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Two Emmy promos here: Jimmy Fallon shooting lasers from his eyes is cool, but stay tuned for Fallon as "Mad Men's" Don Draper in what may be the most stylish Emmy promo in history.
(h/t OK! Magazine and TV Tattle)
UPDATED: "Saw your story on Fallon's promo and here's my question. We're still in the voting window, thought the Emmys had to stay neutral. So are Dexter, Good Wife, True Blood, Breaking Bad & Lost promos next?" asked one e-mail to ON THE AIR earlier today.
We checked with NBC... and it looks like, oops, these spots were uploaded "prematurely." NBC will wait until after the voting period is over before running them.
But still funny stuff.
I'm not an engineer but I play one on TV!
"The Big Bang Theory's" Kunal Nayyar (far left) and Simon Helberg (center) have been tapped to host the Primetime Emmy Engineering Awards on Aug. 14 at the Renaissance hotel in Hollywood.
Those two should get the eggheads buzzing. Full release after the jump:
You need to decide what kind of company you want to be: Comfortable and dead, or risky, and possibly rich.
Don Draper, unbound.
What struck me most about "Mad Men's" season opener was the sense of liberation that now surrounds Draper. He's still figuring out how to handle his new-found freedom -- as evidenced by his very different interactions with reporters that bookend the episode -- but by Thanksgiving 1964 he is very definitely a changed man from where we left him last fall, in the winter of 1963.
He's no longer churning inside from the shame and self-loathing that came from hiding his identity from his family. He's no longer living in fear of being exposed in the Don Draper-Dick Whitman switch. He no longer has to sneak around with extramarital dalliances. His biggest challenges are in his professional life, but in this arena too he's taken the reins of his own destiny. He's working for himself, and the Madison Avenue establishment is paying attention -- to his delight, despite his protestations about the work speaking for itself. He even allows Don Draper's ultra-cool facade to crack a little bit by blowing up here and there -- kicking a chair, yelling at a client, etc. Jon Hamm -- hot damn, he's so good.
The title of this seg explains a lot: "Public Relations," written by Matthew Weiner (who else?) and helmed by Phil Abraham. There's great work in this episode from d.p. Christopher Manley. He and costume designer Janie Bryant work overtime to ensure that "Mad Men" remains the most stylish hour in primetime.
While Don is finding his footing in his new life, the same does not appear to be true for his ex. Betty seems to be in as much turmoil as ever -- just ask Sally Draper (as predicted, Kiernan Shipka has only gotten better in the role during the past year). Betty and her illicit love of last season, Henry, have married, but they're living in a strange kind of limbo by staying in the house that is haunted by the memory of Don and Betty's unhappy union, at Betty's insistence. Henry's mother is a battleax, for sure, as we discover in that painfully awkward Thanksgiving dinner scene, but she's right about one thing: Betty's children are terrified of their unstable mother, and that's a hell of a psycho-drama for Henry to enter.
By ERIN MAXWELL
Our heroes have more fun. That's the message Showtime delivered in its Antiheroes panel at Comic-Con.
For the cabler, you don't have to be faster than a speeding bullet to be considered a hero. In fact, youcan be a pill-popping nurse, a pot dealer, a serial killer with a bizarre interpretation of justice or a womanizing author with a libido that can left tall building at a single bound.
The net brought together the stars of its shows "Nurse Jackie," "Weeds," "Californication" and "Dexter" to discuss the term antihero and how their actions may not save puppies or put out fires, but that they mean well. Or at least try to.
David Duchovny's view on Hank is not to focus on his extracurricular activities, but as his role as a truth-teller.
"When the show started, Hank was the most chaotic part of the show. But as the show progressed, the characters around him have gotten wilder. Now he is the voice of reason," said Duchovny.
With "Nurse Jackie," it's easy to see how she is good since she saves lives on a daily basis. It's coming to terms with her dark side and drug habit that tells audiences that she is far from a saint.
"She is not perfect. We identify with her whether we want to or not," said co-star Paul Schulze, who plays Eddie on the show.
With "Weeds," the character began as a struggling character, but in recent plot developments, the character of Nancy Botwin has taken a darker turn. "She's not a person burdened by guilt," said Mary- Louise Parker.
"She's like Scarlett O'Hara. She believes if she moves forward, things will get better, but all she is doing is procrastinating guilt," she said.
Of all the characters, Dexter Morgan is the best example of the antihero. Evil and sinister without a doubt, audiences and critics have embraced the character wholeheartedly. Michael C. Hall believes this has to do with Dexter's code.
