Alec Baldwin pulls out of Emmy skit after Fox cuts phone-hacking joke

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News Corp-owned Fox, host of Sunday night's Emmy awards, has cut a joke about Rupert Murdoch and the U.K. phone-hacking scandal, involving his media empire, from a pre-taped video skit that will open the telecast, and featured Alec Baldwin. Baldwin, who's been nominated a fifth straight year for lead actor in a comedy series, was displeased with the excision, and subsequently dropped out, requesting that the network not air his part. At the eleventh hour, he was replaced by Mr. Spock himself, Leonard Nimoy, who re-did the skit minus the joke.

Fox maintains that the decision to nix the joke was made not because it involved their boss, but because they didn't want to be perceived as making light of the phone-hacking allegations, which you can take with a grain of salt. Baldwin confirmed the incident on Twitter, tweeting "Fox did kill my NewsCorp hacking joke. Which sucks bc I think it would have made them look better. A little."

As news broke of the censorship today, Baldwin acidically tweeted, "If I were enmeshed in a scandal where I hacked phones of families of innocent crime victims purely 4 profit, I'd want that 2 go away, 2." Incidentally, Baldwin was to play a fictional head of a television network, which wouldn't have been too much of a stretch for Jack Donaghy's alter ego. Baldwin will be skipping the Emmys this year, instead attending Tony Bennett's birthday party in New York, where they presumably will be doing a duet of "I Left My Heart in San Francisco."