Nikki Finke Live-Snarks 65th Emmys: At Least TV Isn’t As Bad As Its Awards Show

65th Primetime Emmy Awards

The 65th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards by the Academy Of Television Arts & Sciences begins from the Nokia Theatre in Downtown LA at 5 PM PT today… Come for the cynicism… Stay for the subversion… Add your comment… Warning: Not for the easily offended or ridiculously naïve:

Yes, I’m interrupting my 19 weeks of banked vacation to live-snark the small screen awards. But only because the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences was hoping I wouldn’t. Seriously, its Board members counted on my beef with my boss  to keep me away tonight. As if Hollywerrd’s Queen Of Mean would miss an opportunity to kick the crap out of the primped and pampered inmates who run this asylum. Those who will get blamed for rotten reviews of tonight’s telecast are Emmys EP Ken Ehrlich and CBS Specials & Live Programming EVP Jack Sussman. [UPDATE: “Ehrlich is protected because AEG owns the venue and he delivers the Grammys for CBS. But Moonves may fire Sussman over this debacle,” says one of my sources.] Moonves attended Emmy events all week but texted the town that he’s attending his son’s birthday extravaganza and missing tonight’s awards show. Then he showed up in the opening video. Meanwhile, Emmy attendees want to watch tonight’s Dexter finale and Breaking Bad‘s Season 5 penultimate episode instead of Sir Elton John’s Liberace tribute sure to be god’s gift to kitsch. And news has leaked that Jon Hamm (Mad Men) and Amy Poehler (Parks & Recreation) are hosting a losers after party. [UPDATE: It’s at SoHo House. Bobby Cannavale said backstage, “If you go, you gotta give them $1,000.” ]

Related: Primetime Emmys 2013: Wins By Network

Deadline’s Nellie Andreeva nailed this advance scoop. Four-time Tony Awards host Neil Patrick Harris last hosted the Emmys 4 years ago, so telecast vets Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, Jane Lynch, and Conan O’Brien did a stale bit interrupting him onstage and offering even staler advice. (“Conan just got the most viewers he’s had in a long long time,” one of my watchers wagged.) The opening film imitates the opening Oscar montage and stars Harris binge-viewing the nominated shows and hilarity ensues. Yawn. The video complete with Moonves cameo as a security guard was directed by Troy Miller who has helmed all of Billy Crystal’s Oscar-opening films, and for that disastrous pairing of James Franco and Anne Hathaway (where she counted all of his lines), and for the 2011 Emmys opening with Jane Lynch. Pathetic, isn’t it, that only one guy in Hollywood is funny at awards time – and he’s not even a writer?

Oh wait. It’s lame. If this is the high point of tonight, then this live-snark will be a live-suicide.

According to Deadline’s Lisa De Moraes: “Worst opening since the parade of reality hosts.”

Good line from Harris about television: “For our younger audience, that’s the thing you watch on your phones.” He pretends to watch American Horror Story: Asylum on his contact lenses. “Pause…”

This opener is just going on and on. Why don’t they have Harris at least singing and dancing since he’s capable of both. Instead, we have to watch Fallon do a tapdance? (“I wouldn’t do anything like that. It’s far too gay,” chides famously out Harris.) Not 15 minutes gone and already pornography and homosexuality mentioned.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: No wonder half of America hates Hollywood.

Neil Patrick Harris wishes he had Duck Dynasty‘s audience. Their premiere last month scored 11.8 million viewers, while HIMYM‘s May 13 season finale only had 8.4 million watching. Harris should have hosted tonight’s show in camouflage.

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, in the audience wearing sunglasses and eating popcorn, demand that Harris start twerking. That segues into the night’s first presentation. Nice transition but needlessly stretched. Or, as Poehler wisecracks, “We’re being told the show is already 25 minutes too long…”) Deadline’s Dominic Patten emails me, “Look how Tina and Amy showed everyone what being watchable hosts are. No wonder the Golden Globes are begging them to come back.”