"His code is how we get to know the character. If he didn't have the code, he would kill disconcertingly and without reason, all bets would be off with the audience being able to relate to him,"
said Hall. "I think Dexter has a formidable dark side, but he takes responsibility for it...yeah, I sympathize with him."
"Dexter's" exec producer Chip Johannessen believes the character is on a hero's journey.
"Dexter is born into this weird think," said Johannessen. "He starts as an anti-hero and is removed from society. He has to climb his way back into society."
So, is Nancy Botwin a good mother? Is Dexter a vigilante with a heart of gold? Probably not. But their trials and tribulations keep auds glued, if not because they are good, but because of their struggle to follow the right path.
"Weeds" will preem on Aug. 16, "Dexer" on Sept. 26. "Californication" is back in January, followed later in the year by "Nurse Jackie."
A day after the show received its first acting Emmy nominations (for series leads Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton), "Lights" finished first in broadcast at 8 p.m. Friday among adults 25-54 and men 18-49, 18-34 and 25-54 (the latter a tie). Drawing 3.7 million viewers overall, he show was second in the timeslot among adults 18-49.NBC, of course, is airing this fourth season of "Lights" months after the episodes first ran on DirecTV, so they come somewhere between rerun and firstrun programming.
"Lights" is close to wrapping up production on a fifth season (for 2010-11) widely believed to be its final campaign, but some have begun to wonder whether last week's little jolt of recognition might prompt yet another Hail Mary pass to extend the show. Best not to get one's hopes up, but you'll have to forgive a fella for hopin'.
Among the broadcast networks, ABC dominated the 2010 Emmy nominations, with 63, while CBS was second, with 57.
But NBC and Fox were neck-and-neck for third place -- with the Peacock landing 48 nominations, narrowly beating Fox, at 47.
Or so we thought.
But turns out Universal Media Studios made a slight goof in crediting the busted sci-fi pilot "Virtuality," which scored a nomination in the "outstanding special visual effects for a miniseries, movie or a special" category.
"Virtuality," which aired last June as a stand-alone TV movie, was credited to NBC. But the movie, which was produced by NBC's Universal Media Studios (and BermanBraun), actually aired on Fox.
That would generally be a pretty minor mistake. But in this case, that minor mistake carries a bit more weight: It allows Fox to slide into third place, and moves NBC down to fourth among the broadcast webs.
Here's what makes this even more odd: No one noticed. As a matter of fact, NBC took credit for "Virtuality" in its press release. And Fox didn't notice that it hadn't received credit.
So what happened? TV Academy awards senior vp John Leverence filled me in:
We got two entries for this busted pilot, one for the movie and one for SVE that went on to nomination. Both were made by a rep at NBCUni and entered as an NBC movie. Just got a call from the rep who responded to our query (prompted by yours) RE the error, i.e., it was in fact aired on NBC but only after its first airing on FOX. We are going to change our tallies accordingly and post NBC at 47 total noms and FOX at 48 total noms on our official press release at Emmys.tv and Emmys.com.
Many thanks for your sharp eye!
There you go. Variety's On the Air, making a difference. I sniff Pulitzer, baby!
Don't feel bad, NBC. You could always be the CW, which was yet again completely ignored Thursday by Academy members.
But this morning, Ramirez received no fewer than five Emmy nominations, which according to the TV Academy of Television Arts and Sciences gives the longtime camera operator an all-time Emmy record of 60.
"You know, I (wasn't) really aware," Ramirez told Variety On the Air. "I know that I've gotten quite a few, but I really have not been tracking or keeping up with how many. But it's exciting."
This is the 21st consecutive year that at least one Emmy nomination has gone to Ramirez, whose first came in 1978 for "CBS: On the Air." He has won 15 times, including twice in 2008 and every year from 1990-96.
This year, Ramirez is nominated four times with other camerapersons in the "Outstanding Technical Direction, Camerawork, Video Control For A Miniseries, Movie Or A Special" category, for his work on the "25th Anniversary Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Concert," "82nd Annual Academy Awards," "52nd Annual Grammy Awards" and "The Kennedy Center Honors." He also received a nom in the category's series counterpart, for "Dancing With the Stars."
"I've been going now for 38 years," said Ramirez. "I started here in Los Angeles right out of school in 1968, and I've been blessed by being able to work my whole life."
