An 'Amazing' thing is starting to happen

The tribe has spoken: Reality is now a legit member of the Emmy family.

After virtually ignoring the red-hot genre in the past, this year the TV Academy decided to embrace all things unscripted. Almost every segment included a mention of reality TV or one of its stars; even the set seemed straight out of “American Idol.”

Highlight of the night was the presentation of the award for best reality competish to “The Amazing Race.” It was the first time the Academy had given a single statuette to a reality skein (rather than an area award, in which there can be multiple winners).

Keeping with the unpredictable spirit of unscripted TV, host Garry Shandling brought out a pair of blindfolded contest winners — Bruce Milam and Amy Scholsohn — who had no idea that they were about to step on to the Emmy stage.

“Oh my God, oh my God,” Amy kept saying. Bruce was shellshocked at first; tears soon followed. “I am a fan of everyone here,” Bruce said.

Some of the stars in the Shrine audience seem similarly moved as, for a change, a true moment of spontaneity broke through the pre-planned mechanics that structure most modern awards shows.

The unscripted love-in started with the show’s cold open, a taped parody that turned the annual kudocast into a reality show (complete with a voiceover by “Bachelor” host Chris Harrison). Shandling appeared in bandages, just like an “Extreme Makeover” patient.

Later, Shandling joked about making a reality show out of his security camera footage. Not long after, CBS’ Leslie Moonves and HBO’s Chris Albrecht were seen fighting for the rights to the fictional skein; later, a fake ABC promo touted “What’s in Front of Garry’s Door?”

Emmy cameras also cut to Donald Trump more frequently than Brad Pitt or Jennifer Aniston.

Even the winner of the reality category — CBS’ “The Amazing Race”– gave the night some real drama. Emmy oddsmakers figured “The Apprentice” to be a sure thing for a win; “Survivor” also was a favorite.

But instead, Emmy voters went with the critically lauded “Race.” Win gave CBS its third consecutive reality Emmy (two for “Race,” one for “Survivor”).

The win was particularly nice for “Race” czars Bert van Munster and Jerry Bruckheimer, who this summer saw their skein soar to its best-ever Nielsen numbers.

It wasn’t all love for reality.

Shandling reflected the mood of many in the aud with several cracks about how the genre was putting actors and writers out of work.

After Bruce and Amy had left the stage, Shandling said the duo were already stars.

“They’ve already been signed to host next year,” he said. “That’s it for us professionals.

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