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Reality bites, critics of Emmys show say

September 22, 2008 | 11:46 am

Last year's reviews of the Emmys ceremony with just one reality TV host — Ryan Seacrest ("American Idol") — in charge were bad enough.

This year, four more such stars joined Seacrest to emcee the diamond anniversary Emmy awardscast. And the critics thought this quintet definitely not ready for the reality of hosting TV's biggest night.


As Mary McNamara of the Los Angeles Times said, "If we come away with nothing else from this year's Emmys, let us all agree that having a host with some experience actually entertaining people is not a luxury, it's a necessity. The show never quite recovered from its unforgivably bad opener or its less-than-useless hosts. By the halfway mark, the show was running long and many presenters whined about their bits being cut. Most of the winners were long-agreed-upon favorites ('Damages' ' Glenn Close! 'John Adams' ' Paul Giamatti! 'Mad Men's' Matthew Weiner! Tina Fey, Tina Fey and again Tina Fey!), but still, it would have been nice to let them speak for more than 15 seconds."

Frazier Moore of the AP recalled, "There have been boring, listless and otherwise ham-handed Emmy broadcasts among the past 59. Sunday's Emmycast was all of those things. But 'The 60th Primetime Emmys' also seemed an inadvertent homage to the 100 days of the Hollywood writers strike last season, when the shows that were able to continue demonstrated what TV without writers is like. ABC's Emmycast seemed to recapture that dreary world, despite the strike having been settled seven months ago, and the credits for the Emmycast listing writers and script supervisors." For Moore, "Not nearly soon enough, the program was nearing its conclusion. Jimmy Kimmel handled the chore of presenting the best reality host Emmy. With his customary wryness, Kimmel offered all five nominees a bit of backhanded praise for their shared Emmycast performance. 'Haven't they been sufficient, everybody?' he said. He was being too kind."

Robert Bianco of USA Today thought, "The lesson ABC's Sunday slog seemed to be striving to impart is that the Emmys are a joke — and a bad one at that. From Josh Groban's musical montage to that monumentally terrible, time-wasting quintet — Ryan Seacrest, Tom Bergeron, Heidi Klum, Jeff Probst and, in particular, a dithering Howie Mandel — the show seemed Emmys_reviews_2designed to convince us that we shouldn't be watching. Not just the Emmys, mind you, but television itself. Why, in a year when so much good work was done by writers and actors, would Emmy turn itself over to five performers from unscripted TV — and reward them for their incompetence by devoting extra time to their unnecessary category?"

David Zurawik of the Baltimore Sun said, "While it was exciting to see history being made, as entertainment, the telecast emceed by five reality hosts was without a doubt one of the worst in history. It was tedious from the moment Tom Bergeron ('Dancing with the Stars'), Howie Mandel ('Deal or No Deal'), Jeff Probst ('Survivor'), Heidi Klum ( 'Project Runway') and Ryan Seacrest ('American Idol') hit the stage and did 12 minutes of chatter about not having an opening monologue or remarks. The segment ended with two of the reality guys ripping off Klum's tuxedo to reveal a skimpy showgirl outfit. Yawn. The boredom was momentarily relieved only a couple of times."

For Alessandra Stanley of the New York Times, "Live award shows always have found it awkward hitting the right note in uncertain times — the contrast between the glitz and celebrity self-celebration and war or hurricane devastation is too acute. This year, the awards show tried for a self-deprecating tone, poking fun at television (Josh Groban singing a medley of television theme songs like "Love Boat" and "Happy Days") while keeping references to the real world solemn and subdued."

Tom Shales of the Washington Post found "dramatic moments were few, hilarious moments were few, sentimental moments were scarce and deeply moving sequences were nonexistent. Television has expired like the dinosaurs and been replaced with something else. Whatever that something else is, it was celebrated with forced cheers at the Emmy show last night."

Matthew Gilbert of the Boston Globe said, "If only the reality hosts had been a fraction as funny as Don Rickles or Ricky Gervais, who demanded his Emmy back from Steve Carell, referring to last year when presenters Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart gave the absent Gervais' Emmy to Carell. Gervais actually tickled Carell, who sat through the gag, deadpan, in the front row. Lest the reality TV hosts make the Emmys look too trendy and opportunistic, the show was peppered with uninspired references to classic TV."