Ramirez said his first job was with a small Spanish station. He worked with ABC for a year and then CBS for 7 1/2 years before going freelance, and has never worked any other job in Hollywood besides camera.
"I think it's a challenging position for me," Ramirez said. "It gives me the ability to express myself, visually. Fortunately, I've been lucky enough to have directors who like what I do.
"You know in this business, a little luck always helps. If they think you do a great job, and you're a little lucky, you're pretty well set up."
How has "Breaking Bad," which is no secret to TV Academy voters — having earned seven Emmy noms this year, including top drama and lead and supporting actor — never received a writing nomination?
The "Mad Men" effect is substantial — last year, for example, the Matthew Weiner series took four of the final slots, before settling for two this year. Academy voters also save at least one spot for "Lost," which was nominated in the category today for the fifth time in six years.
After that, it gets more complicated — with the simplest explanation being that "Bad" got caught in the switches (like a drug deal gone awry, if you will). Emmy did acknowledge a critically acclaimed, little-seen show waiting its turn for its first drama writing nod, but that was "Friday Night Lights." And Emmy did get on board with a show whose quality transcended expectations, but that was "The Good Wife."
Still, for those of us whose jaws drop with almost every episode of "Breaking Bad," it's a little shocking to see that the Academy has never once recognized the skein's scribes — especially with "Bad" receiving its second series nomination in a row. In a writing-driven medium like television, it's analogous to a film getting noms for best picture but not director.
Someone has to get left out, and "Bad," of course, was hardly the only series to feel shot down this year. For example, "The Big Bang Theory" was once again a surprise comedy series and writing omission, while "Sons of Anarchy" got a big fat zero in every category, a circumstance that showrunner Kurt Sutter reacted to with his typically testy grace.
The two performers, long neglected for their celebrated work on "Friday Night Lights," each scored Emmy lead acting nominations today for their work on the series' fourth season.
Overall, "Lights" received four Emmy nominations today, matching the program's total from its first three seasons combined. Rolin Jones was nominated today for writing "The Son" episode, while Linda Lowy, John Brace and Beth Sepko were cited for the fourth year in a row for casting.
The noms are credited to DirecTV, which helped "Lights" keep on the air through an arrangement with NBC. Though a small amount of hope remains that the clock has not officially run out on "Lights," the cast and crew are aware that their current production season is likely their last.
"The thing that makes this so sweet is that we only have two episodes left (to film)," Britton said this morning. "Another thought was this was good for the show. We're always thinking of ways the show can be saved at the 11th hour."
Thursday morning's Emmy nominations offered up an interesting mix of suprises -- both for what was nominated and what wasn't nominated. On the one hand, "The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien" scored four noms -- a nice send-off for O'Brien after what happened at NBC. On the flip side, "The Big Bang Theory" shockingly didn't score an Emmy nom for outstanding comedy, despite a heroic campaign by Warner Bros. TV.
It was also a good day for "Modern Family," and "Glee," as many of both shows' cast members scored noms on top of a nod in the outstanding comedy category. It's a freshman smackdown!
"Glee," in particular, had a good morning, scoring 19 noms -- the most of any series, period. Only "The Pacific," with 24 nods, scored more.
Here's a list of the major categories; stay tuned for more updates throughout the morning. Unless excitement over Betty White's guest actress nomination shuts down the Internet.
