Emmy Circuit: Can RuPaul Charles Win Fourth Emmy for Reality TV Host?

Welcome to the 2019 Emmy Circuit series. We are now in the Emmy post-nomination phase, where we watch all the nominated Emmy episodes and predict their chances of winning. The Creative Arts Emmy winners will be revealed Saturday, Sept. 14, while the Primetime Emmy Awards airs on FOX Sunday, Sept. 22. Tune in week after week as we tackle all things Drama, Comedy, Limited Series and Variety.


It’s hard to break an Emmy streak. RuPaul Charles has won the past three consecutive awards for Outstanding Host for a Reality Competition Program. If he wins a fourth award this year, he will tie Jeff Probst (“Survivor”) for the most wins in this category. Charles continues to have a strong shot at the win. However, there are three new contenders in this category that will give him a run for his money. Emmy winner Amy Poehler teams up with her “Parks and Recreation” co-star Nick Offerman to host the delightful “Making it” crafting challenge show. Meanwhile, Netflix enters the race with the highly popular “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo,” which could win. Popular talk show hosts James Corden and Ellen Degeneres also look to compete. There are many ways this can go. Let’s dive in to the category.


  • RuPaul Charles – “RuPaul’s Drag Race” – Episode: “Whatcha Unpackin’”
  • James Corden – “The World’s Best” – Episode: Episode 1.1
  • Ellen Degeneres – “Ellen’s Game of Games” – Episode: “Air Force One Eyed Monster”
  • Marie Kondo – “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” – Episode: “Sparking Joy After a Loss”
  • Nick Offerman and Amy Poehler – “Making It” – Episode: “Meet Your Makers”

Now to delve into each of the nominated episodes. Spoiler Alert: These analyses may contain spoilers of the nominated episodes.

NOMINEE #1 – RuPaul Charles – “RuPaul’s Drag Race” – Episode: “Whatcha Unpackin’”

Episode Synopsis (IMDB): Miley Cyrus goes undercover in the workroom to spy on the new cast of queens competing for $100,000; the first test is to create signature looks from materials belonging to former Drag Race legends.

It’s hard not to be taken with the addictive and entertaining world of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” Host RuPaul Charles dishes out plenty of fun bon mots as they judge some truly fabulous drag queens. RuPaul does more than just compete with the other nominees in this category. This episode finds them competing with the competitors and guest judges as well. Many of the contestants, such as Silky Nutmeg Ganache, hog the spotlight. Since the first episode of every season serves as the queens’ introduction, these premieres give Ru less to do than other episodes. Add in guest judge Miley Cyrus (who gets plenty of antics) and one winds up with a very over-stuffed episode.

As stated before, it’s hard to unseat a winner when they are on a roll. Just one win away from tying a record, RuPaul is clearly the act to beat. Of the five nominees, “RuPaul’s Drag Race” is the only one also nominated for Outstanding Reality Competition Program. Additionally, it earned the most nominations of any reality show this year. Between this and “The World’s Best,” RuPaul Charles is at the peak of popularity. It’s going to take quite a competitor to unseat this juggernaut.

NOMINEE #2 – James Corden – “The World’s Best” – Episode: Episode 1.1

Episode Synopsis (IMDB): The journey to discover THE WORLD’S BEST begins with the first night of auditions, as elite acts from around the globe perform before American judges Drew Barrymore, RuPaul Charles and Faith Hill, as well as a panel of 50 renowned experts from 38 countries known as the “wall of the world”.

Late night host James Corden makes the jump to talent competition with “The World’s Best” on CBS. Most of Corden’s jokes involves attempting the talents that the contestants have showcased. Often, this comes off more as embarrassing than funny. He keeps the show moving. Still, the contestants are the real stars of the show. Their talents truly astound. The submitted episode was the follow-up to the Super Bowl this year. It carries with it that level of excitement. Yet, Corden hardly comes off as the standout. If anything, this helps RuPaul Charles out, as he also acts as a judge for “The World’s Best.” 

Corden has won seven Emmys, primarily for short form or interactive programs. He continues to rack up nominations for his Variety Talk Show (“The Late Late Show with James Corden”). Yet, he has not won the big category before. If the Television Academy wants to reward Corden this year, they may honor him in other categories, particularly for “Carpool Karaoke.”

