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IN CONTENTION / TOM O'NEIL

Real Competitors

June 11, 2008|TOM O'NEIL

THE BOOMING reality TV genre really exploded during the writers strike, but the Emmys added only one new category -- for hosts. That means scads of TV's hottest shows must all cram into a tight space while award watchers wonder: Who will be voted off Emmy Island? Meanwhile, with "Meerkat Manor," "Deadliest Catch" and "Autism: The Musical," the nonfiction category is stronger than ever. Some dates for voters to keep in mind: The deadline to return nominating ballots is June 20; nominations will be announced July 17.

REALITY- COMPETITION PROGRAMS

FAVORITES

"The Amazing Race"

"American Idol"

"America's Next Top Model"

"Big Brother"

"Celebrity Apprentice"

"Dancing With the Stars"

"Hell's Kitchen"

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Saturday, June 14, 2008 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 36 words Type of Material: Correction
In Contention: The In Contention column on potential Emmy nominees in Wednesday's edition of The Envelope said "E! True Hollywood Story" has never been nominated for the prime-time television award. The show has received three nominations.

"Oprah's Big Give"

"Project Runway"

"Survivor China/Survivor Micronesia"

"Top Chef"

SPOTLIGHT: This category is truly the most amazing Emmy race every year, considering that "Amazing Race" has never lost, zooming past TV's most popular reality show -- indeed, TV's most popular show, period -- "American Idol" for five years in a row.

POSSIBLES

"America's Got Talent"

"Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?"

"The Bachelor: London Calling"

"Biggest Loser: Couples"

"Deal or No Deal"

"Design Star"

"Iron Chef America"

"Last Comic Standing"

"The Next Food Network Star"

SPOTLIGHT: Admit it, you wonder what game shows like "Deal or No Deal" and "5th Grader" are doing in this category. Well, they do have the requisite element of competition, but they're here because there's nowhere else to put them at the prime-time Emmys. There aren't enough game shows airing after 8 p.m. to merit their own category.

LONG SHOTS

"American Gladiators"

"Clash of the Choirs"

"Don't Forget the Lyrics"

"Randy Jackson Presents America's Best Dance Crew"

"Real World/Road Rules Challenge"

"Rock of Love 2"

"Step It Up and Dance"

"Your Mama Don't Dance"

SPOTLIGHT: It would be not only ironic but downright criminal if the TV academy gave Randy Jackson an Emmy for keeping "America's Best" to himself while his other show let Taylor Hicks become that season's Idol.

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REALITY PROGRAMS

FAVORITES

"Antiques Roadshow"

"Celebrity Rehab"

"Dog Whisperer"

"Extreme Makeover: Home Edition"

"How to Look Good Naked"

"Intervention"

"Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List"

"Man vs. Wild"

"MythBusters"

"Tim Gunn's Guide to Style"

SPOTLIGHT: Last year's champ, Kathy Griffin, is going to be a hard act to follow after her speech in which she went out of her way to not thank God. "This award is my god now!" she proclaimed.

POSSIBLES

"Ace of Cakes"

"Cops"

"Dirty Jobs"

"Ghost Hunters"

"The Hills"

"Kitchen Nightmares"

"Throwdown With Bobby Flay"

SPOTLIGHT: How ironic it would be to give a showbiz award to that towering TV celebration of the fake showbiz scene -- "The Hills," in which bimbos with no discernible talent chase after celebrity equivalents with even less.

LONG SHOTS

"Dog the Bounty Hunter"

"Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives"

"Dr. 90210"

"Flip This House"

"Hogan Knows Best"

"Keeping Up With the Kardashians"

"Life of Ryan"

"Real Housewives of Orange County"

"Rob and Big"

"Run's House 4"

"The Real World: Hollywood"

"Scott Baio Is 46 . . . and Pregnant"

"Shaq's Big Challenge"

"Wife Swap"

SPOTLIGHT: Hulk Hogan -- reality TV rejuvenated his career when he shared his personal life, then his wife jilted him and his son went to jail. If anyone deserves a good night, it's him.

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HOST OF A REALITY TV PROGRAM

FAVORITES

Tom Bergeron, "Dancing With the Stars"

Tim Gunn, "Tim Gunn's Guide to Style"

Phil Keoghan, "The Amazing Race"

Carson Kressley, "How to Look Good Naked"

Heidi Klum, "Project Runway"

Howie Mandel, "Deal or No Deal"

Cesar Millan, "Dog Whisperer"

Ty Pennington, "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition"

Drew Pinksy, "Celebrity Rehab"

Jeff Probst, "Survivor"

Ryan Seacrest, "American Idol"

SPOTLIGHT: This new category was created so reality hosts could finally win an Emmy, but some actually did so in the past along with producers when their shows won a program award. Now they're disqualified from that, so that means it's possible that Keoghan and Pennington could be left behind if they lose here and "Amazing Race" or "Extreme Makeover" win without them.

POSSIBLES

Wayne Brady, "Don't Forget the Lyrics"

Julie Chen, "Big Brother"

Jeff Foxworthy, "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?"

Padma Lakshmi, "Top Chef"

Mario Lopez, "America's Best Dance Crew"

Alison Sweeney, "Biggest Loser: Couples"

SPOTLIGHT: Don't write off Wayne Brady. A few years ago, he pulled off a notorious upset at the Daytime Emmys, winning the talk show host category in 2002 and beating out even the favored Ellen DeGeneres (he's the only host ever to beat her) and even after his variety show was canceled!

LONG SHOTS

Laila Ali, "American Gladiators"

Elizabeth Berkley, "Step It Up and Dance"

Guy Fieri, "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives"

Chris Harris, "The Bachelor: London Calling"

Niki Taylor, "Make Me a Supermodel"

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