Smacked Around Emmys

From Editor-in-Chief Bryce Zabel

An awards show is really the ultimate Smackdown, I guess, given that there are clearly established winners and losers. Except that it’s not politically correct to use those words anymore. Notice that the when the envelope is opened the phrase is “And the Emmy goes to…” and not “The winner is…” Oh, presenters still slip from time-to-time and admit the truth but they are discouraged from this, believe me.

As the former Chairman/CEO of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (including the 9/11 Emmy postponements of 2001), my wife Jackie and I go to the Emmys every year. I could certainly “cover” them or “review” them like the hundreds of other news organizations but, really, I’m just a guy with a camera standing on the Red Carpet and if you put me up against the massive armies deployed by Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood, Extra, The Insider, CNN, People, and everyone else, that’s not even a Smackdown, that’s a wipeout.

So you already know who won (there’s that word again) the Emmy Smackdown from Sunday night if you watched it or saw the news or immersed in one of those entertainment shows. Instead, we’ve gone for a little “impressionism” at the Smack. These are all photos, primarily taken by my wife and myself, on the Red Carpet, inside the theater and at the Governor’s Ball, done with a twist. They’ve all been run through the Photo Artista program on my iMac and turned into oil paintings. If you can’t be first, or you can’t be overwhelming in your coverage firepower, my theory is you might as well be artistic.

Arrival on the Red Carpet

I’ve been to the Emmys 15 times now — three times as the TV Academy guy who comes on in the middle of the show and slows the pace down with his comments about the importance of television — but it never really gets old. Seeing all the people gathered from fans to publicists to executives to reporters always raises the stakes immediately. If you can’t muster a big smile at the head of the Red Carpet, man, you are not trying!

That Entourage Guy and My Wife

Here’s our favorite shot of the day. As we were standing outside the Entertainment Tonight booth, there walks Vincent Chase (aka Adrian Grenier), we ask if he’s got a second, he’s a mensch so he says yes, the photo gets grabbed. My buddy Jeff Androsky writes her about this one: “Hey, that HGH is really working for Bryce. He looks fantastic!”

The Hostest with the Mostest

That would, of course, be the woman of the hour, 2011 Emmy Host Jane Lynch from Glee, seen here arriving on the Red Carpet herself. The arrival of the host has to be well-timed. It needs to come late enough that she’s seen to be right in the thick of things, but early enough that she can get whisked backstage, cool off from the heat and try to get her head together for the show itself.

The Best Fake News Correspondents Working in Television Today

Listen, you’re either a huge fan of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart or you’re not, but I am. So when I saw Wyatt Cenac, John Oliver and Jason Jones hanging around, it seemed like a natural. Back during the Chairman days, I’d moderated a panel in New York with Jon Stewart and every year from the past nine years when they’ve won the Emmys, I’ve got to congratulate him. The man always remembers my name. He’s that kind of nice.

Before the Sweep

If you watch Modern Family, you not only know how great this show is but you know this actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson who plays Mitchell Pritchett. They went on over the evening to win every category they were nominated in, including Outstanding Comedy Series. This photo was overexposed from the harsh sun on the Red Carpet but it sure dresses up nice as an oil painting!

The Really Funny Gross One from Bridesmaids

Of course, I’m talking about Melissa McCarthy who plays Molly Flynn on Mike & Molly. She may have seemed like an overnight sensation when she grabbed the Emmy for Oustanding Comedy Actress but she’s been working for years on shows like The Gilmore Girls. She comes from an improv background, getting her start here in LA at The Groundlings. For my money, her speech was the most authentic highlight of the Emmy show.

The Mad Woman from Mad Men

Mad Men went on to win the Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series for the fourth straight year which means, for those keeping score, that it has won every single year of its existence. And yet many people have never seen the show. All I know is that it’s the rage here in Hollywood and she’s one of the rages within that rage. She also was nice enough to show up the week before at the Writers Nominee Reception to praise writers which I always like.

So there you have it. The most non-comprehensive coverage you will find of the Emmys. Just one man’s experience done as a series of oil paintings. Weird, I know, but in today’s competitive entertainment environment, you gotta break the mold, trust me.

I thought the show was one of the better ones I’ve seen in all these years. Not the best. That distinction still goes to the 2001 post-9/11 show hosted by Ellen DeGeneres. But it was a damn fine evening no matter how you score it.


About Bryce Zabel 199 Articles
Drawing inspiration from career experiences as a CNN correspondent, TV Academy chairman, writer/producer and fast-food cook, Bryce is the Editor-in-Chief of Movie Smackdown. While he freely admits to having written the screenplay for the reviewer-savaged "Mortal Kombat: Annihilation," he hopes the fact that he also won the Writers Guild award a couple of years ago will cause you to cut him some slack. He's also a member of the Directors Guild, creator of five primetime network TV series, and author of a new non-fiction book about UFOs.
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