NOMINEE #3 – Ellen Degeneres – “Ellen’s Game of Games” – Episode: “Air Force One Eyed Monster”

Episode Synopsis (NBC): Volunteers from Ellen’s studio audience play her outrageously fun games – including Don’t Leave Me Hanging, Aw Snap!, Oh Ship!, One Eyed Monster, Know or Go and more – for the chance to win $100,000!

People love Ellen Degeneres. The daytime talk show host has made a career of delighting audiences with a treasure trove of viral games and clips. Her game show, “Ellen’s Game of Games” feels like a natural extension of this winning formula. While those moments work well on Daytime Television, it turns out they become grating when stretched over an hour. The game show feels stuck squarely at the beginners level, and Degeneres feels just as bored as us. Her bits range from tired to borderline offensive (an extensive bit involves dead-naming Caitlyn Jenner). Degeneres makes people feel comfortable. However, in this show format, she also makes us sleepy.

Degeneres is the only other nominee to return from last year, besides Charles. Though she has only won one prior Primetime Emmy (in 1997 for Writing “The Puppy Episode” of “Ellen”), she has 31 total Daytime Emmys for “The Ellen Degeneres Show.” While she doesn’t often compete for Primetime Emmys, the Television Academy clearly loves her. Perhaps we shouldn’t be underestimating her as an Emmys magnet. Jane Lynch won two consecutive Emmys in this category for hosting a game show (“Hollywood Game Night”).

NOMINEE #4 – Marie Kondo – “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” – Episode: “Sparking Joy After a Loss”

Episode Synopsis (IMDB): Marie comes to the home of Margie Hodges and helps her tidy up her home following the loss of her husband.

When “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” dropped on Netflix last Christmas, the internet went crazy. Spring cleaning came early as people raved about the cheery reality show about de-cluttering one’s home. Armed with her similarly energetic translator, host Marie Kondo brings a soothing energy to even the most chaotic of spaces. The episode she submits brings her to the home of Margie Hodges, a widow who struggles to get rid of her late husband’s belongings. It stands out as the most overtly emotional of the five entries. Kondo does more than help tidy up Margie’s home. She gives her a shoulder to cry on and helps set her free from her grief.

Netflix knows how to campaign for an Emmy. They’ve been pulling out all the stops for the show. When in a competitive category, it helps to stand out. Kondo’s show is the only one where people aren’t vying for money, fame or glory. Instead, she uses her unique skills to give people a new start. As one of the new competitors this year, Kondo remains an untested variable. Could this newcomer be the upset of the evening?

NOMINEE #5 – Nick Offerman and Amy Poehler – “Making It” – Episode: “Meet Your Makers”

Episode Synopsis (IMDB): Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman host a crafting series where incredibly talented people come together for a friendly competition.

What’s more adorable than intricate home-made crafts? Hosts Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman give the crafts a run for their money. The “Parks and Recreation” duo dial their relatable-ness up to 11 as they judge “Making It,” a crafting competition show. We already knew from their sitcom that both personalities know how to play off each other. What makes the show come alive is how they connect with their contestants. This first episode allows us and the hosts to get to know all the competitors. Poehler and Offerman are more than just funny. They manage to be warm, encouraging and helpful, with specific advice that aides everyone around them. They are a duo that can truly do anything.

The last time Amy Poehler entered a race sharing a nomination with a co-star, she won her first Emmy. Her and Tina Fey won Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy for “Saturday Night Live” in 2016. Could “Parks and Recreation” co-star Nick Offerman be her lucky charm in this race? Are two reality competition hosts better than one? Only time will tell. Yet, it just might take two heavyweights to finally unseat RuPaul Charles’ reign.


  1. RuPaul Charles – “RuPaul’s Drag Race” – Episode: “Whatcha Unpackin’”
  2. Nick Offerman and Amy Poehler – “Making It” – Episode: “Meet Your Makers”
  3. Marie Kondo – “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” – Episode: “Sparking Joy After a Loss”
  4. Ellen Degeneres – “Ellen’s Game of Games” – Episode: “Air Force One Eyed Monster”
  5. James Corden – “The World’s Best” – Episode: Episode 1.1

WILL WIN: RuPaul Charles – “RuPaul’s Drag Race” – Episode: “Whatcha Unpackin’”

SHOULD WIN: Nick Offerman and Amy Poehler – “Making It” – Episode: “Meet Your Makers”


What do you think will win Outstanding Host for a Reality Series this year? Let us know in the comments below.