The reality-competition bar is set high for any newcomer to break the stranglehold of perennial winner The Amazing Race, which, like variety series Daily Show, has won an amazing 10 times in the 12 years it has been on the air. But heed this trend: Race lost to Top Chef in 2010 and The Voice last year, which means it’s vulnerable. Well, only as vulnerable as a 10-time Emmy winner can be. Considering that there is an endless supply of reality-based programming on television ever since Survivor started the trend all those years ago, that the Emmys would be spreading the wealth around a lot more than they have. However, the nominees tend to be similar year after year and there hasn’t been much surprise. Will this year be any different, or will voters fall into old habits that apparently die hard? Here’s the handicap in this race dominated by the very familiar.
The Amazing Race, CBS
Yawn. If I never see Jerry Bruckheimer and his pack of producers take the stage again at another Emmy show it will be just fine. Nothing against the show. It’s terrific, but its time has come and gone. It’s a masterpiece of editing and building suspense, but clearly the cracks in its 10-time Emmy-winning armor are beginning to show. Let’s give someone else a chance at the podium this time around.
Dancing With The Stars, ABC
Aside from the competition aspect and audience voting, this stalwart really belongs in the variety, not reality, series category. DWTS is a performance show, and that is the definition of variety. Perhaps a change in venue is finally in order here? It just seems unfair for these “stars” to compete with Top Models and Top Chefs unless those shows take their place alongside Derek, Cheryl or Maks on the ballroom floor and really prove they have what it takes!
Project Runway, Lifetime
An Emmy is the one award Harvey Weinstein has yet to nab, but it’s not for lack of trying. His fashion-design competition is a perennial nominee here and even had its hosts Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn take the reality host award last year. But Harvey never has been able to master the code that works on Emmy voters. Until he does, his Oscar will remain lonely on his mantle.
So You Think You Can Dance, Fox
This summer dance-competition show is the rare one that consistently finds a way to break into the category, if not the winners’ circle. Although it basically rides the coattails of a different Fox show from the same producers, American Idol, Idol has been banished from the race for being, well, American Idol. SYTYCD represents Fox’s dog in this hunt these days.
Top Chef, Bravo
One of only two shows to upset Amazing Race, Chef just might have been a flash in the pan with its 2010 victory. Or was it? Now in its 11th season, it was set in New Orleans this time around and gained another web-based supplemental series to give fans more ways to connect. Despite a somewhat controversial ending, the show had a great lineup of delectable dishes this season, so maybe voters are hungry to give it a second Emmy.
The Voice, NBC
As if to doubly punish American Idol, which never managed a win in this category in its heyday, its arch rival The Voice comes right along and snatches victory last year after only a couple of tries at bat. The show’s producers are keeping things fresh by continuing to add big names to the coaching panel, so can The Voice repeat? Why not? After all, this is the category that gave 10 of these suckers to Amazing Race.
The Winner: The Voice