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Fox nearly had to make tough choice: football or Emmys

LOS ANGELES — The Fox network came a sweaty 12 minutes short Sunday of an agonizing decision: either anger football fans — or the entire TV industry.

But when the New York Giants kicked a field goal 12 minutes before the scheduled start of the Emmy Awards ceremony, Fox executives were able to breathe easy.

The Giants' game with the Washington Redskins had gone into sudden-death overtime, pre-empting all but a few minutes of the Emmy pre-show that was being telecast on Fox in the Eastern and Central time zones.

Fox executives talked about what they would do if the game stretched past the 8 p.m. ET start time for the Emmys, but network spokesman Scott Grogin would not reveal if a decision had been made. The field goal made those discussions moot.

Pre-empting the football game would have drawn immediate comparisons to the infamous 1968 incident where NBC switched to a "Heidi" TV movie toward the end of a Jets-Raiders game, and viewers missed the Raiders scoring two touchdowns in the last minute to win.

Delaying, or not showing, the Emmys opening would have annoyed awards show fans, as well as all the actors, producers, writers and executives at the ceremony.

The long football game did not affect the airing of the Emmy pre-show in the Mountain and Western time zones.

However, stars entering the Emmys on the red carpet were aware the game had cut into their TV time. Actor James Woods was interviewed while holding a cell phone and talking to his mother, trying to direct her to the channel that was showing her son.

Woods said his mother could only find the football game.