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James Hibberd

Sources: Britney Spears Not Appearing at Emmy Awards

September 15, 2007 2:49 PM

Show of hands: How many of you fell for this?

Contrary to several media reports, Britney will not appear on the Emmy Awards stage to apologize for her MTV Video Music Awards performance.

US Weekly first reported negotiations between the pop star and the show’s producers earlier this week, then posted a story late Friday to say the idea was nixed. But a source close to the production told TelevisionWeek that a live appearance was almost certainly never in the cards, and Britney’s spokesperson has insisted the performer has no plans to appear on the show. The original US Weekly story cited an “Emmy Awards source” – somebody who likely wanted to drum up publicity for the event, the ratings for which have sagged in recent years.

On Saturday the show’s host (and “Emmy Awards source”?) Ryan Seacrest told US Weekly an offer to appear is still on the table. "I am willing to give up my monologue, song and interpretive dance for her apology," he said.

So let’s deconstruct how little sense this story made and take all the fun out of it: At the VMAs, Britney wandered glassy eyed around the stage as if searching for her car keys. Why would the conservative Television Academy permit a rehab-fleeing music artist on stage at a live event to discuss her appearance on a basic cable awards show? And why would Britney want to apologize in the first place? Barring some last-minute unholy marriage brokerage between Fox, the Academy and Britney, this isn’t happening.

Another Emmy ratings-boosting effort with seemingly similar fingerprints that media outlets reported with straight-faced regard: Simon Cowell claiming to Fox News he was worried about Seacrest’s hosting performance.

Watching Cowell and Seacrest fight in the press, or on “American Idol,” is like watching a stunt show at an amusement park. Pretty entertaining, sure, but the fighters both know when the punches are coming.

The guerilla publicity efforts are not without cause. In recent years, Emmy ratings have been on a steady decline. Sunday’s telecast will will air three weeks later than last year (which is good), but also bumps against the NFL’s San Diego vs. New England game (which is bad).

Click here for TelevisionWeek’s live Emmy coverage from the Shrine Auditorium on Sunday night.


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