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'The Amazing Race' producer brushes off Trump's Emmy win criticism


By Christopher Rocchio, 06/17/2010 

Bertram van Munster has brushed off Donald Trump's recent comments that The Amazing Race "doesn't deserve to win" the Emmy for Outstanding Reality-Competition Program.

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"[Trump is] completely entitled to his opinion, but he's a real estate man," The Amazing Race executive producer told The Los Angeles Times in a Thursday report.

"It's tough to take seriously a guy who isn't even in my profession."

The Amazing Race is the only show to win the Emmy for Outstanding Reality-Competition Program since the category was first created in 2002, which Trump labeled a "shame."

While van Munster said he doesn't see The Amazing Race as an annual slam dunk in the category, he also understands why the CBS reality competition has been annually honored by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

"I'm always honestly surprised and extremely honored to win every time, but by the same token I feel we earn the accolades with our extraordinary casting and storytelling. Compared with a lot of other reality shows, we're non-formulaic and truly unpredictable," he explained to The Times.

"It's all about avoiding being stagnant, and no one works harder at staying fresh and imaginative than we do on this show."

Trump also previously claimed The Amazing Race is a perennial winner "because they know how to politic the Emmys," which reality producer Lamar A. Damon agrees with -- as he told The Times the series has "the longest list of credits of any show -- scripted or reality -- on TV."

"And all of those people are members of the TV academy because they work on that show," Damon told The Times.

John Leverence, senior vice president of awards for the Academy, dismissed the claim -- citing the "rigorous" vetting process protecting the Outstanding Reality-Competition Program judging panel.

"Last year, we had 152 people sign up to vote in that category. They come from a broad peer group cross-section of the academy, from film editors to production executives to art directors. No one with any affiliation to a nominated show is permitted to serve on a panel," Leverence told The Times.

"Ultimately, then, we have to conclude that the reason The Amazing Race keeps winning every year is that it's Emmy-worthy and generates the votes."

Executive producer Conrad Green -- who has seen his Dancing with the Stars defeated by The Amazing Race for the last several years -- still argued that it's "the same group of voters" casting ballots in the category each year.

"It's hard to break people's habits in that respect," Green told The Times.

Leverence said a two-year limit for voting panelists in the Outstanding Reality-Competition Program category will be instituted this year to address the "same voters" issue, according to The Times.

Despite all the uproar over The Amazing Race's seemingly unbreakable grip on the category, Jeff Collins -- who producers The CW's Fly Girls and WE tv's Bridezillas -- thinks the recognition is deserved.

"It's probably the best reality show on television," Collins told The Times. "You can also argue that it's the most difficult show to produce because it travels all over the world. And it's got the broadest appeal. So if Amazing Race always wins the Emmy, well, maybe it's because it should."

Nominations for the 62nd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards will be revealed July 8.

(Photo credit CBS)


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