EmmyWatch 2011: Reality/Variety Races

21 Jun

Joshua Jackson and Melissa McCarthy are set to announce the nominations for the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards bright and early on Thursday, July 14th. And even though this is a film blog, some of you many know I’m also a pretty obsessive TV-watcher, and I currently watch over 70 television series, so I’d like to think I know a fair bit about what’s on the air right now. And in that spirit, I’ll do what I did with my OscarWatch posts back in January, and tackle the major categories for this years Emmy Awards in 4 EmmyWatch posts: Reality/Variety, Mini/Movie, Comedy and Drama.

In them I’ll give my quick thoughts on a particular race and how I personally think things will eventually shape up, listing both the 6 contenders I would personally pick were the nominations up to me, and then 6 who I actually think will have their names called out come nomination morning. Then once the nominations are announced I’ll do a post with my reactions and my actual predictions for the races. To kick things off, let’s tackle the Reality and Variety categories…


Look, I’m not the biggest reality nut because I actually don’t watch Top Chef regularly (even though I do admit it’s been pretty great when I have watched it), nor do I watch Survivor at all, and ditto with Celebrity Apprentice and So You Think You Can Dance. So yes, I’m not that well-versed on several of the contenders for this category, but I think I get the overall picture of this category pretty well. The category had been previously owned by The Amazing Race for seven consecutive years, but Top Chef eventually broke their streak with their own win last year, so this one is definitely a tiny bit more open than one would initially think.

My Personal 6 (in specific order)

