Hosts With the Most

What makes an Emmy-worthy emcee?

More Emmy coverage  
Sorry, Simon -- you're not eligible.

The Emmy rulebook states that a nominee in the best reality host category must be a "master of ceremony," not a judge. But even with a limited field of contenders, prognosticating a 2-year-old category is difficult.

CBS' "Survivor" host Jeff Probst must be considered a favorite because he won the inaugural award and, as Emmy voters have shown with six-time series winner "The Amazing Race," they return to old favorites. Plus, after 18 seasons, he has become an integral part of the show.

That's true for all of last year's nominees: "American Idol" (Fox) host Ryan Seacrest is now a smooth guide for viewers and a foil for the judges; Tom Bergeron brings charm and class to ABC's "Dancing With the Stars" and Howie Mandel's comic touches elevate NBC's "Deal or No Deal." (Heidi Klum, a nominee last year, isn't eligible this year because "Project Runway" did not air).

Filling Klum's slot could be ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" host Ty Pennington, who rarely gets credit for the show's tear-jerking success. Tyra Banks is a force of personality on the CW's "America's Next Top Model"; Alison Sweeney's empathy drives NBC's "The Biggest Loser" and Chris Harrison helped fuel a ratings resurgence this season on ABC's "The Bachelor." The TV academy might even venture onto cable with an unconventional choice like National Geographic's "Dog Whisperer" host Cesar Milan or Drew Pinsky for VH1's "Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew."

Or perhaps a nod will go to "Amazing Race" host Phil Keoghan, who learned sign language this season to communicate with the show's first deaf contestant.

But for "Race" to start dominating another reality category might be more than the unscripted community can stand.