On Wednesday, Fox introduced the radical revamping of the judges panel: Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler in, and Simon Cowell, Kara DioGuardi and Ellen DeGeneres out. Randy Jackson, who has been with the show since day one, remains as one of the trio who sit in judgment on the singing hopefuls, and Ryan Seacrest will continue to host.
"American Idol" had its best shot at snagging the Emmy crown this year, submitting the two-hour finale as the sample episode to Emmy judges. Not only did the episode showcase the competitive element of the series, but there was a touching tribute to the curmudgeonly Cowell, who was leaving the show to launch the U.S. version of his Brit hit, "The X Factor." Surprisingly, Seacrest submitted a different episode -- one in which he interacts with the nine remaining contestants -- for the reality-show-host race. Jeff Probst ("Survivor"), who has won in both years of this category, prevailed once more.
As part of Aerosmith, Tyler has taken home four Grammys, all for best rock performance by a duo or group with vocal: "Janie's Got a Gun" (1990); "Livin' on the Edge" (1993); "Crazy" (1994); "Pink" (1998). The group has contended for 17 Grammys in total. Lopez lost both her Grammy races for best dance recording and her two Latin Grammy bids as well. However, she has a pair of American Music Awards and two MTV VMAs to show for her song styling, such as it is.
Photo: Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson at the Forum in Inglewood on Wednesday. Credit: Genaro Molina /Los Angeles Times
"Call the paramedics!" tweeted Kathy Griffin upon losing the Emmy for best reality program to her nemesis. "I'm putting myself on a 5150 psych hold (a la Britney) 72 hours in a padded cell, far, far away from @RyanSeacrest."
Griffin also tweeted lots of other reax, but many are not quotable for this family-friendly organization. In addition, she tweeted the photo below of herself with fellow Emmy loser Kristin Chenoweth at the Governors Ball after the Creative Arts ceremony.
In our webcam chat with Griffin last week, she fumed with worry about her upcoming showdown with Seacrest. If you haven't seen it, tune in — she's hilarious.
Last month I made the bold prediction that "American Idol" would finally win the Emmy for best reality competition program, based on viewing the episodes submitted to judges. At that point I thought Ryan Seacrest had a good chance to win for best reality host too because I assumed that he also submitted the season finale, in which he got lots of quality face time. Nope. Below is the list of actual submissions. Our Emmy guru Rob Licuria (AwardsHeaven) has viewed them all and thinks Jeff Probst will prevail as best host for a third year in a row, based on the strength of his "Survivor" entry. Rob says Ryan's eppy is good but that nothing can beat Jeff's powerhouse segment.
BEST REALITY HOST: EPISODE SUBMISSIONS Tom Bergeron, "Dancing with the Stars" ("Episode 1001") Phil Keoghan, "The Amazing Race" ("Nanna is Kicking Your Butt") Heidi Klum, "Project Runway" ("Sew Much Pressure") Jeff Probst, "Survivor" ("This is the Man Test") Ryan Seacrest, "American Idol" ("Episode 930/931A")
"If you're going to start throwing Ryan Seacrest around, then you just want me to burst into tears and have this interview be nominated for best dramatic actress next year!" Kathy Griffin gasps during our webcam chat about her Emmy bout for best reality program.
Of course, I had to mention Seacrest up front. It's too juicy, bizarre and hilarious that Griffin's "My Life on the D-List" is nominated against a program ("Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution") produced by her old nemesis. Their feud dates to 2005 when Griffin replaced Joan Rivers as E! network's red-carpet host at the Golden Globes, then lost the job to Seacrest when a hubbub erupted over her joke that 11-year-old Dakota Fanning had gone into rehab.
To appreciate the irony of their current Emmy battle, it's key to keep two points in mind:
1.) Griffin is obsessed with the Emmys. In this interview, she confesses that she carried "Emmy and Emily" (the statuettes she won in 2007 and 2008) around so much that they got damaged, needed welding. Last year she told Gold Derby, "I'll trade my mother for a third Emmy!" (Her show lost to "Intervention.")
2.) Griffin jokes about Ryan Seacrest relentlessly — and savagely.
Now that Seacrest, of all people, has invaded the Emmy category she feels she owns (she's been nominated for four years in a row), she's freaking out.
"I think the jury is in – we have proof," she says. "Ryan is clearly trying to kill me!"
Griffin worries that the Emmys themselves may be out to get her. "I still don't have tickets to the primetime Emmys even though I won two and I'm nominated for two again," she notes eerily. "I've offered to the academy to be a seat-filler. You know what would be funny? Seeing me sitting next to Kyra Sedgwick when Kevin Bacon goes to the bathroom."
Griffin does have tickets to the Creative Arts Emmy ceremony -- what she nicknames "the Schmemmys" -- where her category will be decided on Aug. 21. She's talking about not having tickets to the main prime-time telecast eight days later.
