Emmy spotlight: Voters, please stop snuffing Jeff Probst’s torch as Best Reality Host for ‘Survivor’

It’s time for Emmy voters to go back to rewarding the best reality show host on television: Jeff Probst. For 17 years and 34 seasons (and counting), Probst has hosted “Survivor” with passion and has been part of some of the most significant moments in reality TV history. Yet, Emmy voters have essentially moved on from him. Probst has hosted every season of “Survivor” since it began in 2000, and his drive to provide fans with an engaging viewing experience grows stronger with each season. His role on the show has expanded beyond hosting over the years, becoming a producer in 2003 then a full-blown executive producer in 2010 alongside original creator Mark Burnett.

The latest season, “Survivor: Game Changers,” featured Probst at the center of many big moments, particularly castaway Jeff Varner outing tribemate Zeke Smith as transgender at tribal council. Other hosts may have tried to exploit the moment, but Probst allowed Zeke to process what had just happened, going to other people for their reactions before allowing Zeke to speak his truth. While some bristled at CBS allowing this moment to air on national television, Zeke has since shared that Probst and company consulted with him to make sure they told his story the right way.

Probst also took the time to pay tribute to Sandra Diaz-Twine and Cirie Fields, two legends of the game, after they had been voted out. He supported Cirie during a reward challenge as she tried to get across a balance beam. With the support of Probst and her tribe, Cirie was finally able to do it, and Probst observed this to be “one of the most powerful moments on ‘Survivor.’” As a fan of the show himself, Probst goes above and beyond to provide millions of “Survivor” fans with this kind of compelling human drama.

Emmy voters have the opportunity this year to award Probst with a nomination for Best Reality Host. Probst has a fascinating history with the Emmys, winning this category in its first four years of existence from 2008-2011, and then never even getting nominated again. Once Emmy voters drop you they’re usually done with you, but “Survivor” remains one of the top-rated reality shows on television and regularly gets good reviews from critics. Both Probst and the show are long overdue for comeback nominations and this year would be a great time for it.

Only four of last year’s six Reality Host nominees are eligible to return this year, including winner RuPaul Charles for “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” The others are Tom Bergeron for “Dancing With the Stars,” Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn for “Project Runway,” and Steve Harvey for “Little Big Shots.” Probst could easily fill one of those available spots, though he faces tough competition from new hosts Alec Baldwin for “Match Game,” Anthony Anderson for “To Tell the Truth,” and Chris Hardwick for “The Wall.”

While it’s painful to think that “Survivor” and Probst will probably be ignored by the Emmys again this year, fans within the TV academy need to show the world that they are paying attention to what’s truly best. That means giving Probst your vote for Best Reality Host.

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