At a time when Viacom co-COO (and CBS TV chief) Les Moonves needed a friend at the Emmys, he found The Amazing Race ... again.

For the second straight year, The Amazing Race was awarded the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Reality/Competition Program, in the 2003-04 Emmy ceremony on September 19. It defeated two of its competitors from last year: CBS's Survivor (which was the first reality show to win an Emmy) and Fox's American Idol, along with two newcomers from NBC: The Apprentice, which was the pre-award favorite, and Last Comic Standing.

The triumph for The Amazing Race gave CBS a grand total of exactly two Primetime Emmys for the 2003-04 TV season; the other was a technical award for outstanding lighting at the Grammy Awards. Thus, without TAR, Moonves would have been staring at a humiliating Emmy wipeout at the same time that he was dealing with the fallout from the inexplicable and inexcusable two-week-long "Rathergate" scandal, which has done more to rock the reputation of Edward R. Murrow's old network than anything before ever did.

Because of CBS's lack of confidence in The Amazing Race, the only episode of the show shown in the 2003-04 season was Race 4, which aired during the summer of 2003. Race executive producers Jerry Bruckheimer, Bertram van Munster and Jonathan Littman, who already had to be pleased at the upcoming return of Race to primetime, now have a key opportunity to argue for a better timeslot for their show than the Saturday-night reality TV ghetto to which CBS first assigned it for 2004-05.

Even prior to TAR's second straight Emmy, speculation in Hollywood was that the delay in the broadcast date of TAR 6 was to give CBS an opportunity to find it a better time slot, building upon the show's summer ratings strength. Now, after The Amazing Race emerged as he ONLY CBS series to win an Emmy, we think that the speculation is very likely to become reality.

With its win, TAR ties Survivor as the reality show with the most Emmy victories: two. However, TAR is the only show to win two Best Program Emmys, as one of Survivor's Emmys was for Outstanding Sound Mixing - Nonfiction (the only Emmy that was NOT a "Best Program" Emmy ever won by a reality show).

CBS also has the only two reality-competition shows ever to win "Best Program" Emmys, with triumphs in three of the last four years (no reality-competition show won an Emmy in 2002; instead, the Emmy went to the ridiculously undeserving The Wast Wing: Documentary Special -- one of those awards that causes the Emmys to be treated as a joke in some showbiz quarters).

Thus, even though CBS may be struggling with audiences and critics in the rest of its programming, it still rules the reality-competition roost.

In a touch about as well-received as "Rathergate," the producers of the Emmy broadcast picked two random individuals to present the Outstanding Reality-Competition Award that ultimately went to The Amazing Race. According to Hollywood Reporter, the two people chosen were Amy Scholsohn from Orlando, Fla., and Bruce Milam Jr. from Joliet, Ill. -- who thought that they were going to appear on a new reality show spun off from ABC's Extreme Makeover, not present an Emmy. Nevertheless, they did about as well as Emmy host and former comic Garry Shandling .. which is not saying anything positive about their performance.