Female hosts in uphill battle for awards


Amid all the fierce competition and isolation of the "Top Chef" production, Padma Lakshmi finds herself mothering the contestants.

"I read them their horoscope and tell them news from the outside world," says the host and judge of Bravo's Emmy-nominated cooking series. "If there's a bomb in Times Square, I tend not to tell them that. I have great compassion for them. They're away from their families and they never know what's coming at them."

Lakshmi is part of a small sorority of female hosts on Emmy-nominated reality shows. Of the 12 nominees in the two years of the host award, she is one of only two women recognized (along with Heidi Klum of Bravo's "Project Runway"). No woman has won. This despite an increasing number of female hosts of major broadcast and cable hits.
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In casting NBC's "The Biggest Loser," "they wanted sensitivity," recalls Alison Sweeney, who got the host job. She believes female hosts can be more emotional and help audiences create a relationship with the contestants.

"I always want to get more personal and I think that's because I'm a woman," says "Big Brother" (CBS) host Julie Chen, who interviews houseguests as they are eliminated. "I'm always looking to dig into the emotional stuff."

"So You Think You Can Dance" (Fox) host Cat Deeley admits she becomes dangerously attached to the contestants.

"I actually call them my babies," she says.
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