Big entry for Neil Patrick Harris with -- what else? -- a musical number, "Put Down the Remote". He looks adorable in a white tux. We'll have to get the transcipt of this tune. Already we've got more laughs than last year. Whoo hoo!
5:05: "I grew up on television." It's true, he did.
5:06: "It's my job to make sure things run smoothly tonight. Here's hoping Kanye West likes "30 Rock."
5:07: Neil gives us a tour of the stage -- band out front, and we even get a window on the control room. He explains the division of the presentation of awards by genre. Now a comedy clip package.
5:10: Clip ends with Jon Hamm from his guest shot on "30 Rock." Is this a sign? And now Hamm and Tina Fey are our first presenters. "Comedy is just drama with less smoking," Hamm explains of his guest shot on "30 Rock."
5:12: All the supporting comedy actress nominees have glasses props. Except Vanessa Williams. Kristin Chenoweth wins for "Pushing Daisies." She tells us that the glasses was her fellow nominee Amy Poehler's idea. I'm unemployed now so I'd like to be on Mad Men. I also like "The Office" and "24." Tearful and adorable. Fey looks like she's holding Chenoweth up as they walk off stage. She's tiny!
5:15: Big plug for CBS' TV.com service. Sending viewers there to go vote for their 'Breakthrough" moment of the year in TV, the winner to be announced later in the night. Seems awfully self-serving but I suppose you can't blame them for trying to get some added-value from the Emmycast.
5:21: "How I Met Your Mother" gang comes out to present. Harris promises he won't spend the whole show plugging his show. Matt Hubbard of "30 Rock" wins the comedy writing Emmy. Walter Patterson, why'd you punch this guy? (Hubbard thanked him for punching him in the 8th grade and "turning me into a comedy writer.")
5:21: Interesting that they're doing little flash promos during the show plugging what's upcoming. "Justin Timberlake and Gossip Girls in 6 minutes."
5:24: Julia Louis-Dreyfus presenting, saying she's honored to present on "the last official year of network television." Hey, "Old Christine" got picked up and in it's in syndication. Why the negativity? Maybe she's been watching Leno.
5:32: We're getting our first winner backstage, Jon Cryer. Applause. Apparently his backstage remarks are going live on the show? At least that's what they just told us. "They're doing a bit apparently, that they're setting me up for," he explains. He can't believe he beat out Harris. "Neil Patrick Harris is killing it and he does that every week on the show."
5:35: Jon Cryer's yakking and Toni Collette of Showtime's "United States of Tara" wins for lead comedy actress. Now that's a surprise. "I attribute it to wearing a sweater vest on one of the hottest days of the year," Cryer says in response to the question about what he attributes the win to. He's vamping while they wait for the 'bit' to begin.
5:37: Now we're seeing Cryer backstage on the telecast. He's bantering with Harris. Begs the question of whether this bit was reserved for a CBS winner.
5:41:A segment with non-star nominees talking about what it's like to be nommed for an Emmy. Jeffrey Blitz wins comedy series helming for "The Office," the "Stress Relief" seg. I'm surprised that so far no snarky mentions of the plan to time shift some award categories.
5:48: Here comes itty bitty Kristin Chenoweth. She's all sequins. "Were you expecting to cry?"
5:50: Oh for pete's sake. Alec Baldwin wins comedy actor. JIM PARSONS people JIM PARSONS. What's wrong with you voters!!! Now I'm seriously bummed.
5:53: Chenoweth is choking up again, talking about her mother. On the big stage it's a reality clip package.
5:56: Dance number from the "Dancing With the Stars" hoofers whose names I can never remember, let alone spell. A good chance for everyone to catch up on their writing.
5:58: Toni Collette looks radiant. Bright pink strapless number with lots of ruffles. She's so Austraaaallllyan. (Hey look, Jeff Probst just won reality host for "Survivor.") Ooh love Toni Collette. She just shot back to an idiotic question, 'Is there a question in there?" Oh, the whole cougar phenomenon. She's not having any of it. "That's someone else's fantasy."
6:05: Tracy Morgan presents the reality-competition award. He wonders why "30 Rock" wasn't nommed in this category. "The Amazing Race" for the 900th time. (Actually it's the seventh.)
6:09: Harris gets a laugh out of the "Amazing Race" win. "Unbelievable. Upsets at every turn!"