Outstanding Comedy Series
Curb Your Enthusiasm • HBO
Glee • FOX •
Nurse Jackie • Showtime
The Office • NBC •
30 Rock • NBC •
Outstanding Drama Series
Breaking Bad • AMC •
Dexter • Showtime •
The Good Wife • CBS •
Lost • ABC •
Mad Men • AMC •
True Blood • HBO
Outstanding Lead Actor In A Comedy Series
Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory)
Larry David (Curb Your Enthusiasm)
Matthew Morrison (Glee)
Tony Shalhoub (Monk)
Steve Carell (The Office)
Alec Baldwin (30 Rock)
Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series
Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad)
Michael C. Hall (Dexter)
Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights)
Hugh Laurie (House)
Matthew Fox (Lost)
Jon Hamm (Mad Men)
Outstanding Lead Actress In A Comedy Series
Lea Michele (Glee)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Old Christine)
Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie)
Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation)
Tina Fey (30 Rock)
Toni Collette (United States of Tara)
Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series
Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer)
Glenn Close (Damages)
Connie Britton (Friday Night Lights)
Julianna Margulies (The Good Wife)
Mariska Hargitay (Law & Order: SVU)
January Jones (Mad Men)
Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Comedy Series
Chris Colfer (Glee)
Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother)
Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family)
Eric Stonestreet (Modern Family)
Ty Burrell (Modern Family)
Jon Cryer (Two and a Half Men)
Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Drama Series
Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad)
Martin Short (Damages)
Terry O'Quinn (Lost)
Michael Emerson (Lost)
John Slattery (Mad Men)
Andre Braugher (Men of a Certain Age)
Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series
Jane Lynch (Glee)
Julie Bowen (Modern Family)
Sofia Vergara (Modern Family)
Kristen Wiig (Saturday Night Live)
Jane Krakowski (30 Rock)
Holland Taylor (Two and a Half Men)
Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Drama Series
Sharon Gless (Burn Notice)
Rose Byrne (Damages)
Archie Panjabi (The Good Wife)
Christine Baranski (The Good Wife)
Christina Hendricks (Mad Men)
Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men)
The Pacific • HBO
Return To Cranford (Masterpiece) • PBS •
Outstanding Made For Television Movie
Endgame (Masterpiece) • PBS •
Georgia O'Keeffe • Lifetime •
Moonshot • HISTORY •
The Special Relationship • HBO •
Temple Grandin • HBO •
You Don't Know Jack • HBO •
Outstanding Lead Actor In A Miniseries Or A Movie
Jeff Bridges as Jon Katz (A Dog Year/HBO)
Ian McKellen as Two (The Prisoner/AMC)
Michael Sheen as Tony Blair (The Special Relationship/HBO)
Dennis Quaid as Bill Clinton (The Special Relationship/HBO)
Al Pacino as Dr. Jack Kevorkian (You Don't Know Jack/HBO)
Outstanding Lead Actress In A Miniseries Or A Movie
Maggie Smith as Mary Gilbert (Capturing Mary/HBO)
Joan Allen as Georgia O’Keeffe (Georgia O'Keefe/Lifetime)
Dame Judi Dench as Miss Matty (Return to Cranford/PBS)
Hope Davis as Hillary Clinton (The Special Relationship/HBO)
Claire Danes as Temple Grandin (Temple Grandin/HBO)
Outstanding Variety, Music Or Comedy Series
The Colbert Report • Comedy Central •
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart • Comedy Central •
Real Time With Bill Maher • HBO •
Saturday Night Live • NBC •
The Tonight Show With Conan O'Brien • NBC
Outstanding Variety, Music Or Comedy Special
Bill Maher "...But I'm Not Wrong" • HBO •
Hope For Haiti Now • • Tenth Planet Productions and MTV
The Kennedy Center Honors • CBS •
Robin Williams: Weapons Of Self Destruction • HBO
The 25th Anniversary Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Concert • HBO
Wanda Sykes: I'ma Be Me • HBO •
Outstanding Reality Program
Antiques Roadshow • PBS •
Dirty Jobs • Discovery Channel •
Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution • ABC
Kathy Griffin: My Life On The D-List • Bravo
MythBusters • Discovery Channel •
Undercover Boss • CBS •
Outstanding Reality - Competition Program
The Amazing Race • CBS •
American Idol • FOX •
Dancing With The Stars • ABC
Project Runway • Lifetime •
Top Chef • Bravo •
AFTER THE JUMP: Outstanding writing nominations, as well as animation noms. PLUS the full network tally.
Holcomb (pictured) deftly handled the series' two-hour closer, "And in the End," just as he sent the show off on its storied run back in 1994 by helming the pilot, "24 Hours." He was Emmy nommed for the pilot (he won the DGA Award that year) and one other "ER" seg, but the statuette eluded him until Sunday night.
But Holcomb wasn't at the Nokia Theater to pick up his award. Ever the consummate pro, the helmer was on the other side of the country in Gotham, getting ready for the start of shooting today on an episode of CBS' frosh Julianna Margulies drama "The Good Wife."
So here's one last hearty congrats to Holcomb and to "ER." The show holds the Emmy record as the most-nommed series with 124 bids, and a total of 22 -- let's make that 23 -- wins.
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...)
... but not without the usual hassle of the parking directions being completely wrong and the security force being utterly unfamiliar with the term "press room." And a momentary panic over computer problem that was, mercifully, easily fixed.
For some reason, the P.A. in the press room is pumping the Greatest Hits of the '80s. Who did "Jenny 867-5039" again? Lemme out of here. Like they couldn't have sprung for the remastered Beatles box set?