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series
Nurse Jackie • Showtime • Showtime Presents, Lionsgate Television, A Caryn Mandabach Production, Clyde Phillips Productions, Jackson Group Entertainment
Merritt Wever as Zoey Barkow

Beating out better known Mayim Bialik, Jane Lynch, Sofia Vergara, and Julie Bowen, Merritt Wever said barely a word in her acceptance speech. (Harris: “Best speech ever!”) Here’s why, according to Deadline’s Ray Richmond: At the Creative Emmys’ 3 hour and 40 minute marathon, winners were given only 45 seconds from the time they left their seat in the cavernous Nokia Theatre to reach the stage and make a speech as if double-parked and in fast-forward. The orchestra started playing off many even before they arrived at the podium. One female winner changed her shoes just so she could charge the stage. One overweight winner had a choice of either revealing his underwear or dropping his Emmy. (He did the latter – and broke it. It was that kind of night.) And yet unfunny presenter Gilbert Gottfried went on and on for 7 to 8 minutes while Triumph The Insult Comic Dog (voiced by SNL’s Robert Smigel) received 6 minutes for wisecracks while some winners were not even allowed to finish a sentence. Now that’s a bitch.

Outstanding Writing For A Comedy Series
30 Rock • Last Lunch • NBC • Broadway Video and Little Stranger, Inc. in association with Universal Television
Tina Fey, Written by
Tracey Wigfield, Written by

Tina, probably the funniest woman on TV, couldn’t put together more than a sentence.

“For every Smash, there’s a Splash.” Are the writers of this year’s Emmys still on vacation with me?

It’s going to be a long night. Can I get these hours of my life back?

Related: ‘Modern Family’ & ‘Breaking Bad’ Triumph On Night Of Upsets

Does anybody understand a word of what Robin Williams was saying about Jonathan Winters? And this guy is the draw for CBS’ network primetime newbie The Crazy Ones this fall? At the upfronts he, too, was the World’s Unfunniest TV Star now that he’s washed up in movies. [Long sigh.] Someone get him back on drugs or alcohol or both.

I admired the obvious Beauty And The Beast pairing of Jon Hamm and Alec Baldwin as presenters.

Outstanding Lead Supporting Actor And Lead Actress In A Comedy Series
Veep • HBO • Dundee Productions in association with HBO Entertainment
Tony Hale as Gary Walsh
Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Selina Meyer

Small but smile-inducing gag brought from Veep to the Emmy stage with Tony Hale reenacting his role on the HBO show as Julia’s literal bag man and behind-the-scenes mouthpiece. The only good thing about Louis-Dreyfus winning is that horrid Lena Dunham didn’t for a show that not only isn’t a comedy but isn’t even a dramedy. It’s just needless nudity. Be thankful for small favors, Hollywood. Even if nobody actually knows anybody who actually watches Veep.

Outstanding Directing In A Comedy Series
Modern Family • ABC • Picador Productions & Steve Levitan Productions in association with 20th Century Fox Television
Gail Mancuso, Directed by

With Gail Mancuso winning Outstanding Comedy Directing for Modern Family, this is the second time that girlpower has won the award. The last time was 20 years ago when Betty Thomas won for HBO’s Dream On.

Related: ‘30 Rock’s Tina Fey, Tracey Wigfield And ‘Modern Family’s Gail Mancuso Set High Mark For Female Comedy Writers, Directors

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Comedy Series
The Big Bang Theory • CBS • Chuck Lorre Productions, Inc. in association with Warner Bros. Television
Jim Parsons as Sheldon Cooper

Parsons beat out Jason Bateman, Matt LeBlanc, Don Cheadle, Louis C.K., and Alec Baldwin. But any regular watcher of The Big Bang Theory, and I am, knows that Johnny Galecki was far funnier last season than Jim Parsons whose Sheldon is increasingly written as one-dimensional whereas Leonard had all sorts of interesting prisms to his part. That said, Parsons (who first won in 2010) rushed through his acceptance speech like he was in 4X fast-forward and triple-parked.

Wasn’t Rob Reiner kicked out of Hollywood for making too many flop movies? Well, he’s out of the Witness Protection Program now to present a tribute to Jean Stapleton. Easy to forget he once had a career.

One hour and 15 minutes in, and you can understand why Netflix keeps gaining viewers.

Michael Douglas and Matt Damon intro Elton. My favorite part of Behind The Candelabra was how during filming Michael would call up his male and female pals and tell them the address “where I’m going to be ass-fucking Matt – so come and watch.”

