2011 Emmys Drama Starts Early, Alec Baldwin Cut From Opening Bit

Fox, broadcasters of tonight's Emmy Awards, have cut an Alec Baldwin bit about their parent company's phone hacking scandal, claiming they don't want anyone to think that News Corp and owner Rupert Murdoch would make light of the situation which has left countless people outraged..

“Fox did kill my News Corp hacking joke, which sucks bc I think it would have made them look better. A little," tweeted Baldwin after Deadline broke the story.

The sketch was filmed earlier in the week, and when Fox had second thoughts about Baldwin's hacking joke, the "30 Rock" star first teased things on Twitter, “I did a short Emmy pretape a few days ago. Now they tell me News Corp may cut the funniest line.” Baldwin ultimately told the network that if they were going to cut the line, he'd prefer they not use any of the footage. The network complied, scrambling to get Leonard Nimoy to sub in for Baldwin

People close to Baldwin claim he didn't take exception to the content of the joke being cut, rather that the edit jeopardize the broader comedic flow of the whole piece. Now, of course, it's inevitable that we'll view Nimoy's version with a jaundiced eye, wondering just how much funnier it might've been.

The real shame about this whole thing is that considering Baldwin's own tortured history with cellphone scandals, this could've been a truly great bit.

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