I'm headed out to the red carpet ... because I haven't sweltered enough walking the mile from the parking lot to the Nokia Theater press room, which is still a mile away from the theater itself.
... and already my feet hurt.
Had a blast making the Saturday night party rounds, starting with the Evening Before fundraiser for the Motion Picture and Television Fund Home. High-level schmoozing in the courtyard area behind CAA for a good cause, plus fantastic eats. (Heed my words, Chuck Lorre, and run, don't walk, and go buy those Beatles remastered discs. You won't be disappointed.)
From Century City I scooted down Wilshire Boulevard to NBC Universal's party at Spago. It was packed, as usual, and hotter than usual, thanks to the weather. But how can I complain? I ate still more fantastic food and sweets, and I got to catch up with some Peacock folks who I usually only communicate with by email or phone. I also made a citizen's arrest of Michael Cudlitz to tell him how much I dig "Southland."
A few Spago pics have popped up on NBC U's press site.
Top one is a group gaggle with the new big boss Jeff Gaspin and NBC programming prexy Angela Bromstad flanked by talent: "The Office's" Angela Kinsey, Rich Sommer ("Mad Men's" Harry Crane, who also guested on "Office" last season), Ken Jeong and Joel McHale of newbie "Community."
Middle one is the sublime meets the ridiculous, or Jeff Gaspin, "Law & Order: SVU's" Mariska Hargitay and "30 Rock's" Alec Baldwin.
And the bottom one is birds of a feather, or "30 Rock's" Jack McBrayer and "Office's" Ed Helms.
I'm looking forward to Saturday's pre-Emmy bashes, after my daughter and I do some grunt work for California as participants in Heal the Bay's annual Coastal Cleanup Day event. We had so much fun at our favorite beaches this summer, it's the least we can do. (I swear, there's a special place in purgatory for people who decide to bury broken beer bottles in the sand. We came thisclose to stepping on one a few weeks ago.)
I don't do Emmy predictions -- just like I don't play the slots in Las Vegas. But I am rooting for certain contenders to prevail at the Nokia Theater on Sunday night.
Perhaps the closest one to my heart this year is "The Big Bang Theory's" Jim Parsons for lead comedy actor. I'm still sore that "Big Bang" didn't get a comedy series nod. Recognizing Parsons is an absolute must, or I'll be pretty grouchy in the press room afterward. Parsons is everything that the Emmys should celebrate -- a star home grown by TV, not the other way around.
In the drama series heat, I wouldn't be totally shocked if "Breaking Bad" pulled off an upset win. I'm torn between rooting for "Mad Men" and "Lost." I would love it if "Lost" was recognized for the enormity and the incredible quality of the work that cast and crew put in week in and week out. Of course, a "Mad Men" win would also be well, well-deserved.
For comedy series, I would give it to "Weeds." In a perfect world I would give it to "Big Bang," because I think that show embodies all the great elements of a classic, evergreen make-me-laugh sitcom, something the small screen doesn't have enough of these days. But among the nominees, I would give the nod to "Weeds," in recognition of the quirky half-hour that set Showtime off on its hot streak.
This is probably not going to be a popular opinion in town but regarding the Emmycast shakeup ... I say give them the benefit of the doubt, at least until Sept. 21. For three reasons:
No. 1 -- They're not dumping the awards entirely from the show. The vidclips will be interspersed at appropriate moments throughout the telecast. Exec producer Don Mischer has promised the clips won't be a split-second montage thing but a proper segment for each of the eight awards that will include a listing of the nominees, the reaction shot of the winner(s) while still seated and then a complete thought expressed by said winner(s) at the microphone.
No. 2 -- The Emmycast has to do something. It's basically a pretty boring show. I'm always preoccupied by covering the backstage antics, but you can tell that with rare exceptions, it's a snoozer. The vast majority of my non-pro friends have never watched it, couldn't care less, even those who are TV buffs.
No. 3 -- They've got Neil Patrick Harris as host. This fine young man is a born entertainer. He deserves some extra minutes here and there to strut, sing and soft shoe. Memo to Mischer: Reserve Ricky Gervais for a nice long segment, and throw caution to the wind by giving Craig Ferguson a good slot too for some ad-libbing. Fortune favors the brave.
I really don't believe that the changes are any kind of big conspiracy by CBS to downplay the wins of rivals, particularly cable rivals, in favor of running trailers for "CSI" and "The Mentalist." I think it is a ratings-driven move to produce a show with more tune-in appeal to the vast expanse of viewers.
