‘It Gets Better’ faces Emmy titans ‘Sesame Street’ and HBO in Children’s Nonfiction Program race

Dan Savage, who writes a sex advice columnist, is one of the more unexpected Emmy nominees this year. He contends for Best Children’s Nonfiction, Reality or Reality-Competition Program for “It Gets Better,” which aired on MTV.

This was the TV offshoot of a project that began in the fall of 2010 when, in response to the suicides of young people being bullied due to their actual or perceived sexual orientation, Savage made a video with his husband,Terry Miller. The pair spoke about their own experiences of being bullied when younger and concluded that it got better as they got older.

Since then, thousands of videos have been uploaded to the project’s website. The contributors include celebrities, organizations and everyday people looking to send out a positive message. Among the highest profile people to participate are President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The other nominees are “Sesame Street: Growing Hope Against Hunger” (PBS) and “The Weight of the Nation for Kids: The Great Cafeteria Takeover” (HBO).

“Sesame Street” won seven primetime Emmys prior to the creation of the Daytime Emmys, including four for Best Children’s Program. At the Daytime kudos, the program has won an impressive 137 honors (including 26 for a series award of some sort) and reaped an additional 206 individual nominations. The show also received the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009. This marks the program’s first return to the primetime kudos since 1976. The special is also nominated in the writing category.

“The Weight of the Nation” (also nominated for Nonfiction Series) is produced by HBO Documentary Films president Sheila Nevins who has won 22 Emmy Awards as a producer with an additional 32 nominations. The other producers (John Hoffman, Shari Cookson and Nick Doob) have also played a part in several other HBO documentaries.

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