I invite Griffin to sit with me backstage in the general press room. "You can get me a press pass?!" she gasps gleefully. "I'm really serious about this because I think this is a really funny idea and nobody else would do it. Do you really think you could get me a press pass or will they so no? Just look into it!"
Griffin has good reason to worry that she's still in trouble with Emmy chieftains. When she won in 2007, she said at the podium, "A lot of people come up here and thank Jesus for this award. I want you to know that no one had less to do with this award than Jesus."
She went on to hold up her Emmy, make a racy remark about Christ and proclaim, "This award is my god now!" Her speech was so blasphemous that it was censored when telecast by E! network and reported in print media. The academy issued an unprecedented apology.
When Griffin was nominated again the next year, she promised to be good if she won, but she dropped F-bombs when she was called to the stage, adding, "I'm not going to tell anyone to suck it. I would make love to this thing if I could."
So I ask her now: What will she do this year if she wins?
"If I win, let me just say something that is water-cooler talk, but will not get me banned from anything or kicked off anything," she replies. "It will just leave you with a hint of excitement and regret."
In addition to "Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution," the other shows competing against Griffin's "My Life on the D-List" for the Emmy as best reality program are "Antiques Roadshow," "Dirty Jobs," "MythBusters" and "Undercover Boss."
Below is the list of episodes entered. It's curious that Ryan Seacrest didn't submit the season finale of "American Idol." Instead, he opted for episode 30 (nine finalists perform). This category has only existed for two years, and "Survivor" emcee Jeff Probst has won both times. In the past, the prize was bestowed during the main telecast, but this year it will be handed out a week earlier at the Creative Arts ceremony.
Tom Bergeron, "Dancing with the Stars" ("Episode 1001") Phil Keoghan, "The Amazing Race" ("Nanna is Kicking Your Butt") Heidi Klum, "Project Runway" ("Sew Much Pressure") Jeff Probst, "Survivor" ("This is the Man Test") Ryan Seacrest, "American Idol" ("Episode 930/931A")
BEST REALITY HOST
Photos: Jeff Probst, left, and Phil Keoghan. Credit: CBS
The award for best reality program is bestowed at the creative arts ceremony held Aug. 21 — that's eight days before the main Emmy telecast by NBC. DVDs and ballots for the creative arts contests were mailed to judges last week. Final votes must be received by accountants by Aug. 10. The award for best reality host will be doled out on the Aug. 29 Emmycast. That means that ballots and those DVDs are being shipped to voters this week. Votes are due by Aug. 17.
BEST REALITY PROGRAM "Antiques Roadshow" ("Atlantic City, Hour One") "Dirty Jobs" ("High Rise Window Washer") "Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution" (Episode 101) "Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List" ("Norma Gay") "Mythbusters" ("Duct Tape Hour") "Undercover Boss" ("Waste Management")
BEST REALITY HOST "The Amazing Race," Phil Keoghan ("Nanna Is Kicking Your Butt") "American Idol," Ryan Seacrest (Episode 930/931A) "Dancing With the Stars," Tom Bergeron (Episode 1001) "Project Runway," Heidi Klum ("Sew Much Pressure") "Survivor," Jeff Probst ("This Is the Man Test")
Why does "Amazing Race" keep winning the Emmy race for best reality/competition show every year? Can "American Idol" ever win? And can Ryan Seacrest finally claim the Emmy contest for best reality TV host? Answers: Yes. For two reasons:
1.) "Idol" producers submitted the finale to Emmy judges, which is exciting, heart-felt and twice as long as rival episode entries.
2.) Simon Cowell. Yes, "American Idol's" resident rascal may finally do something good for the show. Whether he means to or not.