As usual, I agree with most everything Brian Lowry has to say in the thinkpiece he's posted on BLTV.
... ignored Jack Bender (pictured left) for drama series direction. He only helmed the best episodes of season ("The Incident, parts 1 and 2"; "Namaste," "The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham," among others) Need we say more??
And how did "Lost's" badass cinematographers get completely shut out?
Oh, and what about one of the most talented composers working in film and TV today -- Michael Giacchino (pictured right) who still writes mini- movie scores for "Lost" every week that are recorded by a LIVE ORCHESTRA, not a souped-up synthesizer or computer.
He kept the insanely emotional quality going on "Lost" this past season even when he was kinda busy with a few other projects -- little movies called "Up" and "Star Trek," not to mention working on J.J. Abrams' Fox drama "Fringe."
What more does it take?
I gotta get moving on sidebars for tomorrow's paper but a few top-of-mind thoughts on the Primetime Emmy noms:
** "The Big Bang Theory" -- Call the cops. The best all-around comedy series extant wuz robbed this morning. Star Jim Parsons (pictured left, who announced the noms with "Grey's Anatomy's" Chandra Wilson) of course was recognized but the show deserved it too, dagnabit.
** "Friday Night Lights" -- What does it take, Emmy voters? With seven nominees for drama series, there wasn't any room for the most well-rendered slice of life drama on TV? Or for Connie Britton and Kyle Chandler in the acting heats?
** "True Blood" snub? While I'm not a huge fan of HBO's fang-fest, it has undeniable sizzle right now, and star Anna Paquin is delicious in her role (even I recognize that). With the Alan Ball of it all, the show seem to be much more Emmy bait than HBO's "Big Love," which nabbed a drama series nod. Go figure.
** "Battlestar Galactica" shut out? I would've bet money on the voters catching up with this space opera's final voyage.
** Supporting drama actor nom for Michael Emerson of "Lost" -- good. But William Shatner, again?? The category would've been better served by Taylor Kitsch of "FNL," or Vincent Kartheiser of "Mad Men," or Josh Holloway of "Lost" (and not just because Holloway would make all the girl reporters backstage swoon, but because he was damn good last season).
** Supporting drama actress for Elisabeth Moss of "Mad Men." This is good.
** Supporting comedy actor. Tracy Morgan -- really? Over Simon Helberg or Kunal Nayyar of "Big Bang Theory." Really?
** Supporting comedy actress. No room for Kaley Cuoco of "Big Bang Theory"? What part of this show are Emmy voters NOT watching??
** Comedy series writing. Four nods for "30 Rock"? I'd call that gluttony.
** Drama series writing. Four nods for "Mad Men"? Much as I love that show, much as I spent Sunday nights last summer and fall parsing every word of every episode on this blog, four nods is overkill.
** Betty White earning her 15th career nom, this time for a guest shot on "My Name is Earl." This is good.
** The great Gena Rowlands was recognized for her guest turn on "Monk." She somehow grows more beautiful every year.
** Ed Asner's having a hell of a year. Not only is he in the best movie I've seen all year -- "Up" -- but he nabbed a drama guest star nod for "CSI: NY." Old guys rule!
I think the first powwow between CBS execs and Emmy telecast exec producer Don Mischer was held today on the question of who will host the kudocast. After last year's debacle with the painfully un-funny reality-group approach, this year's emcee had better be good -- damn good.
I vote for Craig Ferguson. For one, he's in the CBS family, and I think he'd bring just the right folksy-funny charm to the evening, as he does most every weeknight on "The Late Late Show" in his observational-conversational monologue. And here's a thought -- why not deputize Ricky Gervais to serve as the night's sole award presenter? Now that would be fun.
It was clear from the very first moments of the show, and now we have the quantitative ratings evidence that last night's Emmycast was a stinker. In adults 18-49, the show dropped 12% from last year, which was nothing to cheer about ratings-wise, to an average 3.8 rating/9 share, according to Nielsen prelims. All those stars and the Emmys couldn't even muster a 10 share? Wow.
In viewers, the three-hour ABC telecast averaged 12.2 million, down 6% from last year's 13.1 million. Viewership declined as the night went on and the most high-profile trophies were handed out. It peaked from 9-9:30 p.m. at 13.2 million, but by 10 p.m. it was down to 12.1 million, and by 10:30 it was 11.9 million. That's rejection folks.
