Emmys 2013: Jeff Probst, Carson Daly on taking on 'American Idol'

Emmys 2013: Jeff Probst, Carson Daly on taking on 'American Idol'
Carson Daly ("The Voice"), Cat Deeley ("So You Think You Can Dance"), Yvonne Villarreal (Los Angeles Times), Jeff Probst ("Survivor") and Mark Cuban ("Shark Tank") talk reality TV. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

Reality TV contestants have a reputation for being highly competitive, unabashedly outspoken and sometimes downright catty. The same isn't usually true of the shows' mild-mannered hosts — not without a bit of prodding, at least.

During a conversation at the Envelope Emmy Round Table about the challenges of gauging a show's success, "The Voice" host Carson Daly alluded to another popular TV singing competition but didn't name names.

"You look at shows that might put out an artist that infiltrates pop culture and becomes a top-10 [artist]," he said, "but meanwhile the ratings of their show are declining."

Fellow panelists Cat Deeley ("So You Think You Can Dance") and Jeff Probst ("Survivor") then pressed him: "Who are you talking about?"

"I didn't mention any shows, and I'm not going to," Daly replied.

"I'm going to challenge you," Probst said. "It's OK to say 'American Idol' because 'American Idol' has been the Death Star for a decade. It's wiped out more dreams because of its own power — it is inevitable it will begin to lose [momentum]. 'Survivor' is gaining on it, and we've been on for 13 years."

Daly then spoke about what he thinks differentiates "The Voice" from other singing competitions.

"We thought, let's help people," Daly said. "Let's not tell them, 'You suck, you're good, you're terrible.' Let's not make it about the coaches and whatnot."

For more from the panel, watch the video.