Seriously, Elton, that’s what you wear? Understated marine blue without the obligatory yachting cap? And then he plugs a new and forgettable tune instead of playing a classic like “Your Song” for Lee. (“Acceptance speeches 45 seconds, Elton’s song 45 minutes,” one attendee emailed me.) Missed opportunity all the way round.

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Miniseries Or A Movie
The Big C: Hereafter • Showtime • Showtime Presents, Sony Pictures Television, Perkins Street Productions, Farm Kid, Original Film
Laura Linney as Cathy Jamison

Uh-oh, no show. Granted she’s the busiest working actress in America, but couldn’t Laura Linney have arranged to appear tonight to give a heartfelt speech about cancer and its survivors and succumbers? Another missed opportunity not just for the telecast but for what The Big C represented from its start. This is her fourth Emmy win and third in this category. (“Such a great actress, she didn’t even need to show up,” said Matt Damon.)

Outstanding Writing For A Drama Series
Homeland • Q&A • Showtime • Showtime Presents, Fox 21, Teakwood  Lane Productions, Cherry Pie Productions, Keshet
Henry Bromell, Written by

Downer. Not even the great Julian Fellowes can compete with a dead guy who passed away from a heart attack as recently as March.

And with that, callous Hollywood segues into the Cory Monteith tribute as a ratings ploy to attract young demos.

Carrie Underwood. Elton John. The demo for this Emmys is CBS geezer.

I’d say you couldn’t pay me to watch to the end. But I guess you can.

That ‘Excessive Hosting Disorder’ faux ad is the best navel-gazing network time suck that the writers can come up with? And, Arsenio, that might be the funniest thing you’ve done since your stuck-in-the-1990s show crawled back to broadcast. Even the GEICO camel is funnier.

So Harris finally does a song and dance ‘number in the middle of the show’. And it’s straight from the 1970s as if Hugh Hefner was hosting and Tommy Tune choreographing. Yuck.

If Nathan Fillion gets any fatter, he’s going to need his own channel. Hey, this guy sometimes doesn’t show up for work because he supposedly has a bad back. So what’s he doing in this dance number?

I don’t get Lena Dunham or Mindy Kaling. Why is TV filled with so many unfunny funnywomen?

Outstanding Reality-Competition Program
The Voice • NBC • One Three, Inc., Talpa Media USA, Inc. in association with Warner Horizon Television
John De Mol, Executive Producer; Mark Burnett, Executive Producer; Audrey Morrissey, Executive Producer; Stijn Bakkers, Executive Producer; Lee Metzger, Executive Producer; Chad Hines, Co-Executive Producer; Jim Roush, Co-Executive Producer; Amanda Zucker, Co-Executive Producer; Nicolle Yaron, Senior Supervising Producer; Mike Yurchuk, Senior Supervising Producer; Kyra Thompson, Supervising Producer; Teddy Valenti, Senior Producer; May Johnson, Producer; Carson Daly, Producer; Ashley Baumann, Producer; Keith Dinielli, Producer

Forget Mark Burnett’s self-congratulatory paen. At least Jon de Mol, the man who created the global TV non-scripted wave, finally gets acknowledged. The Voice is only the 2nd show to break The Amazing Race‘s winning streak in this category. And only because Maroon 5’s Adam Levine is a god to us all. (My favorite song? “Payphone”, of course.) Then again, without his tats, Adam could be just another optometrist on Long Island.

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Drama Series
Boardwalk Empire • HBO • Leverage, Closest to the Hole Productions, Sikelia Productions and Cold Front Productions in association with HBO Entertainment
Bobby Cannavale as Gyp Rosetti

Cannavale is a fine actor in a like-watching-paint-dry series. But Aaron Paul should have won. On the other hand, good to share the wealth. Paul has won the Best Supporting Actor category twice before for his Jesse Pinkman role on Breaking Bad and he’ll likely be back next year with his 5th nomination for the second half of Season 5.

