They are all very likeable women and they have turned that one show into several shows and a vast empire and that deserves recognition.”

Miller said WE tv has submitted four of its shows in the reality category this year: Braxton Family Values, Sinbad: It’s Just Family, Downsized and Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best. He is hopeful since Downsized has shown the effects of the recession and Braxton Family Values is like “Housewives but with more bonding and family stories,” he said.

Last Show Standing

On the reality-competition front, the top-rated shows will likely be tapped. So look for American Idol, Top Chef, Amazing Race, Dancing with the Stars and Project Runway to land on the ballot come July 14. “Those are the shows you want to be like if you are making a competition show. The producers have gotten the formula right and others are looking to emulate it,” Miller said.

The Voice and Celebrity Apprentice are dark horses in the race. Project Runway has been nominated in best reality-competition every year since 2005, and Lifetime made several changes to the show this year that it hopes will help its chances. The network expanded the show to 90 minutes, which affords more time for challenges and character development, said Rob Sharenow, Executive VP of Programming at Lifetime. “Viewers wanted more in depth on the designers themselves and this lets us develop the characters and get into the nitty gritty of the designs,” he said.
But 2011 could be American Idol’s year to win after eight nominations. It’s a rating juggernaut, plus the show transformed itself after losing it star judge Simon Cowell last year. “For the way it’s changed this year and how it’s been able to survive, I’d like to see that show recognized for all it’s done,” Brill said.

This 5-part series of 2011 Primetime Emmy® Award Pre-Nomination Special Reports are available on the Cynopsis website in our special Primetime Emmy®2011 section.

Later —
Daisy Whitney for Cynopsis

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