Tomorrow night, viewers will gather around their TV sets to watch ABC's campy drama series "Desperate Housewives" win the Primetime Emmy for best comedy series, and ABC's goofily muddled drama series "Lost" win the Emmy for best drama series.
Has there ever been less suspense to the Primetime Emmy Awards competition?
This year's only Emmy excitement has already come and gone and will not be broadcast tomorrow night.
Angela Lansbury was nominated for best guest actress in a drama series for playing the affluent, overbearing mother of a rape suspect in a story line that spanned episodes on two of NBC's "Law & Order" series, "Special Victims Unit" and " Trial by Jury."
It was Lansbury's 18th Emmy nomination.
She did not win.
We know this because the competitions for best guest actor and actress in both drama and comedy series are not part of the big Emmy broadcast. They were announced last Sunday, along with wins for best makeup, lighting, editing, etc., during the "creative arts" awards ceremony, which is Emmy-speak for "not important enough for the broadcast." (Cable network E! is again going to telecast a two-hour clip-job from that ceremony.)
Lansbury is now tied with Susan Lucci as Emmy's biggest loser ever.
It's true, 12 of Lansbury's 18 nominations over the years were for playing that buttinsky Jessica Fletcher on "Murder, She Wrote" -- a gig she mostly phoned in. But Lansbury is an accomplished stage and screen actress ("Sweeney Todd," "Mame," "Gaslight," "The Manchurian Candidate," "Bedknobs and Broomsticks," "The Picture of Dorian Gray"); her career should never be paired in the same sentence with the "All My Children" scene-chewer.
I blame the TV academy.
Daytime diva Lucci finally received a Daytime Emmy on her 19th try.
Should Lansbury ever receive another Emmy nomination and should she not win, our country's long-running Susan Lucci joke would become an Angela Lansbury joke.
That would be a travesty.
But, of course, if Lansbury did receive her 19th Emmy nomination, it most likely would be for a guest-acting gig and thus would not be part of the big Emmy broadcast because the guest-acting competitions have not been part of the Primetime Emmy Awards glamour night for years now.
Those derbies were moved into the non-televised portion of the orgy of self-congratulations during one of the TV academy's many campaigns to streamline the show and stem the mass fleeing of viewers.
Apparently that's not going so well; last year's Emmy broadcast attracted the show's second smallest audience ever. That's probably because, no matter how much tinkering they do to the show, it's still jammed full of actresses and actors who believe we are riveted by the sight of them thanking their agents, their managers, their studio bosses, their network chiefs, their personal assistants, their personal trainers, their hairstylists, their makeup artists, their shrinks and their spouses for helping them to perfect their incredible talent and become the role models they are for millions of young men and women around the world.
This year, to try to bolster the show's numbers, CBS has hired Ken Ehrlich to produce the Primetime Emmy Awards broadcast.
Ehrlich, who has produced 25 Grammy Award telecasts but only one Primetime Emmy Awards, back in 1980, has brought out a whole new bag of tricks aimed at attracting more viewers.
Most notably, and most time-consuming, is a little bit they're calling "Emmy Idol," in which, during tomorrow's broadcast, various TV stars and some other people will sing theme songs from old TV shows. Viewers will get to vote via CBS's Web site, or via text-messaging, for their fave, with the winner announced toward the end of the show.
Kristen Bell ("Veronica Mars") will sing the theme song from "Fame." Gary Dourdan ("CSI: Crime Scene Investigation") and Macy Gray will perform "Movin' On Up" from "The Jeffersons."
Megan Mullally ("Will & Grace") and Donald Trump ("The Apprentice") will sing the theme song from "Green Acres."
William Shatner ("Star Trek," "Boston Legal") and opera star Frederica von Stade will perform the theme song to "Star Trek."
This is, of course, in hopes that some of the ratings gigantic-ness of the Fox hit reality series "American Idol" will somehow rub off on the trophy show.
Too bad Ehrlich didn't instead decide that this year and every year from now on, Emmy viewers will get to vote, online and via text-messaging, for what they think are the most boring acceptance speeches of the evening. The biggest vote-getter could be announced toward the end of the show. And that competition category would get booted from the following year's broadcast extravaganza -- shipped off to the "creative arts" night.
Not only would that finally give the actors and actresses the motivation they so badly lack to try to look less like people talking to their bedroom mirror when they get on stage to accept their trophy, but in no time at all it would open up time to bring back those guest-acting competitions. Hopefully that will be in time for Lansbury's 19th try and, if we're lucky, her very first Primetime Emmy Award win. That would really be something to see.