With all due respect to Tom Bergeron, Heidi Klum, Howie Mandel, Jeff Probst and Ryan Seacrest, the idea of using five reality show hosts was a stinker, as were most of the show's scripted bits. And as the night wore on, the producers' haste at playing winners off before they'd barely gotten on the stage in the effort not to go long made it all play even worse. There was much complaining about it back stage -- justifiably so.
Sure, there'll be a lot of pontificating about low ratings generated on a night when the big series winners are shows that are watched by teensy-tiny slivers of the viewing aud, NBC's "30 Rock" and AMC's "Mad Men." But anyone who was there or watched it live heard the whoosh of channels changing about six minutes into the telecast and that nonsensical bit from the five hosts having "nothing" prepared. Frankly, even opening on a preachy note with Oprah Winfrey lecturing about the "power" of the medium was a little downbeat.
It's all water under the bridge to nowhere now. Let's chalk this one up to experience and try to do better next year.
5:02: It's started. Oprah Winfrey is speaking about the power of television. Guess we should pay attention. Television is medium that can "not just entertain us but educate us and often inspire us. It's putting our own lives in high-definition," she instructs.
5:04: Here come our hosts, Tom Bergeron, Heidi Klum, Howie Mandel, Jeff Probst qnd Ryan Seacrest come out in tuxes. Yes, Heidi's in a tux.
"We feel like the stepchild of TV. This is important to me. I wanted this to be special. This is my moment -- our moment," Mandel says.
Now they're into a bit about how they have nothing planned for the opening. And blaming Oprah for stealing their hifalutin stuff about television and Emmy's 60th anniversary.
"This is serious, this is not a bit," Mandel says. "We are like on Sarah Palin's bridge to nowhere."
5:06: Now they've left it to Tom and Heidi. Tom makes a joke about how Probst has never hosted a show "with indoor plumbing." Not terribly funny.
Now William Shatner has come on stage and ripped part of Heidi's tux off, now she's in sequined shorts. Still not funny. There was buzz going around Saturday's pre-Emmy parties that the five hosts were upset about how flat the opening sketch was. I believe it.
Finally, our first winner. Jeremy Piven wins his third consecutive as supporting comedy actor for "Entourage." He deserves it, even if I was rooting for "Office's" Rainn Wilson. Piven is a classy guy, and whaddya know -- he references how lame the opening bit was. Tee hee.
"These are strange times for all of us. To be a working actor is an unbelievable gift. None of this is lost on me. Thank you," Piven said. First commercial break.
5:17: We're back, and into a segment about famous TV sets. Now we're in a "Seinfeld" clip, from "The Contest." At the top of the show? Why?
5:20: Wow, Jean Smart takes the supporting comedy actress nod for "Samantha Who." Not bad for a show that barely had a half-season in a strike-disrupted Emmy frame.
"The answer to the question 'Samantha Who' is Christina Applegate. She sets the tone for the most amazing brilliant cast in the world," Smart gushes. Now she's into her litany of thank-yous. Hey, ABC's Stephen McPherson gets the first exec shout-out of the night. And they're trying to play her off...
5:25: Heidi and Jeff are back. Heidi's in a frock, finally. Probst congratulates her on "Project Runway" success and she tells him she feels "verklempt." Who wrote this??
Now we're into a "Desperate Housewives" clip package.
5:28: Now the six "Housewives" stars are presenting the supporting drama actor award. They're pretending to be fighting each other for the spotlight while paying tribute to the show's homey atmosphere.
5:30: Now Ricky Gervais is smiling at us -- telling us that he wasn't here last year "but I still won." He's giving us tips on giving a good acceptance speech. This leads into a clip package of memorable acceptance speeches.
Now Gervais is back needling Steve Carell from the stage -- remember Carell accepted Gervais' award for him last year. "I sat through 'Evan Almighty' -- give me my Emmy." Now Gervais has gone down to Carell in the audience and is trying to get his Emmy out of him. "Gimme the Emmy. Give it here."
5:35: Jeremy Piven is back stage. Looking sharp in pinstripes. Giving reporters some grief. He's asked what he meant about the opening being bad.
"I thought we were being punked as an audience. I was confused, there was that awkward moment...It was confusing, so there you have it."
He's asked the obligatory question about his third consecutive win and will he beat the record of five consecutive wins held by Don Knotts of "The Andy Griffith Show."
