While Brooke Burke waltzed off with the win in the seventh-season finale of "Dancing with the Stars," it is one of her three judges who could end up as an Emmy champ. Next fall, the judges of reality shows are slated to get their own Emmy category. Last September, show emcee Tom Bergeron lost the first-ever Emmy Award for reality host to Jeff Probst of "Survivor." While there are no judges on "Survivor," any or all of the "DWTS" trio could face strong competition from that triumvirate who sits in judgment on "American Idol."
Soon after this season of "DWTS" launched, Gold Derby readers favored feisty Bruno Tonioli as the likely winner of this new award, and he reaped slightly more than half of the 1,348 votes cast in our poll. His fellow judges lagged far behind, with Len Goodman registering 29% and Carrie Anne Inaba managing only 20% support. Throughout the ensuing weeks, all three judges have proven themselves to be every bit as entertaining as the celebrities who are dancing to impress them. And remember — the Emmy judges will be judging these judges based upon a sample of their work.
Goodman and Tonioli enthusiastically backed Burke from the start as a potential champ, and the public followed suit. Any of those rhapsodic reviews of her fancy footwork would make for a fine Emmy submission. However, on many of those shows, they were equally dismissive of Cloris Leachman. As the all-time Emmy winner rallied enough votes to last seven weeks before being eliminated, their comments could be construed as bad sportsmanship.
Indeed, on this fall's edition of the original British version of the show, "Strictly Come Dancing," these two judges railed continually against one contestant -- former BBC news anchor John Sergeant -- to no avail. The 64-year-old with two left feet proved to be the people's favorite and was kept in week after week by the public vote, despite low marks from the judges. Faced with overwhelming criticism from the panel and daunted by the prospect he might actually win, Sergeant withdrew from the show last week. The ensuing scandal tarnished the reputation of the reality show in old Blighty as going against the wishes of the audience. Luckily for Goodman and Tonioli, the American viewers went with the woman they thought to be the winner all along.
Photo: Associated Press