Since the Emmys established a category for Best Reality Host in 2008 it has been one of the most static at the awards, carrying over most of the same contenders from year to year. But 2017 could bring in more new nominees than ever before, thanks to a number of new or revived game shows this season hosted by established Emmy favorites. Will we see a drastic changing of the guard?
In 2016 there was a big change: RuPaul Charles earned his first nomination and win for “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” while Steve Harvey earned his first bid for “Little Big Shots.” But the other four nominees were old favorites: Tom Bergeron (“Dancing with the Stars”) for the ninth time, Ryan Seacrest (“American Idol”) for the seventh time, Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn (“Project Runway”) for the fourth time together (Klum had another three noms on her own), and Jane Lynch (“Hollywood Game Night”) for the third time. But some of those perennial favorites may have to step aside.
This season ABC revived a number of classic game shows, including “The $100,000 Pyramid” hosted by Michael Strahan, “Match Game” hosted by Alec Baldwin and “To Tell the Truth” hosted by Anthony Anderson. The network also introduced “The Toy Box” hosted by Eric Stonestreet, in which a panel of children judge amateur toy-makers to decide who gets their product made.
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Key to these shows’ potential Emmy success is that their hosts are already familiar to Emmy voters. Baldwin and Stonestreet are both two-time winners for “30 Rock” and “Modern Family,” respectively, while Anderson is a three-time nominee for “Black-ish.” Even Strahan has an awards pedigree, having won two Daytime Emmys for hosting “Live with Kelly and Michael.” Being a past Emmy favorite undoubtedly helped Lynch win this category twice (2014-2015), and it helped Betty White earn three nominations for the prank show “Betty White’s Off Their Rockers.”
Also new to the ballot is another past Emmy champ, Chris Hardwick, who debuted this season on NBC’s “The Wall,” which doles out cash prizes by dropping balls down a four-story pegboard, similar to the Plinko game on “The Price is Right.” Hardwick previously won a pair of Emmys for Best Creative Achievement in Interactive Media for his Comedy Central variety game show “@midnight.”
Or perhaps Emmy voters might like to make it up to Norman Reedus. He and his co-stars on “The Walking Dead” have never been nominated for Emmys, but Reedus is now also the star of another AMC series, the motorcycle-focused reality show “Ride.” Also headlining an unstructured reality series this year is past Emmy nominee Michael K. Williams, whose Viceland series “Black Market” explores illicit trade throughout the world. But working against both Reedus and Williams is the fact that this category has overwhelmingly favored the hosts of reality competition shows over the years.
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