The 63rd annual Emmy Awards aired Sunday, and though Glee's Jane Lynch served as host, it failed to hit many high notes.
There was a little drama before the ceremony even started, when 30 Rock star Alec Baldwin asked to be removed from the pretaped opening sketch after Fox killed a joke about the phone-hacking scandal that has embroiled the network's parent company, News Corp. Baldwin, who was replaced by Leonard Nimoy as the President of Television, felt the edit would ruin the flow of the skit. A Fox spokesperson told Deadline.com, which broke the story, that News Corp. was taking the scandal seriously and didn't want to appear to be making light of the situation.
There were no surprises when Modern Family was named best comedy series for the second year in a row and Mad Men won its fourth consecutive Emmy for best drama.
Also no surprise: a lack of African-American nominees and winners (though there were a handful of black stars, Don Cheadle and Kerry Washington among them, to hand out the gold statuettes). Of the six African-American nominees, Loretta Devine was the lone one to win an award: for best guest actress in a drama series for her role as Adele Webber in Grey's Anatomy. Alfre Woodard (True Blood) was also a nominee in the category. Unfortunately, the award wasn't featured in the live broadcast but was part of the Creative Arts ceremony last week.
Two-time Emmy winner Andre Braugher (Men of a Certain Age) was nominated for best supporting actor in a drama series but lost out to Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones). Even though Braugher's show was canceled, a handful of episodes are eligible for the 2012 Emmys, so don't be surprised to see him up for this category again next year.
Laurence Fishburne (Thurgood) and Idris Elba (Luther) were both nominated for outstanding lead actor in a miniseries or a movie. Barry Pepper (The Kennedys) got the hardware for his portrayal of Bobby Kennedy. Elba was also nominated for best guest actor for his role in The Big C, but pop star Justin Timberlake took home that statuette for hosting Saturday Night Live.
Taraji P. Henson (Taken From Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story) lost to Kate Winslet (Mildred Pierce) in the outstanding lead actress in a miniseries or a movie category.
The show's producers must have known that most of America might be clicking over to watch Philadelphia Eagles Michael Vick face his old team in Atlanta, so apparently they thought turning the show into a high school musical would grab some viewers. The opening sketch ended with Lynch doing an over-the-top song-and-dance routine. There was the quintet dubbed the Emmytones, featuring LL Cool J and nominee Henson, that introduced the show's categories with little ditties that grew increasingly annoying as the show went on.
Andy Samberg's group, the Lonely Island, added a little levity to the show when they performed a melody of their popular songs from the Saturday Night Live shorts.
The one moment that could have provided some real fireworks was when Charlie Sheen came out to present the award for best lead actor in a comedy series. The audience seemed to hold its collected breath when Sheen stepped to the microphone.
But Sheen, who must have cut back on the tiger's blood, seemed sincere when he talked about his former show Two and a Half Men: "From the bottom of my heart, I wish you nothing but the best for this upcoming season."
Genetta M. Adams is a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based freelance writer and editor. Follow her on Twitter.