No, it's not a mistake.
As the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences announced the nominations for the 55th annual primetime Emmy Awards yesterday, many were baffled by the list of nods in the reality/competition program category.
Vying for an Emmy are reality favorites American Idol, The Amazing Race, Survivor and--100 Years of Hope and Humor and AFI's 100 Years ... 100 Passions: America's Greatest Love Stories? Has the TV Academy lost its grip on reality?
According to Variety, the problem lies in the category's name, which until this year was known as "nonfiction program (special class)." That primetime category was created in 2001 to reward the growing reality TV genre, or, as the Academy put it, to award a trophy to "programming that depicts people and/or events in dramatic circumstances with the primary intent to entertain."
This year, however, the Academy decided to rename the category to a more modern sounding "reality/competition program," but neglected to revise the category's eligibility requirement. The result is a strange mishmash of shows that just don't fit in any other category. The newly renamed category is also dubbed "area awards," which means programs are not competing against each other and could all receive trophies--provided two-thirds of the category's judges approve.
TV Academy awards VP John Leverence told Variety that with the continually growing roster of competition-style reality shows such as Survivor, it is probable that Academy officials will consider another category change in the future.
"There will probably be a lot of discussion about converting this into a series category, where the reality shows compete head-to-head," Leverence said. "That's probably the direction we're heading with reality. And then maybe a new special-class award for the orphan shows that don't fit anywhere else."