In reality, few are voted off

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While the drama and comedy series categories enjoyed a renaissance this year, aside from honoring reality hosts for the first time Emmy's major unscripted categories largely followed last year's script.

The competition series nominees are CBS' five-time winner "The Amazing Race," Fox's "American Idol," ABC's "Dancing With the Stars" and Bravo's "Project Runway" and "Top Chef," all of which were in the category last year.

Jane Lipsitz, executive producer of "Chef" and "Runway," is back in a position of competing against herself. This time, there's the added twist that she's leaving "Runway" when the series shifts to Lifetime next year.

"We're just so thrilled about both 'Top Chef' and 'Runway,' particularly 'Top Chef' since last year was the first year it was nominated," she said. "It's particularly meaningful for 'Runway' because we're finishing up our last season, so we're emotional about the show right now. Getting nominated for it is important and special."

For the second consecutive year, CBS' "Survivor" is notably absent from the competition series list. The snub is even more surprising this year as the veteran reality show's most recent cycle garnered strong critical praise.

"I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I was a little disappointed that 'Survivor' wasn't nominated," said the show's Jeff Probst, who picked up a nomination in the host category. "We're coming off two of our very best seasons."

The nominees for outstanding nonfiction series also are familiar. Discovery Channel's "Deadliest Catch," PBS' "American Masters," Bio's "Biography" and Bravo's "Inside the Actors Studio" all received nominations again this year.

Showtime's "This American Life" is the only newcomer, filling a spot vacated by Discovery's one-off miniseries "Planet Earth."

Outstanding reality program has a couple of new faces, with A&E's "Intervention" and Discovery's "Dirty Jobs" landing in the category for the first time, joining returning nominees ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," Bravo's "Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List" and PBS' "Antiques Roadshow."

"Dirty Jobs" executive producer Craig Piligian said his expectations were so low that he didn't even know Emmy nominations were being announced Thursday.

"I'm pleased and excited and humbled by it; it's a good little show," Piligian said. "(Host) Mike Rowe works so hard for it. He gets hurt and bit and cut, and we're pleased the academy has responded to it."

Ryan Seacrest ("Idol"), Tom Bergeron ("Dancing"), Howie Mandel (NBC's "Deal or No Deal"), Heidi Klum ("Runway") and Probst ("Survivor") were the first inaugural nominees for host of a reality-competition series, the second major unscripted Emmy category added in the past six years as the reality TV field rapidly expands.

"I'm not about to try and shrug it off as no big deal," Probst said. "It kicks ass. There are a ton of really good hosts who weren't nominated, but I'm certainly delighted I was one of the ones selected."

Bergeron was more subdued.

"Even if my name had not been among the five nominees, I'm just pleased the category exists," he said.

Still, Bergeron already has worked up a strategy to beat the competition: "I'm going to have dimples put in to compete with Probst, shaving my head to compete with Howie, waxing my legs to compete with Heidi and cutting 20 years off my résumé to compete with Ryan."

Kimberly Nordyke contributed to this report.
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