Sep. 17 2007, Published 5:15 a.m. ET

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I usually watch the Emmys with a group of friends who've coined their own drinking game, taking a swig any time any TV star I've interviewed pops on the screen. To write my commentary on the 59th Primetime Emmy Awards, I stayed among the sober (time will tell if it was a smart decision).

The telecast opened with a musical number featuring Brian and Stewie Griffin from Fox's animated series Family Guy. With a pre-taped segment, there was no chance to view a train wreck of a live opening like Britney Spears' gave at the VMAs last week. Just like OK! told you, Brit was a no-show at the awards.

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Really, what good would it have done her to appear at one awards show

to apologize for her behavior at another? Brit knows she needs to save

that for her comeback cover story with OK!. Fox did make good on its usual self-deprecating form as Family Guy's precocious baby and talking dog sang about how craptastic TV can be, yet we still watch (and 'Til Death thanks us!).

Fox's biggest gamble of the night was its award host, Ryan Seacrest. I'm pretty certain the execs figured if someone accidentally tuned in, they'd think it was another telecast for Idol Gives Back. Ryan pretty much told us he wasn't comedian from the start, and it showed in his forced timing of the opening monologue. He did get in one or two good liners: His cheeky hello to girlfriend-for-about-a-minute Terri Hatcher; pointing out how Idol co-star Paula Abdul would have a blast at the Weeds after-party; getting sexually ambiguous while strutting around in The Tudors' tights. But I'm thinking the general consensus is for Ryan to stick to Idol. Maybe when Fox does the awards again, they can get So You Think You Can Dance's Cat Deeley to host?

In an attempt to guarantee a few bonafide chuckles during the broadcast, the show had several comedians perform mini-sets before announcing their categories. Some worked, like Ray Romano and Steve Carell and his Office co-stars. Some didn't. Ellen DeGeneres seemed off her usually tight game, while The Daily Show's Lewis Black chewed out his bosses -- TV executives -- during his two-minute rant. Who missed that during the table read?

Debra Messing
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As for the awards themselves, talk about surprises! Jamie Pressly for Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series! Ricky Gervais for Lead Actor In A Comedy Series! Sally Field for Lead Actress In A Drama Series! Everyone-thought-it-would-be-the-other-James Spader for Lead Actor In A Drama Series! The Sopranos were supposed to clean up, evidenced by the Broadway tribute to the critical darling (though it was kind of strange to hear the Jersey Boys singing about love when the people on the screen behind them were getting whacked!). The Sopranos was left feeling more like it took a hit itself: The series was awarded more as an ensemble effort for Writing, Directing and Drama Series, but went home empty-handed in the acting categories.

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A few things I learned from tonight's broadcast:

There is much love for legendary crooner Tony Bennett, who scored three awards for the Tony Bennett: An American Classic special. Got to pre-order his "Tony Bennett Sings The Ultimate American Songbook, Vol. 1" CD pronto!

To Richard Shepard, winner for Directing In A Comedy Series, Ugly Betty. My mother used to take away the TV too!

The cast of Roots hasn't aged a day. You all looked marvelous!

30 Rock's win for Comedy Series proves my theory that Emmy voters like their comedies quirky and unique.

Dangly earrings are the hot accessory! Ugly Betty's America Ferrera, 'Til Death's Joely Fisher, Project Runway's Heidi Klum, Debra Messing and a ton of other actresses were rocking them.

And yes, I do feel like shopping at Macys today. Hope they're having one of their famous One Day sales.

All and all, I've give the show a six. It didn't stink, but not exactly water cooler worthy conversation. Except for those all those dangly earrings. Now that's something to talk about.


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