Emmys may add reality host award

Final vote will take place in March

Ryan Seacrest, Jeff Probst and their brethren will soon have a shot at becoming individual Emmy winners as the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences will reportedly add a category for reality TV host to its upcoming awards.

The honor was introduced at the recent retreat of the TV Academy board of governors and, according to sources, has already been tentatively approved, pending a final vote at the next board meeting in mid-March. A TV Acad spokeswoman said it was “premature” to discuss any changes to the awards, but organization insiders said recognition for reality talent — considered one of TV’s hotter genres, and relatively underrepresented at the Emmys — is basically a done deal.

The Daytime Emmys have long featured categories for talk and gameshow hosts, but there has been no equivalent at the primetime awards, despite the popularity of programs such as “Survivor,” hosted by Probst, and “American Idol,” fronted by Seacrest.

In other Emmy news, sources say there was a separate proposal to merge the miniseries category into the made-for-TV movie category, but that was rejected after some internal debate. Although actors are lumped together for those two areas and the Golden Globes combine them, they will remain distinct at the Emmys, at least for the coming year.

Last season there were only three nominees for miniseries, reflecting how the form has diminished, thanks to the emphasis on series and what are now sometimes called “limited series.” Still, some argued that the gap between movies and miniseries remains stark enough to warrant separate categories, citing the difficulty in comparing a two-hour movie against something like HBO’s “John Adams,” a seven-parter premiering next month.

Board members reevaluate the awards annually, and the TV Academy has faced pressure to streamline the categories presented during the main primetime telecast, especially as new ones have cropped up.

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