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'Dancing' leads reality TV Emmy Awards field with eight nominations


By Christopher Rocchio, 07/19/2007 

Fourteen reality television shows received a total of 39 nominations in today's announcement of the 59th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards nominees -- with the number of shows and the amount of total nominations representing the highest ever for both.

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Leading the 2006-2007 reality TV Emmy Awards nomination field -- and knocking Fox's American Idol from the perch it held last year -- is ABC's Dancing with the StarsDancing with the Stars received eight nominations from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, the same number Idol received last year. (PBS' American Masters set a new all-time record number of nominations for a nonfiction program in a season with nine last year, breaking the eight nomination record that The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau had held since 1972.)

Dancing with the Stars received six nominations in its first primetime season last year and won two.  While Idol has been nominated a whopping 29 times since it was first eligible in 2003 -- including the seven it received this year -- the Fox mega-hit does not yet have a single Emmy Award win to its credit.

CBS' The Amazing Race, the most successful reality show at the Emmys with seven statuettes (including three last year), received five nominations, placing it second behind Dancing with the Stars and IdolThe Amazing Race has been nominated for five Emmys for three straight years.  Most notably, The Amazing Race was once again nominated in the Outstanding Reality-competition Program category, which it has won ever since the Academy first created the Emmy Awards category four years ago.

Discovery Channel's Deadliest Catch received four nominations in its second year of eligibility -- up from the three it received last year -- followed by Bravo's Project Runway, which received three nods for the second year in a row in its third year of eligibility.  ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (which has won the Outstanding Reality Program award two years in a row and is nominated in the category again this year) received two nominations -- as did Fox's So You Think You Can Dance and Bravo's Top Chef, marking the first time that either of the second-year eligible shows received any nominations.

Rounding out the nominations with one apiece are Discovery Channel's Dirty Jobs; Fox's Hell's Kitchen; A&E Network's Intervention; Bravo's Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List; Fox's On the Lot; and CBS' Survivor

Survivor was first eligible in 2001 when it received five nominations and scored two wins -- and while it may not have been victorious since then, it had also never received fewer than four nominations until this year.  If that weren't bad enough, Top Chef also managed to bump Survivor out of the running for Outstanding Reality-competition Program for the first time since the category was created in 2003.

For the second year in a row, both Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition will compete for the Best Reality Program Emmy against three nonfiction shows that -- despite the Academy's categorization -- would not normally be considered "reality TV" by most television viewers: PBS's Antiques Roadshow (nominated in the same category for the third straight year), Showtime's Penn & Teller: Bullshit! (nominated in the category for the fourth straight year), and National Geographic Channel's The Dog Whisperer (nominated in the category for the second straight year).

The 39 2006-2007 primetime season reality TV nominations (which required a program to air by May 31, 2007) continued the genre's upswing from 34 nominations in 2005-06; 26 nominations in 2004-05; 23 nominations in 2003-04; and 11 nominations in 2002-2003, the first year that a formal "reality TV" category was introduced to the Emmys. The 14 shows nominated is also up from the eight programs nominated in 2006 as well as the nine programs nominated in each of the two previous years.

In the network reality TV race, Fox was able to edge ABC in total nominations by a score of 11 to 10, while CBS and Bravo both had six and NBC had none.

The largest number of Emmys presented to reality shows for a single primetime season happened just last year, when The Amazing Race received three and Dancing with the Stars was awarded two for a total of five.  It bested the previous record of three, an occurrence that has happened three times: 2000-2001 (the first season reality shows were honored, with Survivor winning two and Fox's American High snagging the third); 2003-2004 (with three shows, The Amazing Race, Bravo's Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and ABC's Celebrity Mole: Yucatan each taking home one) and in 2004-2005 (with The Amazing Race winning two and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition picking up the third). In both 2001-2002 (MTV's The Osbournes) and 2002-2003 (The Amazing Race) only one reality TV program won an Emmy.

The top five reality television programs in all-time Emmy nominations are: Survivor (31), American Idol (29), The Amazing Race (20), Dancing with the Stars (14) and The Apprentice (8).

The 59th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards will be presented on Saturday, September 8 (in the "creative arts" categories) and Sunday, September 16 (in the "major" categories, including Outstanding Reality-competition Program).

A complete list of reality TV nominees for the 2006-07 Emmy Awards can be found here.

(Photo credit ABC)


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