Related: Primetime Emmys 2013: Wins By Program

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series 
The Newsroom • HBO • HBO Entertainment
Jeff Daniels as Will McAvoy

No Jon Hamm or Bryan Cranston or Hugh Bonneville or Damian Lewis? Or blowhard Kevin Spacey (who needs a better rug)? The fix was in for Jeff Daniels to win on a treacly show that few people watch and most of Hollywood hates. Either HBO paid off every final Emmy jurist. Or else Aaron Sorkin blew them. Definitely the night’s most unexpected win.

Sure, when I think of Sunday night entertainment, I think of the JFK assassination news announcement. Who in their right mind thought that was appropriate? And shouldn’t not Don Cheadle but Martin Sheen have narrated this segment since he’s played every Kennedy clan member?

As for the 1963 tribute, one of my watchers emails: “Hold on Emmy, you got Elton John to play a song no one knows. But you couldn’t get Paul McCartney to come on even though he’s in town doing Jimmy Kimmel tomorrow? And, by the way, “Yesterday” was released in 1965 not 1963.”

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series
Homeland • Showtime • Showtime Presents, Fox 21, Teakwood Lane Productions, Cherry Pie Productions, Keshet
Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison

Another well-deserved win for Danes who can do no wrong. Even I can’t find anything to snark at. She looked lovely and glamorous and does crazy better than anybody. For all intents and purposes she is the Meryl Streep of the small screen now, a more showy successor to Laura Linney.  Yay, Claire! But you know there’s a huge problem when the most entertaining stuff of the night is her Audi commercial,

Outstanding Directing For A Drama Series
House Of Cards • Netflix • Donen/Fincher/Roth and Trigger Street Productions, Inc. in association with Media Rights Capital for Netflix
David Fincher, Directed by

No show. Fincher can’t get arrested for Oscar’s Best Director but wins this Emmy. Go figure. At least Kevin Spacey was tied to the 18th hole by Les Moonves and couldn’t get onstage to diss broadcast TV yet again. Meanwhile, Michael Kelly was heading down the aisle to accept the award on Fincher’s behalf but turned around when the presenters grabbed the gold.

Outstanding Writing For A Variety Series
The Colbert Report • Comedy Central • Hello Doggie, Inc. with Busboy Productions and Spartina Productions
Opus Moreschi, Head Writer; Stephen Colbert, Writer; Tom Purcell, Writer; Rich Dahm, Writer; Barry Julien, Writer; Michael Brumm, Writer; Rob Dubbin, Writer; Jay Katsir, Writer; Frank Lesser, Writer; Glenn Eichler, Writer; Meredith Scardino, Writer; Max Werner, Writer; Eric Drysdale, Writer; Dan Guterman, Writer; Paul Dinello, Writer; Nate Charny, Writer; Bobby Mort, Writer

Outstanding Variety Series
The Colbert ReportComedy Central • Hello Doggie, Inc. with Busboy Productions and Spartina Productions

Stephen Colbert, Host/Executive Producer; Tom Purcell, Executive Producer; Jon Stewart, Executive Producer; Meredith Bennett, Co-Executive Producer; Rich Dahm, Co-Executive Producer; Barry Julien, Co-Executive Producer; Tanya Bracco, Supervising Producer; Emily Lazar, Supervising Producer; Paul Dinello, Supervising Producer; Matt Lappin, Supervising Producer

My prediction is that Colbert will succeed Letterman now that he owns these categories. And Stephen thanking his wife for “being so cruel and sexy” was pretty cool and sexy. Though it’s also rather obvious that his comedy writing team is as much of a boy’s club as it was in Carson’s caveman era. Having finally dethroned his Daily Show pals in Variety Series, Colbert remarks about his boner, “Jon never told me how good this feels.”

Obligatory shots of Academy Of Television Arts & Sciences chief Bruce Rosenblum and outgoing COO Alan Perris. Must suck for Bruce that the moment he appeared onstage the producers cut to Kevin Spacey in the audience. They must be hoping for jobs with Kevin Tsujihara.

Outstanding Directing For A Variety Series
Saturday Night Live • Host: Justin Timberlake • NBC • SNL Studios in association with Universal Television and Broadway Video
Don Roy King, Directed by

Saturday Night Live now passes Frasier with most Emmy wins ever: 40.

Outstanding Choreography
Dancing With The Stars • Routines: Hey Pachuco / Para Los Rumberos / Walking On Air • ABC • BBC Worldwide Productions
Derek Hough, Choreographer

My spies in the auditorium tell me everybody is frustratingly restless and furiously texting.

