RuPaul is on a roll, picking up his third consecutive Emmy on Sunday in the outstanding host for a reality or reality-competition program. But the “RuPaul’s Drag Race” team is really looking to make history next week, when they hope to become the first unscripted show to win both the host and the Reality-Competition Series Emmy in the same year.
RuPaul won in a category that, as IndieWire noted last month, may be one of the most diverse in the entire Emmy race this year. Although the world of TV hosts — particularly in late night — has been notoriously mostly white and male throughout TV history, things are changing. And this year’s nominees for reality-competition host was the best example of that: RuPaul was up against nominees of whom not a single one was a straight, white male: W. Kamau Bell (“United Shades of America with W. Kamau Bell”), Ellen DeGeneres (“Ellen’s Game of Games”), Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn (“Project Runway”), and Jane Lynch (“Hollywood Game Night”).
“RuPaul’s Drag Race” also won the Emmy this weekend for Outstanding Directing for a Reality Programming, for the episode “10s Across the Board” (directed by Nick Murray).
Now, on to next Monday. In the 15-year existence of the Television Academy’s reality competition category, only three shows have won: “The Amazing Race” (10 times), “The Voice” (four times), and “Top Chef” (once). And in the 10 years since the Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Series category was added, no show has ever picked up both in the same year.
But RuPaul is on a streak, having now won the host Emmy three times. If “RuPaul’s Drag Race” wins the reality competition Emmy this year, the show would manage to both break the reality-competition category stranglehold and pull off the first host/series double feat.
Could voters be ready for a switch? The Outstanding Structured Reality Series just saw a changing of the guard, as Netflix’s “Queer Eye,” a revamped version of Bravo’s “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” won in its first year of eligibility, against category stalwarts “Antiques Roadshow,” “Fixer Upper,” “Lip Sync Battle, ” “Who Do You Think You Are?” and last year’s winner, “Shark Tank.”
On the flip side, the Outstanding Unstructured Reality Series race went to incumbent winner “United Shades of America with W. Kamau Bell.” And as a posthumous tribute, “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown” won the Emmy for Outstanding Informational Series or Special, which it last won in 2016.