Sheen, Baldwin and Cell Phone Interference: Behind the Scenes at the Emmys

VIDEO: 2011 Emmy Awards: Televisions Big Winners

This year’s Emmy Awards ceremony was notable for who was there and who wasn’t, and for irritating interference from a noise that sounded a lot like a cell phone.

In the midst of the telecast’s opening musical numbers, there was another persistent soundtrack, a sound like a faint cell phone ring. Bloggers and tweeters picked up on the distracting noise.

“Is no one hearing this annoying cell phone ring sound?!” one person posted on an Emmy message board. “It’s only on this channel, I’ve turned the TV off, it’s not coming from my room.”

Apparently, the noise was not audible backstage or in the auditorium. Nor did it seem to take away from the action on stage.

One of the biggest surprises of the night came when Charlie Sheen showed  up — not mean and nasty Charlie but a “sweet” and “banal” version of the actor.

Jim Parsons, star of “The Big Bang Theory,” remarked to reporters backstage after receiving his trophy for best actor in a comedy from Sheen: “He just congratulated me and said, ‘That’s awesome.’ He was that sweet and that banal, I’m sorry to say.”

Looks as if  Sheen is trying to endear himself to Hollywood again. On stage, he addressed his former “Two and Half Men” cast and crew, saying, “From the bottom of my heart, I wish you nothing but the best for this upcoming season. I know you will continue to make great television.”

Later backstage, a Comedy Central executive told that a bunch of higher ups from the network were planning to watch the comedy channel’s roast of Sheen tonight at the actor’s Brentwood home.

Meanwhile, Alec Baldwin, who has taken home two trophies in the past for best comedy actor, skipped out on the ceremony this year, immediately sparking rumors that he was protesting Fox’s decision to cut a Rupert Murdoch joke he had filmed earlier for the telecast. But Baldwin, who remained in New York to host Tony Bennett’s 85th birthday gala, told reporters, “I didn’t skip the Emmys because of that. … I skipped the Emmys because of this — because I wanted to be here.”

Baldwin insisted he had signed on to host the Bennett gala long before the Emmy telecast was scheduled. Instead, he pre-taped a bit in which he poked fun at the News of the World phone hacking scandal in Britain.

Murdoch’s News Corp. owns both Fox and the now defunct tabloid.

Fox told Entertainment Weekly that it cut the joke because the network worried it would be seen to be making light of serious allegations surrounding the scandal.

Baldwin later tweeted about the situation, “Fox did kill my News Corp. hacking joke. Which sucks bc I think it would have made them look better. A little.”

In the end, Leonard Nimoy stepped in as “Mr. President of TV” and the bit was retaped.

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