This show needs a filter from Instagram.

Is this Emmys high-fiving TV or Neil Patrick Harris or CBS sitcoms? #Puking.

From one of my watchers: “This is making the Tonys seem straight by comparison.”

Outstanding Writing For A Miniseries, Movie Or A Dramatic Special
The Hour • BBC America • A Kudos Film and Television / BBC America
Abi Morgan, Written by

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Miniseries Or A Movie
American Horror Story: Asylum • FX Networks • 20th Century Fox Television
James Cromwell as Dr. Arthur Arden

It’s official: I’ve fallen hopelessly behind. Because I keep staring at the screen slack-jawed. This show has turned me into one of those fly-over-country mouth-breathers who hate Hollywood. Only with good grammar and spelling.

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Miniseries Or A Movie
Political Animals • USA • Berlanti Productions and Laurence Mark Productions in association with Warner Horizon Television
Ellen Burstyn as Margaret Barrish Worthington

About all the In Memoriam tributes, one of my wags says, “I’m watching The Walking Dead.”

From another of my designated viewers: “Oscar just called Emmy to say ‘thanks’.”

Related: Surprisers And First-Timers Lift Telecast – But Did It Have To Be So Sad?

Outstanding Directing and Lead Actor And Miniseries, Movie Or A Dramatic Special
Behind The Candelabra • HBO • Jerry Weintraub Productions in association with HBO Films
Steven Soderbergh, Directed by
Michael Douglas as Liberace
Jerry Weintraub, Executive Producer; Gregory Jacobs, Producer; Susan Ekins, Producer; Michael Polaire, Producer

Slam-dunk for Soderbergh who’ll keep vowing until he’s 90 that he’s about to retire. And Michael Douglas let loose the sexual innuendos in a sensational slutty speech allowed to extend full-length as he addressed his onscreen lover. “Matt, this is a 2-hander. And you’re only as good as you’re other hand. You deserve half of this. So you want the bottom or the top? The top? I figured that.”

Outstanding Comedy Series
Modern Family • ABC • Picador Productions & Steve Levitan Productions in association with 20th Century Fox Television
Steven Levitan, Executive Producer; Christopher Lloyd, Executive Producer; Danny Zuker, Executive Producer; Dan O’Shannon, Executive Producer; Bill Wrubel, Executive Producer; Paul Corrigan, Executive Producer; Brad Walsh, Executive Producer; Jeffrey Richman, Executive Producer; Abraham Higginbotham, Executive Producer; Jeff Morton, Executive Producer; Ben Karlin, Co-Executive Producer; Becky Mann, Producer; Audra Sielaff, Producer; Elaine Ko, Producer; Chris Smirnoff, Producer

Not Modern Family again for Outstanding Comedy Series and the 4th time. But Steve Levitan should have won an individual award for the opening line of his all-too-brief acceptance speech: “This might be the saddest Emmys ever but we couldn’t be happier.” He was cheered for rare candor by this proudly dishonest Industry audience.

Outstanding Drama Series
Breaking Bad • AMC • Sony Pictures Television
Vince Gilligan, Executive Producer; Mark Johnson, Executive Producer; Michelle MacLaren, Executive Producer; Melissa Bernstein, Co-Executive Producer; Sam Catlin, Co-Executive Producer; Peter Gould, Co-Executive Producer; George Mastras, Co-Executive Producer; Thomas Schnauz, Co-Executive Producer; Moira Walley-Beckett, Supervising Producer; Bryan Cranston, Producer; Diane Mercer, Producer; Stewart A. Lyons, Produced By

Deserved win for Breaking Bad and Sony TV’s Steve Mosko gets a nice shout-out for backing this bleak meth mayhem. “Holy Crap, I did not see this coming,” said Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan on taking Outstanding Drama Series. “I thought this was going to be House of Cards.” So did Netflix, Vince.

I’m breaking glad that FX idiot-in-chief John Landgraf tonight was almost blanked. I’m now going to watch Breaking Bad. I’d call this Emmys “Breaking Sad”.

Related: Primetime Emmys 2013 Winners’ List

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