Thursday, June 20, 2013

A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE FROM LIFETIME


FOR YOUR 2013 EMMY® CONSIDERATIONLIFETIME®‘S
PROJECT RUNWAY
“endlessly watchable…so much fun to watch…” – Los Angeles TimesOUTSTANDING HOST FOR A REALITY OR REALITY-COMPETITION PROGRAM
Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn

AND ALL OTHER CATEGORIES

MyLifetime.com.


Cynopsis Media Presents: Primetime Emmy Awards Before the Ballot:
Reality TV Host, Reality Program and Reality-Competition Program
06.20.13

By Michael Maloney

Good morning. It’s Thursday, June 20, 2013, and this is the third in a series predicting the nominees for this year’s primetime Emmy Awards, which will be announced on July 18. Today’s category? Outstanding Reality Hosts.

Want to hear something unreal? Despite the fact that they fill dozens of hours of airtime each week there really aren’t a lot of categories covering Reality TV at the Primetime Emmys.
The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences began gradually acknowledging this branch of programming when it became clear that Survivor-esque Tiki torches, while snuffed out each week during the season, were going to continue to burn for years.

Outstanding Reality Program was established at the kudofest in 2001. Outstanding Reality-Competition Program came two years later. In 2008, the Academy added Outstanding Reality Host.

Like their scripted cousins, the reality categories have their own history of idiosyncrasies, surprises and traditions. Which hosts and shows nominated last year are likely to repeat in 2013? Will Emmy-favorites Jeff Probst (Survivor, CBS) and The Amazing Race (CBS) earn the gold? What shocks might we see in the ever-changing program group? Read on as Cynopsis handicaps the unpredictable world of the Emmys and Reality TV.

Outstanding Reality Host with the Most

Tom Bergeron, a previous Emmy winner for helming the syndicated version of Hollywood Squares in 2000, won Outstanding Reality Host at last year’s Primetime Emmys for emceeing Dancing With the Stars (ABC).

He jokingly thanked Probst, a four-time winner for this category, for not being nominated, but of course, Bergeron’s victory can’t be attributed solely to that. “Our show would not be as successful as it is without Tom,” says dancer Tony Dovolani, the season 15 winner of Dancing‘s mirror ball trophy. “Sometimes, Tom is overlooked simply because he makes it all look so easy. He can jab the judges without ever insulting them.”

Indeed. Bergeron cracks wise at Len Goodman‘s crankiness, pokes fun at Bruno Tonioli‘s antics and aptly once described a killer smile from Carrie Ann Inaba as something he hopes he never receives, but he doesn’t delve into dancing technique as fodder to keep the show moving and entertaining.

“I’ve always been protective of the effort that the celebrities and pro dancers put forth each week,” Bergeron tells Cynopsis. Ironically, the defending champ in the host category has no idea what was submitted for him to win last year’s gold. He lets his personal reps and show producers make the call. “I’m thrilled to be nominated – and win – but I don’t like watching myself on TV,” he says.
Bergeron is submitted as a solo act since he and fellow host Brooke Burke Charvet primarily perform separate duties during the performance program.  “(Brooke has) the toughest job,” says Bergeron. “She has to get comments from couples while their attention is elsewhere, and they’re likely either overjoyed or annoyed by their scores.”

Meanwhile, Project Runway (Lifetime) is trying a new approach to get some gold for Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn with the two being entered as a team. “While Tim has always liked the title of mentor, all of us agreed that an essential part of his job is to host significant parts of the show  both with Heidi and by himself,” Jon Murray, Project Runway‘s executive producer, tells Cynopsis. “Their paramount concern is to make sure (the show) is a fair competition and an entertaining show.”

Yet the move may be risky, says Tom O’Neil, founder, Goldderby.com. (www.goldderby.com) “They’re trying a new strategy because their old one is kaput,” he offers. “Heidi used to be nominated, but isn’t anymore – so she’s adding more ammo in her drive for Emmy gold. It’s a big risk because in general, solo acts do better than multiple hosts at the Emmys.”

Academy members of creatures of habit, but that’s not why Probst has won this category four out of five times. “Jeff truly is a great guy, and that translates on screen,” Mark Burnett, executive producer, Survivor (CBS) says. ‘Every girl wants to date him and every guy wants to have a beer with him. He somehow manages to allow his true empathy to be shown while maintaining objectivity. He’s three things at once: parent, teacher and friend.”

