This year's Emmy Awards sees a few newcomers - and Betty White - vying against regular nominees in American television's annual prizegiving, writes Russell Baillie.

You've got to feel for Phil Keoghan. Yes, the expatriate reality television presenter already has a wall full of Emmy Awards as a producer of The Amazing Race.

The show has won the award for Outstanding Reality-Competition Programme eight out of the nine times it's been nominated since 2003. It's up for a 10th at this year's awards - the annual top prizes for American television - which take place in Los Angeles on Sunday (Monday, New Zealand time).

But Keoghan has also been a nominee in the Emmy for Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Programme since that category started in 2008.

Every year, he's lost out to Survivor guy Jeff Probst - as have the likes of fellow repeat nominee Ryan Seacrest.


The good news? This year Probst isn't nominated. The bad news? Probst's effective replacement in the category is Betty White. She's nominated there for her old-folk candid camera show Betty White's Off Their Rockers. And it could be that award voters might think giving the grand dame of American sitcoms yet another Emmy on the 60th anniversary of winning her first one just might make good television.

Meanwhile, in the reality-competition programme category, Keoghan's show faces some stiff competition from newcomer The Voice, the format which has revived waning interest in TV singing contests. Though newcomers don't necessarily have an advantage.

It's the nature of the Emmys that many of the same shows get nominated - and win - year in and year out and only the host changes (that's late-night talkshow guy Jimmy Kimmel this year).

This year the newcomers challenging the Modern Family-dominated status quo among the comedies are Veep and Girls.

Among the dramas, Homeland is the only first-season drama challenging repeat winner Mad Men, as well the likes of established shows like Boardwalk Empire, Breaking Bad, Downton Abbey and Game of Thrones.

Homeland won Outstanding Casting For A Drama Series at last weekend's pre-main event technical awards which might indicate there's a swing toward its leads Claire Danes and Damian Lewis in their respective actress and actor categories.

Click here to view the full list of this year's Emmy Award nominees.
What: The 64th Primetime Emmy Awards
When: Vibe Monday Sept 24, from midday (live) and 7.30pm (highlights); Prime 9.35pm