September 22, 2013


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Written by: Mitch Salem
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Welcome to SHOWBUZZDAILY’s live coverage of the 2013 Emmy Awards!  Will this be the year Netflix storms the barricades with House of Cards?  Will the Academy decide it can love a sit-com as much as it does Modern Family?  Stay tuned…

(All Times PDT)

5:02PM:  CBS came awfully close, but the Jets game ended just slightly too late for the awards to start on time.  Still airing post-game commercials…

5:03PM:  But hey, at least the Jets won.

5:05PM:  We’re on, with a binge-watching gag, host Neil Patrick Harris chatting with clips.  Over/under on the number of minutes until the first joke about everyone really wanting to watch Breaking Bad?

5:07PM:  Show open:  underwhelming.  But here’s NPH with his opening monologue.

5:12PM:  It’s a gathering-of-former-Emmy-hosts sketch!

5:15PM:  Tina and Amy (inevitably) to the rescue, after a start worthy of no more applause than blase Al Pacino is giving it.

5:16PM:  First Award!  Comedy Supporting Actress goes to Meritt Wever!  Defeating the forces of Modern Family and 30 Rock combined!  Is a new wind really blowing through the Emmys?  Wever is terrific, and if there were only two of her, she could be a regular on both Nurse Jackie and New Girl.  And kudos for the speedy acceptance speech, too.

5:25PM:  Not so much with the revolution, as 30 R0ck wins a valedictory writing award.  But the presenting, with the writers contributing fun pre-tapes, and the acceptance speeches are marvelously droll.

5:28PM:  But the surprises aren’t over, as the Modern Family phalanx is defeated by Tony Hale from Veep.  (It probably didn’t hurt that he was in everyone’s mind for Arrested Development too.)

5:30PM:  No doubt Robin Williams is really here because of his new CBS series starting this week, but his salute to Jonathan Winters is clearly heartfelt.

5:37PM:  Julia Louis-Dreyfus was even better on the 2d season of Veep than the first… but for the love of God, will no one give Amy Poehler an Emmy?

5:39PM:  The best thing about the Louis-Dreyfus/Tony Hale gag is that no one stops to explain it–either you watch the show, or you don’t.

5:40PM:  More CBS product placement, this time for the woeful The Millers.  Will Arnett and Margo Martindale are funnier here than they are in the pilot.

5:44PM:  Guest Actress winner/presenter Melissa Leo doesn’t get to plug her #1 movie Prisoners, but she’s great in it.  Meanwhile, the Academy didn’t forget Modern Family, as Gail Mancuso wins Best Comedy Director.

5:46PM:  Comedy Actor goes to Jim Parsons (again) for Big Bang Theory, making CBS very happy.

5:49PM:  Scattering obituaries throughout the entire telecast (now Rob Reiner bidding farewell to Jean Stapleton) is classy, but… grim.  The body count tonight may be higher here than on Breaking Bad.

5:50PM:  Cutting directly from the Jean Stapleton in memorium to 84-year old Bob Newhart?  Someone thought this was a good idea?  Really?  They don’t even let him speak to show off his good health.

5:58PM:  The middle hour of the Emmys, between the Comedies in Hour 1 and the Dramas in Hour 3, may be the most yawning abyss in the world of televised awards shows.  (Is that Breaking Bad whispering that it’s airing just a click away?)  CBS trying to get things off to a start with Elton John saluting Liberace, but the lugubrious song is just increasing the death-warmed-over feel of the show so far.  The Michael Douglas/Matt Damon intro was nothing but earnest, and so far even NPH is off his game.

6:03PM:  Death theme anyone?  Laura Linney wins Movie/Miniseries Actress for The Big C, a show that never really deserved her (or the rest of its fine cast).

6:12PM:  The combo How I Met Your Mother product placement/NPH joke is mildly clever, but no more.  Guess they couldn’t get Ryan Seacrest to take part…

6:14PM:  Is the Drama Writing award to Homeland a tip-off to Best Drama?  Hard to tell, since it went not just to the standout episode of the season (Q&A), but to Henry Brommell, the very respected writer who has passed away since it aired.

6:15PM:  Take that, all you Skyler-haters!  Anna Gunn wins Drama Supporting Actress for Breaking Bad, so it’s definitely a horserace.  Not clear how the awards are organized this year–they gave out one Movie/Miniseries award, and now they’re on dramas?

6:16PM:  More death, with the salute to Cory Monteith of Glee.  Most depressing awards show ever?

6:26PM:  The “Middle of the Show” number is probably meant to be cheesy Vegas parody (everyone say meta!), but it’s coming off as just cheesy.

6:30PM:  NBC just collectively plotzed, as The Voice became the first network show to beat The Amazing Race in–well, ever.  (Cable did it once.)  Mark Burnett throws a big shout-out to NBC exec Paul Telegdy, and the NBC promo department adds “Emmy Award Winning” to the 9 million Voice promos that were already going to air in the next 24 hours before its season debut.

6:35PM:  The pairing of Diahnne Carroll and Kerry Washington to present is a genuinely stirring moment, even if no one gets Carroll’s Lloyd Nolan joke.  “She better get this award!” Carroll says of Washington and Best Drama Actress.

6:38PM:  Perhaps the biggest shock of the night so far, as Bobby Cannavale wins Drama Supporting Actor over Jonathan Banks, Peter Dinklage, Aaron Paul, Mandy Patinkin and Jim Carter.  Cannavale appears stunned, and rightly so.

