CBS Adds "Breakthrough Performance" to Emmys Telecast
John Kubicek
John Kubicek
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
The Emmys are getting a viral, user-generated component this year as CBS is teaming up with Vaseline to sponsor "Breakthrough Performance of the Year," a category which allows viewers to vote for their favorite TV moments of the year, with the top three and winner being revealed on the primetime Emmy Awards telecast Sunday, September 20 on CBS.

The number of things that are unbelievably stupid and wrong with this decision is astounding.  Even if you don't like the Emmys, you have to admit that this decision is actively killing what little credibility the Emmys hoped to maintain.

First, there's the issue of corporate sponsorship, or brand synergy, as some CEO is undoubtedly calling it.  So now if a corporation gives you enough money, they can have their name on whatever they want?  I can't wait for the Coca Cola Outstanding Drama Series or to find out who takes home the Red Lobster Nobel Peace Prize.  Hey CBS, the Emmys are NOT the People's Choice Awards or the MTV Movie Awards!

But I've grown to accept corporate sponsorship and product placement as a way of life in this modern, digital economy.  What really troubles me about this decision is the blatant misuse and bastardization of the English language.

The award is called "Breakthrough Performance of the Year," but that's not actually what it is.  The award is for the best moment on TV this season, and the "Breakthrough Performance" title only exists so Vaseline can promote the breakthrough technology of its newest product.

In fact, they have a shortlist of 15 candidates that you can watch HERE and vote for your favorites.  To me, the word "Breakthrough" means new or revolutionary.  So check out these gems:

-David Letterman's Interview with Joaquin Phoenix
-Edie's Death on Desperate Housewives
-Meredith Discovers the Patient is George on Grey's Anatomy
-Warrick Dies on CSI
-Jason Chooses Molly Over Melissa on The Bachelor
-Teresa Flips a Table on The Real Housewives of New Jersey
-Jennifer Hudson Sings at the Grammys
-Sarah Palin on Saturday Night Live
-George Clooney Returns to ER
-Chuck Admits He Loves Blair on Gossip Girl
-Barack and Michele Obama's First Dance at the Inaugural Ball
-Melissa Rycroft Joins Dancing with the Stars
-Martin Scorsese Offers Vince a Role on Entourage
-Kris Allen Wins American Idol
-Bill Meets Sookie on True Blood

Those are the 15 TV moments CBS has chosen as the potential winners for "Breakthrough Performance of the Year."  Never mind the fact that many aren't performances and none of them are actually breakthroughs, let's talk about how very few of these even qualify as memorable TV moments of the past year.

Melissa Rycroft is featured twice?  And as someone who actually watched the ER finale, I can tell you that George Clooney's last appearance wasn't very good at all.  Desperate Housewives and Entourage have reached new levels of irrelevance, any half-intelligent fan saw that lame Grey's Anatomy twist coming a mile away, and if you're going to pick an American Idol moment, it should only be Norman Gentle.

So there you have it.  The corporate sponsorship is blatant and shameless, the category is offensively misnamed, and the nominees are the worst collection of lame "memorable moments" of the year, most of which I'd already forgotten.

But if I had to vote for one of them, it would probably be The Real Housewives of New Jersey, because that table flip was freaking awesome.

-John Kubicek, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image courtesy of CBS)