Feinberg Forecast: What Critics' Choice TV Awards Mean for Emmy Reality Noms

THR's awards analyst dissects the results of last Sunday's show to see if they offer clues about how the three reality Emmy races will play out.
Jordin Althaus/Syfy
'Face Off'

A version of this story first appeared in the June 12 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

A handful of turn-of-the-century reality shows — among them Survivor, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and The Osbournes — spawned a full-fledged genre encompassing so many programs of so many sorts that the TV Academy now needs three different categories to adequately recognize them: outstanding reality-competition program, for shows that revolve around games and contests (along the lines of The Amazing Race); outstanding structured reality program (think Antiques Roadshow), for shows that have a recurring format of some other kind; and outstanding unstructured reality program, for shows that just kind of follow people around and see what they do (like Duck Dynasty).

Since the SAG Awards and the Golden Globes don’t recognize the reality genre, the only awards ceremony that holds clues to reality Emmy noms is the Critics’ Choice TV Awards, which took place May 31. But even the CCTAs' predictive value is limited. Why? Voted on by the 84 members of the Broadcast Television Journalists Association (including yours truly), the CCTAs honor reality in only two categories, best reality-competition series and best reality series, the latter of which the TV Academy in 2014 split into two.

The 2015 CCTAs’ first twist: The winner of its reality-series award — ABC’s Shark Tank, in which entrepreneurs pitch projects to investors — won last year in the competition category at both the CCTAs and the Emmys. It’s unclear why its classification changed at the CCTAs and/or if it also will for the Emmys. Note: Before Tank, only one winner in the CCTA's reality-series category even landed a nom at that year’s Emmys — Hoarders, back in 2011.

Second twist: This year’s shocker reality-competition winner — Face Off, Syfy’s prosthetic-makeup-artist battle — was recognized for its eighth season, having earned only one previous CCTA nom and zero Emmy recognition. Still, its prospects can’t be discounted: Historically, the winner in this CCTA category has gone on to land an Emmy nom in all four years when both were presented, and the two most recent CCTA winners (The Voice and Shark Tank) also won an Emmy that same year.