Emmy Circuit: Reality Host

Welcome to the 2019 Emmy Circuit series, where we analyze and predict all your favorite TV series and their chances with the Television Academy (at least at this time of publishing).  The series examines the shows and performances about their awards potential, most notably the Emmy Awards.  Emmy nomination voting opens June 10 and closes on June 24.  The official Emmy nominations will be announced on Tuesday, July 16 while the ceremony airs on FOX Sunday, Sept. 22.  All Emmy pieces run with the following schedule: Mondays (Dramas), Tuesdays (Network Spotlight), Wednesdays (Comedies), Thursdays (Network Spotlight), Fridays (Limited Series, Variety Series, Below-the Lines).

Opening Statements:

This is a category where voters are of two minds; either they’re acknowledging perennial favorites of long-running programs or inaugurating flashy stars whetting their hosting chops for the first time. History dictates that the winning reality hosts are synonymous with the show’s branding. Take two-time Emmy winner RuPaul Charles from RuPaul’s Drag Race for instance; his drag queen persona is a mascot for the program’s LGBTQ-affirming competitive drag performance art.

As far as nominations go, sometimes viewership counts for very little so long as the celebrity host’s wattage is bright enough. This is why we see Ellen Degeneres, Alec Baldwin, Jane Lynch, Snoop Dogg, and Martha Stewart among others nominated for shows audiences have never bothered tuning into. Although with W. Kamau Bell’s inclusion in the field for the past two years, maybe hosting an unstructured reality programs isn’t the invisible job it once was.

Exit Strategy:

At the time of this piece, no reality-hosted series is wrapping up and closing its doors for good except CNN’s “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown.” Last summer, the traveling show’s host, celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, tragically passed away. Because of his untimely death, the program premiered its final season last fall. The seven-part conclusion was met with widespread acclaim and immediate Emmy buzz. Bourdain’s outstanding work on the series could nab him his first nomination in the category, potentially making him the first reality television host to win posthumously.

The fate of several shows currently on the bubble may dictate whether or not its emcee gets into the Emmy big leagues. Dwayne Johnson is angling hard for an Emmy for his inspirational physical competition series, “The Titan Games.” With one of Hollywood’s biggest movie careers, a successful show on HBO, and now his own game show to oversee and mentor, The Rock is ready to demolish his first major award competition should he make the team.

Freshman Fire:

Besides the aforementioned Dwayne Johnson, newbies include James Corden from the global superstar search “The World’s Best” (CBS), Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman from arts and crafts competition show “Making It” (NBC), Lindsay Lohan from “Lindsay Lohan’s Beach Club” (MTV), Nick Cannon from “The Masked Singer (FOX),” and Mark L. Walberg for the rebooted “Temptation Island.” Corden and the “Parks and Recreation” alums appear to be the most Emmy-friendly from experience, but don’t count out Lohan as an alternative allure. The former Disney child star may be a tabloid and social media obsession, but Emmy voters relish a comeback kid to rally behind.

Among the streaming giants, Hunter March’s hosting skills on Netflix’s baking show “Sugar Rush” might be shelved for the adored men from “Queer Eye.” Ditto for drag queen host Alyssa Edwards for the documentary series “Dancing Queen.” Anti-streaming bias is going to play a huge factor in this category, making it twice as hard for newcomers who are just praying their show is renewed.

Guess They’re Contenders?

Despite winning four Emmys, Survivor’s Jeff Probst hasn’t heard his name get called since winning almost eight years ago. Never running out of steam or new ways to shake up tribal councils, Probst should be more of a staple than he is. It’s likely Ryan Seacrest will never win an Emmy if he didn’t for American Idol’s fake-out final season on FOX back in 2016. This being the long-running program’s quietest season ever despite the enormous talent pool makes a Seacrest nomination a long shot. Phil Keoghan’s low-key enthusiasm will continue to be his Achilles’ heel even if The Amazing Race racks up its 17th nomination for “Outstanding Competition Program.”

Top Chef’s Tom Colicchio and Padma Lakshmi actually have a decent shot at returning to this race since their last appearance nearly ten years ago. Their generosity of spirit has extended beyond their hosting duties, as they both advocated for late contestant Fatima Ali even after she tragically lost her battle with cancer at 29. The Season 15 contestant won a posthumous James Beard award earlier this spring. Cat Deeley’s numerous showings prove that the Television Academy cherishes hosts who treat their cast members like family.

Finally, there’s the matter of Bravo reclaiming the multi-nominated “Project Runway,” whose former hosts Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn lead the all-time recognition number in the field with a record nine nominations. Now that their gig has transferred to Karlie Kloss and Christian Siriano, it will be telling if newcomer prejudice either dashes it in favor of the more experienced or boosts their chances out of respect for the show.


  1. Anthony Bourdain — Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown (CNN)
  2. RuPaul Charles — RuPaul’s Drag Race (VH1)
  3. Dwayne Johnson — The Titan Games (NBC)
  4. Padma Lakshmi and Tom Colicchio — Top Chef (Bravo)
  5. Bobby Berk, Karamo Brown, Tan France, Antoni Porowski, and Jonathan Van Ness — Queer Eye (Netflix)


What do you think?

AC Fan

Written by Joseph Braverman

My name is Joseph Braverman. I am 31 years old and a graduate from the University of California, Santa Cruz with a Bachelor of Arts in Film and Digital Media. I love watching and analyzing films and television shows. I live in Los Angeles, CA, enmeshing myself in the movie industry scene in any way possible. Don't forget to follow me on Twitter @JBAwardsCircuit.

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