Despite Donald Trump’s criticisms and a strong season for “Survivor,” the TV Academy just won’t budge when it comes to reality rivalry.
Unlike the reality noncompetition category, there are no surprises to speak of in the competish category. The same five shows that garnered nominations in the past three years have been nominated yet again. Since the category’s birth in 2003, there has been a total of 40 nominations. Together, “American Idol” and “The Amazing Race” have taken 16 of those 40 nods. Fellow nominees, “Project Runway,” “Dancing With the Stars” and “Top Chef” have garnered a total of 15 category bids.
While “Idol” and “Race” have been competing for Emmy gold since the category’s debut, “Project Runway” was introduced to the race in 2005 and, despite a year in legal limbo and a switch from Bravo to Lifetime, the skein has managed to maintain its standing. This year marks “Runway’s” sixth nomination in the category.
In 2006, after two consecutive nods, “The Apprentice” was replaced by “Dancing With the Stars,” which has since scored five nods. In 2007, after four consecutive noms, “Survivor” was voted off of Emmy island in favor of “Top Chef,” which has since garnered a reality competition nomination for the last four years.
It’s an exclusive crowd with an unstoppable juggernaut, momentum that even ratings monster “Idol” can’t seem to slow. In this case, that juggernaut is critical favorite “The Amazing Race,” which has now won the reality competition Emmy seven consecutive times.
“The Amazing Race”
Emmy pedigree: Seven previous wins
Best scene: In season 16’s premiere, teams not only managed to find their way to LAX using L.A.’s not-so-well-known public transportation system, they also walked across a 120-foot-high cable in the wind once they arrived in Chile.
Why it might win: Skein has won every year since this category debuted in 2003. At some point, voters will pick a new winner, but why deviate from the close-to-flawless production now?
Maybe not: Even Emmy voters like occasional change, and they may want to loosen the apparent lock “Race” has on the category.
Emmy pedigree: Seven previous noms
Best scene: The season finale complete with Janet Jackson, Alice Cooper, Christina Aguilera, a goodbye to Simon Cowell and, of course, Lee DeWyze’s win.
Why it might win: Although ratings have slipped, it still commands respect and remains one of TV’s most buzzed-about shows. Plus, it’s the last time that the Acad can recognize Simon’s contribution to the show.
Maybe not: If voters were going to honor TV’s most popular show, wouldn’t they have done it already?
“Dancing with the Stars”
Emmy pedigree: Four previous noms
Best scene: Season 10’s finale provided viewers with all they could ask for, including an awkward Kate Gosselin, “Bachelor” Jake Pavelka’s Viennese waltz with Vienna and the crowning of Nicole Scherzinger and partner Derek Hough.
Why it might win: “Stars” started earning “Idol”-like ratings, which puts it even more into the public consciousness.
Maybe not: The consistent tabloid fodder of the contestants might turn voters off.
Emmy pedigree: Five previous noms
Best scene: Season seven marked the long-awaited return to Gotham after a so-so season in Los Angeles. To celebrate, designers were asked to create a look inspired by a distinct N.Y.C. neighborhood.
Why it might win: Despite legal woes and a significant delay in returning to primetime, the fashionista-focused series proved it can deliver a classy, well-produced program no matter the network.
Maybe not: The shift to Lifetime has been a bit of a ratings disappointment.
Emmy pedigree: Three previous noms
Best scene: Contestants find out that they must cook a vegetarian meal for Natalie Portman and friends at a steakhouse.
Why it might win: No extreme environments or situations necessary. The sophisticated, tasteful skein generates drama by placing talented chefs where they’re most comfortable — in the kitchen.
Maybe not: If voters are hungry while filling out their ballots, you just never know.
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