Marie Kondo, ‘Nailed It’ Shake Up Unscripted Categories at 2019 Emmys

Cynthia Littleton

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Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman are reunited again to bask in Emmy nominations — this time for their work as hosts of NBC’s unscripted crafting competition series “Making It!” Marie Kondo, the fastidious star of Netflix’s “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo,” could clean up at the ceremony with two noms, one as host of a reality or competition program, the other for structured reality show.But Kondo and the “Parks and Recreation” duo face high-wattage competition in the reality host field, starting with reigning champ RuPaul of “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” who is trying for a four-peat after owning the category since 2016. Two other perennial Emmy magnets are also up for hosting honors: Ellen DeGeneres for NBC’s “Ellen’s Game of Games” and James Corden for CBS’ “The World’s Best.”

The range of nominees across Emmy’s reality and unscripted series categories underscores how broad the content of unscripted programming has become. Viewers may not care much whether a show is considered “structured reality” or “unstructured reality” but Emmy voters face that challenge every year. The unstructured reality field this year is typically eclectic: Discovery’s “Deadliest Catch,” A&E’s “Born This Way,” Netflix’s “Somebody Feed Phil,” National Geographic’s “Life Below Zero” and VH1’s “RuPaul’s Drag Race: Untucked” are up against last year’s winner, CNN’s “United Shades of America With W. Kamau Bell.”

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Kondo’s competition in the (appropriately enough) structured reality arena ranges from Guy Fieri in Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” to the genealogists of TLC’s “Who Do You Think You Are” to the venture capitalists of ABC’s “Shark Tank” to last year’s winner, Netflix’s “Queer Eye.”

The reality-competition series race has been the toughest nut to crack for new shows. Netflix’s irreverent baking show “Nailed It!” was a surprise entry into the nominees circle this year against five returning noms including last year’s victor, “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” CBS’ “The Amazing Race,” NBC’s “American Ninja Warrior” and “The Voice” and Bravo’s “Top Chef” round out the category.

“Nailed It!,” a baking competition for less-than-skilled home cooks, nudged “Project Runway” out of the running for the first time since 2005. The shakeup for the perennial nominee (which has yet to win) came on the heels of “Runway” switching networks (leaving Lifetime after 11 seasons for its original home on Bravo) and changing up its host and designer mentors. But Magical Elves, the production company behind “Runway,” can’t be too upset about the way the nominations landed this year. Magical Elves is also responsible for “Nailed It! ” and “Top Chef.”

“Awards are always exciting and humbling and to see both ‘Nailed It!’ and ‘Top Chef’ nominated with the other outstanding series is such an honor for us as producers. These shows take a gallant team effort,” Cutforth and Lipsitz say.

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