Even The Emmys Are Bearable With Flick Of A Finger

NBC should wish its Emmys results were a harbinger for business during the new season--one that'll also keep viewers' fingers off the clicker and fast-forward buttons on their remotes.

NBC won more Emmys than any broadcast network, 14. (HBO again took top honors for all networks, winning 26 trophies). In the broadcast category, ABC came in second with 11 awards.

By the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences' standards, it was probably a good day and night, as it was ATAS' intent to reveal unappreciated TV talent in the Emmy awards process by adding a new nomination layer of a blue-ribbon panel. Against its low fourth-place ratings finish the last two years, NBC was one of the not-so-anticipated winners at last night's Emmy event. Fox's "24," which won for best drama, was in this category as well, say critics, as was NBC's own "The Office," which won for best comedy.

How much were these underdogs?  "The Office," for sure.  "24," less so--considering that "The West Wing" and "The Sopranos"  have won a bunch.

The shocking part of the Emmys award process was already old business--and not on TV. It happened months ago. No nominations for "Sopranos"'s James Gandolfini and Edie Falco; nothing for ABC's "Lost" and "Desperate Housewives;" and one weird nomination for a 14-second cameo/appearance on HBO's "Mrs. Harris" for Ellen Burstyn (who herself played the lead role a couple of decades ago.)

So what's new?  Business-wise, the new world of digital TV was duly noted. Host Conan O'Brien made fun of DVRs and that fact that 15 percent of viewers could be watching the awards this morning--instead of live, last evening. In one awards category, cameras zoomed in on video clips on iPods and Treos that were being held by audience members Nice product placement.

NBC didn't leave any winnings to chance. As other networks have done that have aired the show, it used its own air to run promos for existing shows "My Name is Earl," "The Office"; new shows "Twenty Good Years," "30 Rock," "Studio 60" and, right after the Emmy show ended, its new drama "Heroes." In the case of "Earl" and "Office," NBC spelled it out, literally, by jokingly saying that having those shows nominated 10 times was a chance to "blatantly promote" the shows.

Was it bad? There were jokes, entertainment, and yes, tears. But some actors and bad segments got their just deserts from some viewers. So, NBC, you better watch out.

As my wife says, "With TiVo, anything is tolerable."

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