Ryan Seacrest has hosted “American Idol” for all 15 seasons but has never won an Emmy Award for his efforts. The TV academy didn’t introduce the Best Reality Host category until 2008, which was season seven for this FOX ratings juggernaut. Seacrest reaped six consecutive bids beginning that year but never prevailed. After being dropped from the category in 2013, can he stage an Emmy comeback?
Let’s take a look back at those earlier Emmy contests to get a sense of how Seacrest could pull off a win this year
In 2008, reality TV was so hot that the TV academy tapped the inaugural five nominees for Best Reality Host to emcee the Emmys. Seacrest was the frontrunner to win this first race against Tom Bergeron (“Dancing with the Stars”), Heidi Klum (“Project Runway”), Howie Mandel (“Deal or no Deal”) and Jeff Probst (“Survivor”). Probst pulled off an upset and won their next three match-ups as well.
How was Probst able to pull off this winning streak?
His episodes were far superior to his competitors. They always portrayed him as a likable hero in the middle of the action, often coming to the rescue of a contestant, or taking charge of the situation. Next to him no other nominee stood much of a chance. Seacrest’s episodes, by comparison, seemed ordinary. He would introduce the musical performances, banter with the judges, and console eliminated contestants.
When Probst was snubbed in 2012, it looked like Seacrest would finally win. Begeron was back for the fifth time as well while Phil Keoghan (“The Amazing Race”) was in contention for a fourth consecutive year, Cat Deeley (“So You Think You Can Dance”) was in the running for a second year and Emmy darling Betty White (“Betty White’s Off Their Walkers”) was nominated for the first year of her show.
Seacrest had won an Emmy in 2010, for producing “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution”) and was expected to win for the gig that made him a household name. But Bergeron pulled off an upset. The following year, the team of Klum and Tim Gunn won for hosting “Project Runway” against Bergeron, Deeley, Seacrest, White and newcomer Anthony Boudrain (“The Taste”).
Since, then, “American Idol” has suffered from constantly changing judging panels and repetitive song choices. Viewers gravitated to “The Voice” and returned to scripted television. Seacrest’s association with the much-mocked Kardashian reality shows didn’t help his profile with Emmy voters. As such, it wasn’t a shock when he was snubbed the past two years running.
Can Searcrest get back into the race and, if so, finally win?
For a category that has only been around eight years there is a precedent. Klum, as the lone host of “Project Runway” contended from 2008 to 2010. Then, after being snubbed for two years, she returned (with co-nominee Gunn) and won.
I was a fan of the early seasons of “American Idol” but then the original judges left and the contestants all started to blend together I turned my attention towards other shows. However, that will not stop me from watching end of an era in TV when the series finale of “American Idol” airs.
If Seacrest can ride this wave of nostalgia to a nomination, he will have to contend with the reigning two-time champ, the extremely likable and popular Jane Lynch who hosts “Hollywood Game Night”.
My suggestion to the producers of “American Idol” is to dedicate a segment of the series finale to Seacrest. Bring back the original judges, some past winners and contestants. Show clips of him at his most likable and caring. Dedicate a song to him and allow Seacrest to make a speech about how much being a part of “American Idol” has meant to him. Tug at the heartstrings and remind us he’s the only one who’s been there every season. Then, once the last piece of confetti has fallen launch a campaign reminding voters that he’s never won. I bet most voters probably think he’s already got a few Emmys for hosting “American Idol”.
Photo credit: Fox