6:12: Shohreh Aghdashloo wins for "House of Saddam" for supporting longform actress. She's got a sexy deep voice. Hey there's a siren going off backstage. No kidding. Oh, it just stopped.
6:14: Ken Howard wins longform supporting actor for "Grey Gardens." He may also win the SAG presidential election next week. He's got a sense of humor. "I'm going to make my speech as brief as possible in the hopes it won't be interrupted by a Congressman or a rapper." Awww, he dedicates it to his wife, today's her birthday.
6:22: Brendan Gleeson for "Into the Storm" for lead longform actor.
6:26: Jeff Probst backstage talking up his win, but we're taking him to task for the bad hosting job on last year's show. "Five people hosting a show is not a good idea. As Howie (Mandel) said, Everybody knows six is the magic number. It was just a failure."
6:30: Probst is going on and on while there's a cute bit on the show with Neil Patrick Harris in his Dr. Horrible persona. But I can't hear it. I do now know, however, that Probst is not on Twitter. "I'm not there yet."
6:33: Wow. Jessica Lange wins over Drew Barrymore for "Grey Gardens" Drew Barrymore is smiling big but I can't believe she's not flummoxed.
6:35: "The Amazing Race" mob was just backstage talking up Lucky No. 7 -- which I'm going to whip into a sidebar in my spare time.
6:42: "Grey Gardens" wins. I told you back at press tour in January people this one was going to go far. I'm so happy for Michael Sucsy, the director-writer behind this rendition of the Bouvier story.
6:45: "Little Dorrit" wins for miniseries. Damn, Emmy voters really do hate David Simon, whose "Generation Kill" was the only other nominee in the category.
6:49: Shohreh Aghdashloo is talking about important stuff for sure, Middle Eastern issues, as dealt with in "House of Saddam." But darnit we're missing the "Big Bang Theory" thesps presenting an award.
6:55: "Daily Show" wins again for comedy writing. If the show wins again it'll be seven in a row for them too.
6:59: Alec Baldwin is back with us. He looks very mellow, for Alec Baldwin. Especially since he's hit immediately with an inane question about whether he can get Robert Pattinson for a guest shot on "30 Rock." What about running for political office? "Not something I'm prepared to do with my life -- now." Who's the one guest star you'd like to have on "30 Rock." Without a pause -- "McCartney." He says they're "working on" getting the cute Beatle on the show. Baldwin says he loves "Flight of the Conchords," calling out Jemaine Clement.
7:08: Ricky Gervais on stage, "Little Dorrit" team backstage. You do the math.
7:14: "American Idol" director Bruce Gowers has no regrets about Paula Abdul's departure. With Ellen DeGeneres coming on board, he tells us backstage, "It will be a lot more fun and the ratings will be higher than ever before.
7:15: "Thanks for agreeing not to speak," Harris tells TV Acad prexy John Shaffner. Nice touch!
7:20: Ben! Michael Emerson wins for supporting drama actor, second year in a row. "One day I flew to Hawaii to do a guest shot..." His is a good story and he's a fine actor.
7:23: Dan Harmon, creator of "Community," is backstage for his win for music and lyrics for the Oscars opening number this year. He's plugging his show because there aren't too many questions for them.
7:25: Nice "In Memoriam" segment with Sarah McLachlan doing "I Will Remember You" live. It included our own Army Archerd.
7:35: Ellen Burstyn and Michael J. Fox presenting the drama directing award. I admire Fox more than I can express. He is a brave man.
7:41: The "Grey Gardens" mob is backstage. Jessica Lange is doing all the talking. No Drew. And Glenn Close has just won lead drama actress for "Damages" -- over Elisabeth Moss??
7:49: Bryan Cranston for "Breaking Bad" wins lead drama actor. I was hoping for a slice of Hamm. "I'm a poor kid from the Valley I don't know what I'm doing up here."
7:51: Bob Newhart presents the comedy series award. "30 Rock" -- again. Wow. "That was a nail-biter," Tina Fey says. Even she's not terribly excited.
7:54: Brendan Gleeson is going on and on. With all due respect...
8:00: "Mad Men" wins for drama. Can't argue with that even if an upset would have been better copy.
(FYI, the blogging had to take a backseat to sidebars for tomorrow's print editon but I'll fill in more later...)