“Jeff’s a relatable guy,” concurs Amber Dowling, editor-in chief, TV Guide Canada (www.tvguide.ca). “The fact that he’s won so many times yet was left off the ballot last year was a big upset.”

This year, many are predicting that The Voices (NBC) Carson Daly will also make the cut. “I wouldn’t be surprised to see Carson nominated, but I would raise an eyebrow if he won,” says Dowling. “And don’t forget Padma Lakshmi from Top Chef (Bravo). She continues to anchor that show and shouldn’t be discounted.”

Survivor’s format, however, just may give Probst his own special brand of “immunity” when it comes to winning this award. “Jeff has the obvious advantage over everyone else in that he’s not a ringmaster,” says O’Neil. “He can submit a full hour where he’s arbitrating a fight and getting into high-minded discussions. There’s no way that a Ryan Seacrest can be that by saying, ‘Our next contestant on American Idol (Fox) is…'”

Anyone’s Game: Outstanding Reality Program

The category of Outstanding Reality Program has seen diverse winners, including Queer Eye for the Straight Guy (Bravo), Extreme Makeover Home Edition (ABC) and Undercover Boss (CBS). The category has a perennial bridesmaid, too: Antiques Roadshow (PBS), which has been nominated eight times.

Jonathan Reiner, an Emmy-winning reality TV producer, whose credits include Secret Millionaire (ABC) and Gene Simmons Family Jewels (A&E), predicts that we’ll continue to find a mix of previous nominees as well as new faces in this category. “We’ll probably see Undercover Boss (CBS) again, because voters love consistency,” offers Reiner. As for a new entry, he believes that Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s (OWN) is a solid contender. “It’s OWN’s first hit,” Reiner points out. “If Emmy voters can get over their Schadenfreude, this show deserves a berth. Also, Duck Dynasty (A&E) could be nominated. It’s one of the biggest hits on TV. Period.”

Perhaps the greatest quest that contenders in this and all reality categories have is to earn further respect and acceptance by the television industry. “There’s always been a schism,” Bergeron admits about scripted and non-scripted programs at the Emmy telecast. “While there’s been an acknowledgement that reality TV is part of the total picture of television, there’s also been a resistance to embrace it among actors and writers, because of the perception that it takes jobs away from them. You can actually feel that during the course of the (Emmy telecast),” he adds.
O’Neil confidently predicts that not only will Betty White not receive another nod for Outstanding Reality Host, but her series, Betty White’s Off Their Rockers (NBC), won’t even be a contender. “Betty White – that Emmy juggernaut – is vulnerable this year. (She) could be knocked off her rocker,” says O’Neil.

Game On: Outstanding Reality-Competition Program

Unlike Outstanding Reality Program, Outstanding Reality-Competition Program continues to have many repeat contenders including American Idol (Fox), Survivor (CBS), Dancing With the Stars (ABC), and, the show that’s won this race (pun intended) 9 out of 10 times, The Amazing Race (CBS).

The Amazing Race isn’t broken and does deserve its Emmys,” says Reiner. “As for the lack of new shows in this category, it’s hard for a newcomer to gain critical acclaim and popular traction – with the exception of The Glee Project (Oxygen).” But of course, that’s essentially a spinoff of the Fox mothership, Glee. The Oxygen show is a testament to the power of Gleeks.

“It’s a hard thing, to pull off filming and secrecy on a global scale, and The Amazing Race is deserving of its wins,” concurs Dowling. “That said, there are plenty of other reality series that do a fantastic job and deserve some love.”

Top Chef (Bravo) is the only other series that’s beaten Amazing Race to the finish line in this category. “That show remains a strong contender,” says Dowling, who also feels that The Voice (NBC) also deserves a second nod. “The Voice has managed to switch judges and remain relevant in the ratings. American Idol (Fox) has been creeping downwards for years, while news about The X-Factor’s (Fox) latest casting stunt has become tiresome. The Voice really focuses on its competitors, and that’s why it’s managed to stay so strong.”

Nominees are announced July 18th… we’ll see who’s for real, and who isn’t.

Later,
Michael Maloney
06.20.13

Roberta Caploe: Editorial Director
Denise O’Connor: Group Publisher, Cynopsis Media
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