Jimmy Fallon breathed some welcome life into the usual tedium of awards shows last night. The Emmys actually were fun enough to keep this jaded awards-averse viewer watching through to the end. I even held off my "Mad Men" viewing until 11 p.m. Fallon has that rare talent of being entertaining through sheer earnestness alone. Even when the lyrics of his comic tunes aren't particularly clever, he manages to sell it with his boyish eagerness to please. The opening skit, giving Springsteen's "Born to Run" the "Glee" treatment got us on the kid's side right off. Alas, NBC, which otherwise was trying to do the full Monty of online video complements, didn't push its best moment out to the Web.
When PaidContent's Stacy Kramer asked NBC via Twitter why we weren't getting this great show intro online - an obvious viral sure-thing - the network replied, "Wish we could, but we have restrictions on what we can post online." Were the song licensing rights getting in the way? Can't the entertainment industry figure out a way to sensibly create licensing clearinghouse methods for this sort of thing? Two decades of digital evolution and we are still left in 2010 having to rely on water cooler descriptions of last night's best moment on an awards show? C'mon!
Our favorite swiper of TV footage, Dan Abrams' Mediaite site didn't let a little thing like rights violations keep it from posting the sequence, however.
The viral potential of the show's best set bits is obvious this morning when you visit the Most Viewed page on NBC.com's Emmy page. The very funny skit from "Modern Family" on a network exec's new ideas for freshening the program is the most popular clip of the night. Ricky Gervaise's short routine (ending with his serving beer to the front rows) is second. Audiences know what they want.
Otherwise, NBC was trying to expand its online complements to the show with backstage UStreams and reposts of winners. Morning-after viewers had to suffer through the same pre-roll for an auto advertiser before every clip and navigate through a video player and Web site interface that were thornier than they needed to be. When it comes to leveraging that two-screen experience, we remain a distance away from a clear signal.