6:40PM:  Scratch that:  the biggest shock of the night is definitely Jeff Daniels beating Bryan Cranston, Kevin Spacey, Damian Lewis, et. al for The Newsroom.  “Well, crap!” Daniels says, echoing just about everyone.

6:44PM:  Instant thought on Daniels’s astonishing win is that Academy voters just can’t get over the idea that “acting” is reading enormously long, complicated dialogue.  This is to take nothing away from Daniels, who’s excellent even when Sorkin’s material isn’t, but… still.

6:46PM:  As far as I know, I haven’t taken any drugs today, so in the last 10 minutes, did we really have wins by Bobby Cannavale and Jeff Daniels against some of the greatest performances in TV history, and now a segue from JFK’s assassination to the “I Have a Dream” speech to Carrie Underwood singing a Beatles song?  This is all really happening?  Just checking.

6:52PM:  A special award for the guy sliding off-screen during NPH’s promo!!

6:55PM:  Some logic is restored to the universe, as Claire Danes wins Drama Actress.  (But oh, in that parallel deserving winners universe, Tatiana Maslany is stepping to the podium.)  Some more death theme, as Danes thanks Henry Brommell.

6:58PM:  Dean Norris is introduced by NPH without even a mention of Breaking Bad, because, you know, Under the Dome is on CBS.  So much for class.

7:00PM:  Drama Directing goes to David Fincher, because nothing is more impressive to Emmy voters than a movie guy who deigns to work in TV.  Isn’t it time for that attitude to change?

7:01PM:  If anyone deserves a standing ovation (for his first Emmy ever!), Bob Newhart does.

7:05PM:  The pre-tapes for the Variety writing award are always fun, with the child beauty pageant clips for Real Time best.  And The Colbert Report finally edges out The Daily Show!

7:10PM:  It’s been a few minutes since the Grim Reaper got a shout-out, so here’s Michael J. Fox, saluting the late Gary David Goldberg as he prepares to star in the first series he’s ever starred in without Goldberg.

7:17PM:  The American Horror Story: Asylum part of the Best Choreography musical number reminds me of when the theme from The Omen was nominated for Best Song at the Oscars.

7:20PM:  This is why it’s bad when your show gets 4 of the 5 nominations in a category, as Dancing With the Stars beats the multitudes from So You Think You Can Dance for Choreography.

7:22PM:  The writing award wasn’t a fluke, and The Colbert Report wins Best Variety Show.  Colbert is an extremely gracious winner.

7:25PM:  Edie Falco pays tribute to James Gandolfini, the In Memorium everyone was waiting to see.  Falco keeps it together, just barely, and it’s hard not to feel the same.

7:30PM:  Anna Faris, to her credit, looks horribly uncomfortable when forced to participate in a mid-commercial break promo.

7:31PM:  Is it me, or are there an unusually high number of presenters/winners glistening with sweat?  Is the heat on at the Nokia Theatre?

7:33PM:  I get it.  They’ve saved the Movie/Miniseries awards for the end because this is where the movie stars are.  Because the Academy doesn’t yet realize that TV viewers now care more about TV stars than about Al Pacino and Michael Douglas.

7:34PM:  Another giant surprise, as Abi Morgan wins for Movie/Miniseries Writing for The Hour (in its sub-par second season) over Behind the Candelabra and Top of the Lake, among others.

7:35PM:  James Cromwell wins Movie/Mini Supporting Actor for American Horror Story.  His first ever.

7;36PM:  The TV Academy promo, AKA time for a bathroom break.  What did Kevin Spacey hit the camera with?

7:37PM:  MORE DEATH.  This time the official roll-call of the “not important enough for a solo spot” departed, which surprisingly includes Larry Hagman.

7:45PM:  The “retired” Steven Soderbergh wins Best Movie/Miniseries Direction, and manages to get off before they play him off.

7:48PM:  Proving once again that it’s as important when it comes to Emmys to be of a certain age as to be good, Ellen Burstyn wins for Political Animals, a show hardly anyone watched and fewer still liked.

7;53PM:  Home stretch, thank god.  The Movie/Mini actor and actress awards, then it’s Best Series time.

7:56PM:  No surprises here:  Michael Douglas accepts his preordained Emmy as Liberace.  His double entendre-fest is the speech of the night.

7:59PM:  Behind the Candelabra takes Movie/Miniseries.  Its hegemony may be battered on the series front, but HBO is still king in this realm.

8:04PM:  …and the final awards of the night are going to be an extended Will Ferrell joke.

8:05PM:  Modern Family AGAIN.  For the love of God.

8:07PM:  But Levitan’s “saddest Emmys of all time” joke almost redeems it.

8:08PM:  It’s Breaking Bad‘s night, and year, and a year from now we may be saying the same thing.  Congratulations to a deserving winner, on a night that provoked as much head-scratching as cheers.

8:10PM:  Final thoughts:

It may be time for Neil Patrick Harris to take an awards show break (or at least limit himself to the Tonys).

Sprinkling death throughout an awards celebration is not the world’s best idea.

Jeff Daniels has to have incriminating photos of someone.

Don’t buy tickets just yet for that American Horror Story musical.

At least the insane awards kept us awake.

And with that, good night from SHOWBUZZDAILY. Time to watch Breaking Bad.




About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."