Do Emmy voters hate 'Jersey Shore' and Snooki?
Love it or despise it, MTV's "Jersey Shore" is one of cable's highest-rated programs. In fact, the fourth season premiere that took the cast to Florence, Italy, attracted more than 8 million viewers, a number that some network shows would kill to have. As it continues to succeed with viewers, the often-snooty Emmys continue to steer clear of the raunchy reality series, which has never been nominated even for a technical bid. Meantime, it's picked up a handful of Teen Choice Award nominations -- so what gives?
In the early 2000s, MTV had another reality hit, "The Osbournes," which chronicled the family life of heavy metal singer Ozzy Osbourne. Just like "Jersey Shore," this trashy show wasn't for the faint of heart. Sex, drugs and foul language were part of nearly every episode. However, not only did Emmy voters welcome "The Osbournes" with open arms, they crowned it the best nonfiction program of 2002.
So what did "The Osbournes" have that "Jersey Shore" is missing? Quite simply, heart. At the end of the day, the screaming, bickering parents and children in the Osbourne household clearly loved each other. That connection struck a chord with Emmy voters, who devoured every crazy moment. Ozzy, Sharon, Kelly and Jack were perhaps freakish but likable people and, surprisingly, even relatable, unlike the orange-colored housemates over at the Jersey Shore (or Miami, or Italy, or wherever they're currently filming). Snooki and the gang are much more self-centered and seem to worry only about furthering their endless quest for alcohol and bronzer.
Setting aside the unlikability factor for a moment, another big deterrent for "Jersey Shore's" awards shut-out could be the network it airs on. Over the past decade, MTV has amassed just a handful of Emmy nominations. Besides "The Osbournes," the only love Emmy has sent MTV's way has been for the annual Video Music Awards in the best art direction field. That kudoscast reaped bids in 2005, 2008 and 2011, and scored a victory in 2009. This factor is hardly surprising. MTV caters to a rather young audience, and Emmy voters tend to be much older.
The current "Jersey Shore" season set in Italy won't be eligible until the 2012 Emmys, but don't expect to see the series enter the reality series race any time soon. There are simply too many other worthy contenders out there, including this year's nominees "Antiques Roadshow," "Deadliest Catch," "Hoarders," "Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List," "MythBusters" and "Undercover Boss." If Awards Tracker can offer some advice to the "Jersey Shore" cast members for next year, it's this: Hug more, lust less and please stop smashing everything.
-- Tom O'Neil
Photo: Snooki in "Jersey Shore." Credit: MTV