In Politicized Emmys, Reality & Cable Rule

Though, not everyone at the Emmys was singing reality TV's praises. Accepting his fourth award in four years for his role as uber-agent Ari Gold on "Entourage," Jeremy Piven went off on the hosts' improvised introduction, blurting out, "What if I just kept talking for 12 minutes? What would happen? That was the opening."

Later, backstage, Probst admitted Piven may have been right.

"Every time we'd have one idea, two people wouldn't like it and then we'd have another idea," he said. "That's why we ended up with nothing. Did that work? Hell if I know. … According to Piven, it clearly didn't."

Shows that don't dominate the ratings race on TV, like "Mad Men" and "30 Rock," drew many of the night's most prestigious awards. Both have stayed afloat in part because of a rabid online fan base, and Fey, "30 Rock's" star, writer and producer, made sure to give a nod to hers when accepting the Emmy for best comedy series: "'30 Rock' is available to be viewed on NBC.com, Hulu.com, iTunes, Verizon phones, United Airlines and occasionally on actual television."

But even in Hollywood, the more things change, the more they stay the same. While the ways we watch and latch onto TV in the age of YouTube, DVR and 1100-channel cable packages may be morphing, there's still something to be said for "actual television," inasmuch as it's the fastest route to fame.

Apparently, critical acclaim and and a starring role on basic cable haven't translated to that star swagger for "Mad Men's" John Hamm, who was nominated for a best drama actor Emmy. In real estate, it's location, location, location. On TV, it's exposure, exposure, exposure.

"I still feel like I'm in 10th grade and no one will talk to me at lunch," he said backstage.

Reporting contributed by ABC News Radio's Michelle Ruiz.

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