  1. The Amazing Race – Yes, it may have been relegated to second place (or worse) after last year’s win by Top Chef, but this show still dominated the category for the better part of the decade, and considering their last cycle was an all-star edition that got the contestants to some pretty sweet spots around the world, a return to the group of victors wouldn’t be shocking at all.
  2. Top Chef – Yes, I know I don’t watch this show regularly, but I do occasionally, and that’s all you need to know that this Bravo show ending The Amazing Race‘s streak last year wasn’t that surprising. Plus, it’s the only reality show that’s had Zooey Deschanel as a guest judge, so that alone puts it pretty much at the top of my list.
  3. The Voice – Yes, I’m putting The Voice, a show that’s less than halfway through its first season, ahead of American Idol, a similar show that I’ve had the biggest love/hate relationship with for the last decade. Why? Because The Voice feels insanely fresh even though it’s a well-traveled field and boats what I believe to be the best judging panel in television.
  4. American Idol – 8 nominations, no wins. It may have the ratings but it doesn’t have the trophies. However, as maligned as the tenth season of the show has been at points, I think the show should really be congratulated for going through the tough job of reinvigorating itself by rebooting its judges panel and a part of its format.
  5. Project Runway – This show also got a bit of a reboot, with supersized ninety-minute episodes which meant more fashion and a lot more drama. However I, like many, wasn’t a particular fan of the show’s eighth season because of its eventual winner. So as much as I would like to see Project Runway keep getting a nomination like it usually does, Gretchen-gate prevents me from wishing it wins.
  6. Dancing with the Stars – This season was more of the same from this the reality ratings juggernaut which still boasts a consistent judges panel (as much as I hate Carrie Ann), two extremely likable hosts and a cast of both stars and pros that makes for very entertaining television.
How I think the actual nominations will look like (in specific order)
  1. Top Chef – Yes, I think this one will actually repeat this year, and if it doesn’t then it will go down putting up a good fight.
  2. Amazing Race – And if Top Chef loses then I think this one will return to the winners circle after stumbling last year.
  3. American Idol – Read above. I actually wouldn’t be that surprised if this one manages to pull off an upset against the two listed above, the voters will give them props for their retooling while maintaing their huge ratings and standards.
  4. Project Runway – Read above.
  5. Dancing with the Stars – Read above.
  6. The Voice – I may have personally adored this show enough to put it as my personal #3, but considering it’s aired less than ten episodes I doubt the voters will put it much higher than a #6, or #5 at best. But still, if it gets the nod consider it a very good sign of things to come in this category for the show.
Now in this category I really have no idea how to handicap the race, as the only reality series I watch that may get a nomination is MythBusters, so my Personal 6 category won’t apply here, and lets get down to how I think the actual nominations will look like considering what I have read and know about the shows in contention.
How I think the actual nominations will look like (in specific order)
  1. MythBusters – I’m putting it at first because it’s the only contender I actually like to watch and it’s a damn good show.
  2. Intervention – This one might actually win.
  3. Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List – It has won this award twice before, so a return trip to the winners circle wouldn’t be that out of the question.
  4. Dirty Jobs – Three time past-nominee for this category, should return.
  5. Deadliest Catch – Another one of the few that I have actually watched that contends in this category, pretty good show, too.
  6. Hoarders – And I’m giving my final slot to this one, just because. I hate writing about categories I know nothing about.
Hosts can make or break reality shows, and some of them are a big part of the reason why we love the shows they’re in. Tom Bergeron has impeccable timing, Phil Keoghan has that eyebrow lift, Ryan Seacreat can say “THIS.IS.AMERICAN.IDOL!” like only he can. So yes, I actually quite like that hosts get their own category.
My Personal 5 (in specific order)
  1. Tom Bergeron (Dancing with the Stars) – Look, I love this guy, I really do. He has some pretty good on-the-spot comedic interventions and really knows how to roll with the punches, so he gets my personal #1 spot.
  2. Phil Keoghan (The Amazing Race) – The aforementioned eyebrow move alone makes him a favorite in this race, he’s the perfect host for the globe-trotting reality series.
  3. Ryan Seacrest (American Idol) – I have loved and hated this show for a huge amount of reasons for the past decade, but Ryan Seacrest, even though he isn’t perfect, has been a pretty consistent part of it, and in a year in which the rebooted judges panel was sputtering so much nonsense, it was him that provided some balance.
  4. Padma Lakshmi (Top Chef) – Again, I’m not a loyal follower of the show, but there’s no denying that every time I have actually tuned in to watch it Ms. Lakshmi has done a stellar hosting job.
  5. Heidi Klum (Project Runway) – She’s Heidi Klum. Enough said.
How I think the actual nominations will look like (in specific order)
  1. Jeff Probst (Survivor) – He’s not in my Personal 5 because I don’t watch Survivor, but that show owes a lot of its success to this guy. He’s reigned supreme among hosts in years past, and there’s just not even the slightest chance of him losing his crown this year.
  2. Phil Keoghan (The Amazing Race) – Read above.
  3. Tom Bergeron (Dancing with the Stars) – Read above.
  4. Ryan Seacrest (American Idol) – Read above.
  5. Padma Lakshmi (Top Chef) – Read above.
And so it goes, another year in which Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert will have their shows pitted against each others. And while I think this year Stewart will have a tougher time defending the crown that has been his since 2003, I actually think he will ultimately prevail yet again.
My Personal 6 (in specific order)
  1. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart – Yes, he’s also #1 in my personal picks.
  2. The Colbert Report – And yes, he’s also #2 in my personal picks. These two will be forever linked, and they will be forever at the top, I just don’t think this will be the year in which Colbert will breakout and beat the show that launched him to stardom.
  3. Saturday Night Live – A perennial nominee, and a huge personal favorite of mine, the past season had some downs, that’s for sure, but for a show that’s been running for nearly forty years now, the fact that it also manages to have as many ups as it does is remarkable.
  4. The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson – I doubt he’ll get the nod, and if he does he’ll probably #6, but amongst the late night talk shows his is the one I always come back to, CraigyFerg deserves the recognition.
  5. Conan – He bounced back from that absurd NBC debacle with his own show at TBS which is heaps and bounds superior to what Jay Leno is doing on The Tonight Show.
  6. Late Night with Jimmy Fallon – I was thinking about giving Letterman my #6 slot because Dave is Dave and there’s no denying just how amazing he is, but Fallon has been doing a superb job lately.
How I think the actual nominations will look like (in specific order)
  1. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart – Read above.
  2. The Colbert Report – Read above.
  3. Conan – Read above.
  4. Saturday Night Live – Read above.
  5. Real Time with Bill Maher – I don’t watch this show a lot, but it’s actually very good and it always seems to get nominated, and I doubt that’ll change this year.
  6. The Late Show with David Letterman – I had trouble choosing between Dave, Jimmy and Craig for my final slot, and while both the young ones are in my Personal 6 and Dave isn’t, I think he’ll get in come nomination time.

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