Ox Notes: August 4, 2009

The Emmys are stirring up controversy with a decision to pre-record eight of the award presentations for writing, and then showing edited portions of those presentations during the live ceremony. Host Neil Patrick Harris defended the move, saying the editing will only remove things like the recipients walking to the podium.

The Writers Guild of America issued a letter of protest. The Chicago Tribune’s TV critic Maureen Ryan isn’t happy about the move either.

Emmy Awards producer Don Mischer says it’s part of an effort to keep the ceremony relevant. TV’s most popular shows are notoriously underrepresented in the nominations every year, giving people less incentive to tune in to ceremony.

Is the alternative keeping the award show format the same, but moving the broadcast from a major network to a cable channel? Since it seems like most of the nominations are for cable shows anyway, it might make sense.

The Television Critics Awards were handed out over the weekend. The only network show among the winners was The Big Bang Theory.

In Dancing with the Stars news, it sounds as if Lou Ferrigno is as close to a lock for Season 9 as you can get (or at least as close to a lock as Vera Wang is). Pro wrestler Kurt Angle is the latest celebrity to join the list of rumored contestants for the new season.

Good news, Futurama fans. The original voice cast has signed on for the new season.

The New York Times has an article about the long work days, sleep deprivation, and booze that reality show producers use to keep contestants on edge.

Taking the torture of reality show contestants one step further is E!’s new show, Reality Hell. Each week a new contestant will be tricked into believing he or she is on a new, legitimate reality show, kind of like Spike’s Joe Schmo.

In non-TV news, go see the Bollywood movie Love Aaj Kal if it’s playing at a theater near you. It’s a great summer romance and a terrific introduction to Indian films, if you’ve never seen one before.

Also, watch this Special Comment about health insurance reform from last night’s episode of Countdown. It explains why the reforms the majority of Americans want are being held up in Congress (hint: it’s about money):

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