Jon Hamm by Craig Blankenhorn/AMC
What if they gave an awards show and nobody came? That heretofore rhetorical question has been answered twice in the last week, with unspeakably unwatchable results.

First came CBS' comically corny and pitifully rated People's Choice Awards last Tuesday. With its ceremonial and traditionally well-attended all-star party scrapped by the writers' strike, this new and unimproved version (with winners accepting in awkward taped segments) was emceed by poor Queen Latifah from what looked like a drag queen's bunker. I only made it through the first commercial break of that sad excuse for a show before bailing.

But I had no choice but to slog through all of NBC's historic (for all the wrong reasons) telecast Sunday of what the network called "The Golden Globes Winners Special." Though only an hour long, it felt much longer than the usual three-hour glamourfest as Billy Bush and Nancy O'Dell struggled to vamp their way through what can only be thought of as an extra-long edition of No Access Hollywood. Typical moment of wit: "Imagine a guy named Hamm being an actor," Bush quipped after announcing Jon Hamm's win for best drama actor for Mad Men. (Yay for that, by the way.)

No stars around to accept, just one pundit on hand, and two babbling anchors rattling off winners that more canny viewers could have seen announced earlier in real time over on the TV Guide Network or E!, both of which aired live telecasts from the actual awards announcement press conference (which looked an awful lot like one of those early-morning nomination announcements, minus stars).

Bush and O'Dell had to fill, fill, fill to stretch the off-camera announcements to an hour's length. They were as breathless as the show was weightless. No suspense, no drama, no tipsy winners to make a spectacle of themselves. In short, no fun. And NBC has only itself to blame for this debacle. The tug-of-war between NBC (which had pressed for exclusive rights to air the announcements as a "news" special), Dick Clark Productions and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association got really ugly late last week, and no one came out a winner here. Least of all the viewers.

If I feel bad for anyone in all of this, it's for the winners from underdog shows like AMC's Mad Men (which also won for best drama series) and NBC's 30 Rock (whose creator-star Tina Fey won for comedy actress, though Alec Baldwin and the show itself were upset by, respectively, Californication's David Duchovny and HBO's Extras). These shows could have used the publicity bump that would've come from accepting their awards on camera, especially the ultra-glamorous cast of Mad Men.

As for who won (for what it matters, because it's really more about the movies), I applaud the Globes for recognizing Mad Men and Jon Hamm, and Glenn Close's win for Damages was a solid no-brainer. And while Jeremy Piven was overdue his first Globe win for Entourage, I wish the supporting category wasn't such a mixed bag of comedy, drama and TV-movie actors so Ted Danson could have been singled out for his stunning dramatic turn on Damages. The Globes were predictably unpredictable in the comedy categories. Their picks weren't my picks, but so what?

It's not like we'll remember who won and lost a year from now. What we'll never forget is what a bad idea it was to televise any aspect of the Golden Globes at all this year.