Reality: with its three generally crowded categories–competition, structured and unstructured–should be a tough call for Emmy predictions. However, time and again the same shows take the cake, with few variations. The hope was, with 2014’s new category split between structured and unstructured shows, the unpredictability factor would lessen somewhat. But then Discovery’s The Deadliest Catch and Shark Tank (ABC) were repeat winners in their categories in both 2014 and 2015.
New contenders are sparse. In the structured category, the same nominees abound: Antiques Roadshow (PBS), Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives (Food Network), and Undercover Boss (CBS) will almost certainly be back on the list in 2016. Maybe Spike’s Lip Sync Battle could sneak in a new nom, but it seems unlikely to topple Shark Tank and really change things up.
Born out of a bit on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Lip Sync Battle, exec-produced by John Krasinski and Stephen Merchant, began in 2015 and features a plethora of stars such as Justin Bieber, Queen Latifah, Common and Jennifer Lopez going head to head in a fake-singing contest. The show’s 2016 Emmy submission is a Jan 7th episode featuring Channing Tatum in competition with his wife Jenna Dewan-Tatum. Tatum, in bra and flowing blonde wig, performed Run The World (Girls), only to find he’d been watched by the song’s original performer Beyonce.
In this category, there’s also buzz around NBC’s Little Big Shots, a children’s talent and variety show launched in 2015 and hosted by Steve Harvey who also co-created and produced the project with Ellen DeGeneres. Like an America’s Got Talent for small children, without the competition factor, the show relies heavily on the cuteness of the kids, but makes up for that by showcasing genuinely amazing skills alongside Harvey’s avuncular comedy presence.
In the unstructured category, the nominees will also most likely be the same familiar repeat offenders. Alaska: The Last Frontier (Discovery Channel), Wahlburgers (A&E) and Million Dollar Listing (Bravo) can feel confident of a reappearance, with either Naked and Afraid (Discovery Channel) or Flipping Out (Bravo) in there too. History’s Pawn Stars just might mix things up this year, but it seems unlikely to beat out the reigning Deadliest Catch.
With three Critics’ Choice noms backing it, Pawn Stars has been around since 2009 and features Las Vegas family The Harrisons and their store, the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop. Rather like a tattooed hybrid of Antiques Roadshow, the Harrison men, Chumlee, Rick and Corey, seek advice from various experts to value the often bizarre and sometimes genuinely fascinating items brought in by customers. With seemingly endless scope for entertainment and a great variation of characters, the show has serious mileage.
In Reality Competition, The Amazing Race (CBS) has won almost every year since the category’s 2003 inception, with only The Voice toppling it from the throne (in 2013 and 2015) and Bravo’s Top Chef winning in 2010. American Idol hasn’t been in the running since 2011 and seems unlikely to get a pity nom in this, its final year of programming. So You Think You Can Dance (Fox), Dancing With the Stars (ABC) and Project Runway (Lifetime) will doubtless get their annual noms and no win. So the only question in that category seems to be, will it be The Amazing Race or The Voice? The Voice seems the most likely candidate at this point with its’ apparently unstoppable popularity and consistent slew of high-ranking musical stars.