Alec Baldwin tried on Ricky Gervais' bad-boy shoes regarding this year's Emmy Awards — or at least appeared to, until he cleared things up about choosing Tony Bennett's 85th birthday celebration over a walk down the red carpet in downtown L.A. Sunday.
So here's the dish: Baldwin was presumed to have snubbed the Emmys after a joke he made in an original version of the intro to the show (a crack about Fox honcho Rupert Murdoch and the phone-hacking scandal that brought down News of the World) was nuked by the network when the bit made the approval rounds. Reportedly concerned with flow after the edit was made, he asked to be removed from the skit entirely.
"Fox did kill my NewsCorp hacking joke. Which sucks bc I think it would have made them look better. A little," Baldwin said on Twitter, adding later, "I understand NewsCorp killing that joke. If I were enmeshed in a scandal where I hacked phones of families of innocent crime victims purely 4 profit, I'd want that 2 go away, 2."
So yeah, Leonard Nimoy took over the "president of television" role, addressing Jane Lynch quite logically to get the Emmys broadcast started. And Sunday found Baldwin hanging out at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York at the Bennett benefit concert, working the stage with Elton John as the crowd sang "Happy Birthday." According to Styleite, he later hosted a gala dinner for the 85-year-old singer's foundation, Exploring the Arts.
It was the benefit commitment that kept him back East, not the axed joke, he told reporters at the event. "I skipped the Emmys because of this," Baldwin said. "Because I wanted to be here." Then Monday found him celebrating the start of "30 Rock" in syndication.
And here we thought it was Ricky Gervais and his Twinkie who'd gotten the most newsworthy editing of the night.
— Christie D'Zurilla
Reuters contributed to this report.
Photo: Alec Baldwin speaks at Tony Bennett's 85th Birthday Gala Benefit for Exploring the Arts at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City on Sept. 18. Credit: Jemal Countess / Getty Images.