What was not anticipated was the mostly upbeat nature of the ceremonies themselves, a tone that many credited to host Ellen DeGeneres, who got her biggest laughs when she referred to Muslim fanatics: "They can't take away our creativity, our striving for excellence, our joy. Only network executives can do that," she said, smiling at CBS chief Les Moonves.
"I feel I'm in a unique position as host," she added, "because think about it: what would bug a guy from the Taliban more than seeing a gay woman in a suit surrounded by Jews?"
She received a standing ovation at the end. Her performance was also applauded by TV writers in today's press.
David Bianculli in the New York Daily News called it "funny and winning."
Tom Shales in the Washington Post, "tasteful but entertaining."
In the New York Post, Adam Buckman wrote: "Much of the credit for the show's breezy attitude has to go to Ellen DeGeneres, whose easy-going style of comedy seemed tailor-made for an awards show that wanted to be celebratory while simultaneously acknowledging the current crisis."
Several critics who had urged that the Emmy ceremonies be canceled admitted that they had been wrong. Among them was Howard Rosenberg of the Los Angeles Times, who wrote that the twice postponed show "was like an 'all clear' after an air raid."