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Emmy's Reality-Host Experiment Rankles

The five nominees for best reality hosts kicked off the Primetime Emmys with thanks for being welcomed into the Emmy family. I’m not sure the feeling was mutual.

From where I sat, which was neither in the audience nor in front of the TV, the experiment with having all five as hosts fell pretty flat.

But as the nominees came back to the press room, there was an undeniable air of resentment, beginning with Jeremy Piven expressing confusion at the opening bit and peaking—so far—with Kirk Ellis, whose acceptance speech for winning as the writer of John Adams was cut short by the music.

Asked what it was he was trying to say—about the importance of free speech, I believe—he vented at the scourge of reality TV.

“I find it very interesting that we can have 30 minutes of the show devoted to reality hosts,” Ellis said. “But we don’t have enough time for the people who actually create the shows.”

When the winning reality host, Jeff Probst, made it back, he was asked if he caught the bad vibes.

“We knew all along it was going to be tough,” Probst said. “We’ve never done this before except for Ryan.” He thanked Jimmy Kimmel for the advice and guidance he offered, including late-night e-mails. But he said it was difficult coordinating bits among five hosts: “That’s why we came up with nothing.”

By Joel Topcik