By Tim Cuprisin Media Columnist Published Aug 30, 2010 at 11:00 AM
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Despite a couple speedbumps near the end of its three-hour run, Sunday's NBC Emmycast was a success. 

And like the TV industry the show honored, the Emmys earned their own crop of awards: 

Best use of three hours to go mainstream: Emmy host Jimmy Fallon had a lot of people thinking he was going to flop.

But the talented host of NBC's "Late Night" scored in prime time from the elaborate "Born to Run" opening production number, to his Elton John performance to his stunning revelation that he was Tom Selleck's son.

You need comedy to keep a three-hour show alive, and he provided it.

Best acceptance speech line nobody noticed: Best supporting actress in a miniseries or movie winner Julia Ormond, whose name was misspelled on-screen as Ormand, talked about how excited she was just by being nominated: "I got so thrilled and excited I told my mom I was eminated for a Nommy."

Best use of Cockney rhyming slang by a presenter: "The Office" creator Ricky Gervais closed his list of nominees with "I hope it's Bucky Gunts, 'cause I didn't know you could say that on television. Let's face it, we're all Bucky Gunts here."

Bucky Gunts did win that Emmy for his directing the Vancouver Olympics opening ceremony.

Here's another piece of Gervais' act on last night's Emmys: 


Most effective show-killer: In a generally well-produced Emmycast, mournful Jewel's dirge for the dead, complete with facial contortions, was enough to drive you away before the big awards came on.

Yes, I know she used to live in her car. 

The shut up Al Pacino Humanitarian Award: In the name of all that is holy, don't put Al Pacino in front of an open microphone.

For a while there, it looked like we'd need Dr. Kevorkian, who was actually in the audience, to put him out of our misery.

The best proof the sitcom isn't dead: "Modern Family," the first ABC sitcom to win best sitcom Emmy since 1988, proves that every time somebody tells you some genre is dead you shouldn't believe them.

Except Westerns. They're dead. Really, really, really dead.

I didn't know even Oprah was sick Award: The promos for the final broadcast season of Oprah Winfrey's show looked more like video that Jewel should be singing a mournful dirge for her.

And imagine the reaction from all those NBC affiliates that don't carry Oprah, like Milwaukee's Channel 4, to all those Oprah promos pushing viewers over to the competition.

Best performance by an 88-year-old: From the opening bit, through promos for her "Community" appearance and another big-screen movie, and on to Jimmy Fallon's final line: "after-party at Betty White's house," White was everywhere.

Frankly, with all that material, it will be easier for Betty to put together her own cable channel than it will be for Oprah.

Most human performance by a guy under pressure Award: Soon-to-be TBS talker Conan O'Brien looked nervous when he popped up on camera.

The fact that he didn't win was the biggest disappointment of the night, just for the entertainment value of his acceptance speech -- in which he contractually couldn't dis NBC (although you know he would have found some way to work around that).

The C'mon Oscars, you can learn from this Award: NBC not only scored with the pacing of the Emmys (except for the chunk of time near the end featuring Jewel's mournful dirge and Al Pacino's endless impression of Al Pacino.) But it won my heart by wrapping up at 10 p.m.

Yes, we can. 

A little more Emmy talk: After Sunday night's show, I stayed up to talk to Steve King and Johnnie Putman on Chicago's WGN-AM (720) about the Emmy's. Here's the link to the audio.

Tim Cuprisin Media Columnist

Tim Cuprisin is the media columnist for He's been a journalist for 30 years, starting in 1979 as a police reporter at the old City News Bureau of Chicago, a legendary wire service that's the reputed source of the journalistic maxim "if your mother says she loves you, check it out." He spent a couple years in the mean streets of his native Chicago, and then moved on to the Green Bay Press-Gazette and USA Today, before coming to the Milwaukee Journal in 1986.

A general assignment reporter, Cuprisin traveled Eastern Europe on several projects, starting with a look at Poland after five years of martial law, and a tour of six countries in the region after the Berlin Wall opened and Communism fell. He spent six weeks traversing the lands of the former Yugoslavia in 1994, linking Milwaukee Serbs, Croats and Bosnians with their war-torn homeland.

In the fall of 1994, a lifetime of serious television viewing earned him a daily column in the Milwaukee Journal (and, later the Journal Sentinel) focusing on TV and radio. For 15 years, he has chronicled the changes rocking broadcasting, both nationally and in Milwaukee, an effort he continues at

When he's not watching TV, Cuprisin enjoys tending to his vegetable garden in the backyard of his home in Whitefish Bay, cooking and traveling.