Isn’t it strange that “American Idol,” TV’s highest-rated show for nearly a decade, isn’t allowed to compete amongst television’s top tier at the Golden Globes? The series returns for its 11th season with a two-night premiere beginning Wednesday (Jan. 18) but don’t expect to see it nominated by the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. anytime soon.
Why? Because even though reality shows receive impressive ratings, they’re still considered by many to be inferior television. The Emmys took a major step in rectifying this problem in 2003 when they created their award for Best Reality-Competition Series, but the Golden Globes have remained stagnant in their ways.
In the nine years of Emmy’s new category, “The Amazing Race” has won all but one of those awards; it lost to “Top Chef” in 2010. “American Idol” has been nominated every year for the top reality trophy, but so far has never claimed victory. Whether this new season (with returning judges Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler) can change all of that remains to be seen.
In 2008, the Emmys made another bold move to prove that reality shows are here to stay when they added an award honoring TV’s Best Reality Host. That year’s kudoscast was even hosted by the five nominees: Jeff Probst (“Survivor”), Ryan Seacrest (“American Idol”), Tom Bergeron (“Dancing with the Stars”), Howie Mandel (“Deal or No Deal”) and Heidi Klum (“Project Runway”). While that fivesome’s Emmy hosting was universally panned by critics, Probst came out victorious with what would become the first of four consecutive Emmys.
Excluding reality shows is just one of many ways the Golden Globes mistreat their television branch. Every year the HFPA hands out well-publicized prizes for Best Film Director and Best Screenplay, while television helmers and scripters don’t even get an honorable mention.
The TV supporting prizes are also a jumbled mess, with performers in comedy, drama, telefilms and mini-series all competing against each other in a strange mismatch of genres. Of the 25 categories, only 11 go to the television circuit while 14 are bestowed upon movie actors, directors, writers, documentary producers … and even song writers.
The Globes have a lot of reorganizing to do, and including reality series on their roster would be one step in the right direction. As “American Idol” judge Randy Jackson would say, “This sounds pitchy, dawg.”