"Bruce is in Europe performing with his group and that's why he couldn't be there," the actor's spokesperson tells TV Guide Online, adding that his client was ecstatic upon learning of his win. "He was surprised and flattered and very appreciative." On Friends, Willis played the hostile father of a young college student dating Ross.
Trophies were handed out in 53 categories at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards, held Saturday in Pasadena, CA. The major Emmys take place on Sept. 10 in a ceremony broadcast live on ABC (8 pm/ET).
Willis's no-show didn't dampen NBC's mood, however; the Peacock Network picked up 14 awards, the most of any network. HBO finished a close second with 12. Leading the way for NBC was The West Wing, which won four trophies, tying HBO's Introducing Dorothy Dandridge for most wins on the night. The X-Files and HBO's RKO 281 grabbed three awards apiece.
Among West Wing's wins was one for venerable TV composer W.G. Snuffy Walden, honored for his composition of the show's theme. In his acceptance speech, he thanked the musicians union "who cut a deal with us and allowed us to use an orchestra again in television. I implore you to bring back some orchestral music."
NBC's now-defunct Freaks and Geeks took home the award for Outstanding Casting for a Comedy Series. Exec Allison Jones said backstage that "it was awesome not to have to cast pretty people."
The three-hour-plus awards marathon had few high points. With the exception of James Whitmore, who won Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series for his work on The Practice, all of the winners in the guest acting categories (comedy and drama) were MIA, including the aforementioned Willis, Beah Richards (The Practice) and Jean Smart (Frasier), who currently is starring on Broadway in The Man Who Came to Dinner.
As a result, most of the memorable moments came when the presenters were trading ad-libbed barbs on stage. Joking about the Everybody Loves Raymond tapes that mysteriously disappeared, series co-star Brad Garrett warned, "Mr. Kelsey Grammer, you have 24 hours to return them." And when feisty Debbie Reynolds, nominated for her guest stint on Will & Grace, implored reserved Inside the Actor's Studio host James Lipton to loosen up (earlier he chose not to share his favorite curse word with Arliss's Robert Wuhl), the crowd erupted in cheers of agreement.
For a complete list of winners, click here.