The Emmy race for Best Reality Host stayed mostly static for years since the category was established in 2008, carrying over mostly the same contenders from year to year. But now in the award’s 10th year there’s more turnover than ever. Only two nominees from 2016 returned in 2017, including the defending champ RuPaul Charles (“RuPaul’s Drag Race”). Is he a shoo-in to win again, or could he be upset by first-time contender Gordon Ramsay (“MasterChef Junior”)?
Ramsay is a veteran TV chef best known for his tirades against grown-up participants in reality shows like “Kitchen Nightmares,” “Hell’s Kitchen,” and “MasterChef.” He has spent nearly two decades on TV, but this is his first Emmy nomination, so voters may consider him due for a trophy to honor all his work in the medium. And though he might normally have a likability problem — on many of his shows, viewers may be more inclined to sympathize with his berated contestants — he’s actually nominated for the kinder and gentler “MasterChef Junior,” which features cooks aged 8-13 and a more supportive and nurturing Ramsay at the helm. So the combination of a lengthy TV resume and a cuddlier persona could give Ramsay an edge. (Watch our recent video chat with Ramsay here.)
But he still might face an uphill battle against Charles, who not only returns with his second nomination, but comes with a more widely embraced show. “RuPaul’s Drag Race” had just two bids in 2016, but now it has eight, including its first ever bid for Best Reality Competition Program and even one for Best Unstructured Reality Program for its online offshoot, “Untucked.” Meanwhile, Ramsay is the only nominee for “MasterChef Junior” this year. So with support for “Drag Race” exploding, it may be difficult for anyone to take Charles down.
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