As per Kathy Lyford of Variety, "After hitting a creative and ratings low point in 2007, the 60th annual Primetime Emmy Awards bowed a new home, the Nokia Theater in downtown Los Angeles, and a new approach — a hosting team comprised of the five nominees from the nascent reality show host category. Reaction from the outset — remember, the majority of the audience members still rely on scripted fare for their bread and butter — was something akin to 'How many hosts does it take to screw up a kudocast?' All this effort amounted to nothing more than putting lipstick on a pig.'

Frank Scheck of the Hollywood Reporter said, "Budding physicists would do well to study the broadcast of the 60th Emmy Awards. They would discover a new scientific principle: The closer a televised awards show gets toward its conclusion, the faster it goes. Presenters and winners alike were virtually short of breath as they raced frantically not to run past the show's allotted three hours. Presentations were curtailed, speeches were cut off, and the shots of the nominees flew by with such rapidity that there was a danger of inducing seizures."

And finally, Michael Slezak of Entertainment Weekly admitted, "The 2008 Emmys telecast ended only a few short hours ago, and yet I'm hard-pressed to recall more than a couple specifics about the woeful performances of emcees Tom Bergeron, Jeff Probst, Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum, and Ryan Seacrest (all of whom were nominated for Best Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Show)."


The comments to this entry are closed.



The only dancing bears I'm being entertained by are McCain and Palin. I'd rather listen to celebs ill-informed political views than the horror show currently going on in Washington. At least celebrities know how to read their lines.

Oh, when are you leaving the United States, considering you're against free speech and all. I can give you a number of countries you would love that censor people's freedom of speech.

Not since Letterman hosted the Oscars with his unfunny "Uma-Oprah-Uma-Oprah" monologue has an awards show sunk so low. The Emmys were five times as bad the other night, thanks to five reality show hosts who are BORING and WITHOUT TALENT. What a stupid idea -- especially since someone pointed out more people round the world were watching (us make asses of ourselves)!

Any event coming from hollywood is going to be political leftist propaganda, so there's no reason to watch any of them.

These celebrities who think they live in the "real" world where they are paid millions of dollars to do basically nothing, then think the people want to watch them give their views on who should run the country are truly in a fantasy world. Shut up and entertain us, dancing bears!

Worst Emmy awards of all time in terms of the show. The winners were great, too bad they had to suffer the most painfully awkward, stilted show in recent memory.

And to those bitching about celebs spouting their political views - it's called a free country people. That's the beauty of living in America - you have the freedom of speech. Don't like it, move to Russia or China.

It's amusing that only liberal celebrities are attacked for their views. If people really didn't care about celebrities' politics, then how did Ronald Reagan, Sonny Bono, Arnold Schwarenegger and Fred Thompson ever get elected to office?

The only thing worse than celebrities giving their political views on awards telecasts are the losers like Jamie and Donna who bitch and complain about it.

I'd rather hear Tom Smothers stutter like an idiot than listen to people like Jamie and Donna whine like small babies. At least that way I'll be entertained.

A sick and disgusting display of boredom. Are there no funny guys out there? Who actaullay writes this crap???

I have always watched the Emmys and the Oscars and really enjoyed them. For several years now Hollywood has been under the impression that the public really wants to hear their political views. I hate to burst their bubble but they are wrong!! As long as that continues I will no longer watch these programs!!!!!

Doesn't matter who hosts the show, Wouldn't watch it if you paid me. A bunch of Hollyweirds patting each other on the back for creating crappy programs. Big deal.

Emmy has itself to blame. They created a category that had the potential to award deserving reality hosts who actually, you know, demonstrate talent, knowledge, and charisma, and instead picked the five most vacuous hosts of TV's biggest reality hits. The result: Given three hours to show their stuff, the hosts demonstrated that collectively, they are capable of much, much less in three hours than Ricky Gervais or Don Rickles could do in three minutes. By the time the atrociously long-winded presentation of the winner came around, the rest of America had figured out what most of us already knew: Not one of them deserved to win an Emmy and it was embarrassing that any one of the five would be awarded with one. Is it possible to rescind Probst's trophy and give it to Hugh Laurie, Steve Carell, or Kyra Sedgwick?

It was painful to watch Heidi and the boys making such fools of themselves! Next years host should be Ricky Gervais - he was funny!

Every year it gets worse than better. These awards shows have no more regard for talent than the most of the dribble they produce. Another sign of the vast underbelly of tv's wasteland.

It's not the hosts STUPID!! Tell your dumbass celebrities to come to the awards show to accept their ENTERTAINMENT awards and quit acting like politicians. If you can't figure out that the American people don't want to listen to THEIR points of view and just be entertained then you are STUPID!!



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