Here's who I predict will score bids when Emmy Awards nominations are unveiled Thursday morning:
BEST DRAMA SERIES "Breaking Bad" "Damages" "Dexter" "Mad Men" "The Good Wife" "Lost"
ALTERNATES: "Big Love," "Friday Night Lights," "House M.D.," "Sons of Anarchy," "Treme"
BEST COMEDY SERIES "The Big Bang Theory" "Curb Your Enthusiasm" "Family Guy" "Glee" "Modern Family" "30 Rock"
ALTERNATES: "Community," "How I Met Your Mother," "Entourage," "Nurse Jackie," "The Office," "Parks and Recreation," "Weeds"
BEST DRAMA ACTOR Simon Baker ("The Mentalist") Bryan Cranston ("Breaking Bad") Michael C. Hall ("Dexter") Jon Hamm ("Mad Men") Hugh Laurie ("House") Timothy Olyphant ("Justified")
ALTERNATES: Matt Bomer ("White Collar"), Kyle Chandler ("Friday Night Lights"), Matthew Fox ("Lost"), Peter Krause ("Parenthood"), Denis Leary ("Rescue Me"), Bill Paxton ("Big Love"), Wendell Pierce ("Treme"), Kiefer Sutherland ("24")
BEST DRAMA ACTRESS Glenn Close ("Damages") Mariska Hargitay ("Law & Order: SVU") January Jones ("Mad Men") Julianna Margulies, "The Good Wife") Katey Sagal ("Sons of Anarchy") Kyra Sedgwick ("The Closer")
ALTERNATES: Sally Field ("Brothers and Sisters"), Anna Gunn ("Breaking Bad"), Holly Hunter ("Saving Grace"), Melissa Leo ("Treme"), Anna Paquin ("True Blood")
BEST COMEDY ACTOR Steve Carell ("The Office") Alec Baldwin ("30 Rock") Larry David ("Curb Your Enthusiasm") Matthew Morrison ("Glee") Jim Parsons ("The Big Bang Theory") Tony Shalhoub ("Monk")
ALTERNATES: David Duchovny ("Californication"), Joel McHale ("Community"), Thomas Jane ("Hung"), Charlie Sheen ("Two and a Half Men")
BEST REALITY HOST (Front-runners) Tyra Banks, "America's Next Top Model" Tom Bergeron, "Dancing With the Stars" Phil Keoghan, "The Amazing Race" Heidi Klum, "Project Runway" Padma Lakshmi, "Top Chef" Drew Pinsky, "Celebrity Rehab" Jeff Probst, "Survivor" Joan Rivers, "How'd You Get So Rich?" Ryan Seacrest, "American Idol" William Shatner, "Shatner's Raw Nerve" Donald Trump, "Celebrity Apprentice"
SPOTLIGHT: Jeff Probst is a true "Survivor," having won both years of this category's existence. Three other contenders received repeat nominations and, thus, will probably return: Tom Bergeron, Heidi Klum and Ryan Seacrest. That leaves two open spots.
(Possible) Perez Hilton, "The Bad Girls Club Reunion" Cat Deeley, "So You Think You Can Dance" Cesar Milan, "Dog Whisperer" Ty Pennington, "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" Tom Papa, "The Marriage Ref"
"With Conan O'Brien out at NBC, who will now host the Emmy Awards this August?" asks our moderator Chris "Boomer" Beachum in the forums. "He had hosted the previous two times the ceremony was on NBC and was certainly going to be the host again before everything changed.
"Before you shout out 'Jay Leno,' I seriously doubt that the academy or even NBC wants the publicity nightmare that would cause. The only thing in Leno's favor is that he was offended when Conan hosted the past two times. It wouldn't be beyond him to add that to his newly renegotiated NBC contract."
The peacock web will obviously want to stick with members of its network family such as Jimmy Fallon, Steve Carell, Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, Amy Poehler etc. Personally, I like the idea of teaming up Fallon or Carell with Fey or Poehler — or Fey and Poehler together. A combo not mentioned in our forums is one I'd like to volunteer: Andy Samberg and Justin Timberlake, who won an Emmy together in 2007 for that naughty song about you-know-what in a box. They were nominated last year for "Motherlove."
Chelsea Handler and Ryan Seacrest are on this list because Comcast owns both NBC and E! Entertainment Network. Why not toss them in, eh? Seacrest hosted successfully as solo emcee in 2007 and shouldn't be blamed for that train wreck of five reality-TV co-hosts the next year. Seacrest was merely riding that train; bad writers crashed it.
On Saturday at the Nokia Theatre we caught up with Emmys co-host Ryan Seacrest rehearsing his other emcee gig — E! network's pre-show. Also starring in this video from the E! team: faux "America Ferrera" and "Heidi Klum."
• Those tart-tongued terrors of kudosfest fashion, Joan and Melissa Rivers, are back. After exiting E! and TV Guide Channel, those rascally gals have done fashion punditry on line for VH1 and AOL. Now they're signed up to dish Emmywear for MyHollywood.com. A five-minute webisode can be seen at the site soon after the Emmycast begins on Sunday night. It'll include their barbs on best- and worst-dressed stars plus an "Ooooh! Shoe Review" linked to online shoe retailer Zappos.com. READ MORE
• Emmy-nominated writers of "Mad Men" (Matthew Weiner, Robin Veith), "Pushing Daisies" (Bryan Fuller), "Recount" (Danny Strong) and "John Adams" (Kirk Ellis) shared behind-the-scenes tattle on their TV shows during a panel chat at the Writers Guild of America headquarters in L.A. the other day. Revealed: what inspired the pigeon-shooting scene on "Mad Men" and the fact that it took poor Ellis longer to write "John Adams" than the tenure of our second U.S. president. Cynthia Littleton of Variety.com reports the dish HERE.
• It's obviously all in fun, but fists flew and so did a few studio chairs when Jimmy Kimmel asked the five cohosts of the Emmycast how much money they're getting for their emcee duties. More of the interview can be seen on Kimmel's pre-show airing at 7 p.m. ET on Sunday. (Yes, hosts of award shows do get paid, but dollar sums are always kept hush-hush.)