Reality Hosts Bumped From Emmys Telecast

Ryan Seacrest, Jeff Probst and their fellow nominees will move to the lower-profile Creative Arts Emmys

Reality programs may have changed the face of television, but NBC and the TV Academy have decided that its hosts are not ready for prime time.

In a marked departure from two years ago, when six reality-show hosts served as the emcees of the Emmy Awards, the Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program category has been moved out of the August 29 telecast, and will be handed out the previous week at the Creative Arts Emmys.

The category has been in existence for two years; both years, it was handed out on the Emmys telecast, and was won by Jeff Probst of “Survivor.”

2008 Emmy HostsAccording to Variety, the category’s nominees –  Probst, Tom Bergeron from “Dancing With the Stars,” Phil Keoghan from “The Amazing Race,” Heidi Klum from “Project Runway” and Ryan Seacrest from “American Idol” – were informed of the change this week.

Seacrest, Probst, Bergeron and Klum hosted the Primetime Emmys telecast in 2008, along with Howie Mandel from “Deal or No Deal.” (red-carpet photo, right) The move – and the seemingly unscripted nature of their banter – drew almost unanimously negative reviews. 

A spokesperson for the television Academy told Variety that the move was made due to concerns that the show would run overtime unless the number of categories was cut. For the first time in six years, the Emmys will include the presentation of the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award (to George Clooney), which likely will take significantly more time than a normal award.

None of the nominees appear on shows broadcast on NBC, which this year will air the Emmys. The past two shows were aired on CBS and ABC, both of which had nominees from their shows. 

The Academy declined to comment further. NBC referred questions back to an Academy spokesperson.

Primetime Emmy Awards are handed out in more than 100 categories. Typically, between 25 and 30 categories are handed out on the Emmys telecast, with the rest relegated to the Creative Arts Emmys, which will be televised in an edited form five days after they take place.

(At the Grammy awards, by contrast, fewer than a dozen of the 100-plus awards make it on the telecast.)

The Outstanding Reality Program – Competition category, which has been won by “The Amazing Race” all seven years of its existence, has been handed out on the Emmys telecast each year. The other chief reality-TV category, Outstanding Reality Program, is awarded on the Creative Arts show.

Speaking to TheWrap on Wednesday, comedian Kathy Griffin – who has won two Emmys in the Outstanding Reality Program category for “Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List,” said she refers to the marathon Creative Arts Emmys show as “the Schmemmies.”

“You have to go to that show once in your lifetime,” she says. “It’s seven hours you’ll never get back, but you have to sit through it once.”

(Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

CORRECTION: The original version of this story said that the Creative Arts Emmys were non-televised. As a reader pointed out, an edited version of the show appears on E! several days after the event takes place.