"To be honest with you that's all I'm focused on. There isn't a moment that goes by when I don't think 'When am I gonna take Don Knotts down?'"
Boy, Piven is going on and on. I can't hear the show -- only see it on the monitors. Looks like they're giving out the music/variety writing award right now.
"Colbert Report" wins. Good! The camera shows Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart embracing -- or was that a fist-bump?
"Oh Hollywood, all is forgiven," Colbert says. Then he gets earnest and gives out the thank-yous, including exec shout-outs to MTV Networks' Doug Herzog and Comedy Central's Michele Ganeless.
5:48: I'm told that while Piven was going on and on, Dianne Wiest won supporting drama actress for "In Treatment."
5:50: Now Steve Martin is doing the tribute to the Smothers Brothers. (He was a writer for their CBS variety show way back when.) "I'd come in in the morning and say "hi" to Tommy, and he'd say "How'd you know?" Martin recalls. Ah the good old days.
Martin notes that "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour" was replaced by "Hee Haw." You do the math.
5:52: Now we have Jean Smart backstage. She gives a hearty hello to KTLA's Sam Rubin. They're gushing over each other. She's elaborating on her on-stage remarks about "Samantha Who" star Christina Applegate. "I've never seen an actress so beloved by cast and crew as Christina...and that was before she hit some hard times."
I'm bummed that I can't hear Tommy Smothers getting his big moment on stage. Oh well, I'll catch up with it later.
Jean Smart's earring just fell off. That was far more interesting than the cliche questions she's getting about women over 30 in Hollywood and how she manages to work so much!
5:58: Zeljko Ivanek stops in back stage. He's asked if he felt the love of applause when he won. "I did feel that, it was amazing." This is the level of discourse we're getting here folks. That said, I'm happy for Ivanek. Yes, I thought the award should've gone to Michael Emerson of "Lost," but Ivanek's an old "Homicide" hand so...there you go.
6:04: Oh my god, Groban is doing "MASH's" theme "Suicide is Painless" as a Broadway show stopper. I'm not kidding.
6:06: Thank god that's over. Now Alec Baldwin is using his best PBS voice to present the award for lead longform actress. Laura Linney wins for "John Adams." Totally fair, she was good as Abigail Adams -- a truly great American.
"Tom Hooper you're a genius," she says of the "John Adams" director. Then Linney gives us the first overtly political quip of the night from a winner. The Emmy win for the Adams mini will remind her to "stop and pause and be so grateful for the community organizers that helped form our country." Don't think that was off the cuff!
6:14: A tribute to "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-in" features clips of contempo actors doing the "Sock it to me" line. Not trying to be overly critical here, but nothing so far has been funny.
Gary Owens and Lily Tomlin are reprising their roles as announcer and goofy telephone operator. And now other "Laugh-in" vets like Ruth Buzzi are presenting the variety/music/comedy series award, using the old "Laugh-in" windows set.
"The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" wins. Stewart does a pretty mean Arte Johnson impression as he's hugged by Joanne Worley, Ruth Buzzi and Lily Tomlin. "Very in-teresting." It's pretty much the highlight of his remarks -- remarkably dry for such a quick wit.
"This has been a remarkable run for us; we really do appreciate it. And I really look forward to the next administration ...whoever it is," Stewart says.
6:21: Barry Sonnenfeld wins the comedy directing Emmy for the "Pie-lette" of "Pushing Daisies." He gives exec shout-outs to Stephen McPherson and Warner Bros. TV's Peter Roth "for championing our show." "You should surround yourself with people who are smarter than you and you'll get a great show, and you'll get all the credit," Sonnenfeld says.
6:25: Tina Fey wins for comedy writing for "30 Rock." She's classy, giving props to her fellow "30 Rock" writing nominee Jack Burditt. She thanks him for writing the phrase "Never go with a hippie to a second location." Fey looks genuinely happy to win in the category.
"I would not have any of the other jobs I've had if I had not been a writer first," she says.
6:32: Martin Sheen has just delivered a get out and vote plug, in his Josiah Bartlet persona.
6:33: Kinda weird. TV Acad prexy John Shaffner seems to be delivering an apology for the biz for last season. He tells viewers that the creative community is "dedicated to bringing you a full season of television." OK...
6:36: "Recount" wins made-for-TV movie. Good. The Cinderella story of "Recount" writer Danny Strong is complete. Producer Paula Weinstein does the talking for the group, and she notes: "This belongs to the men and women on the ground in Florida fighting to count every vote. They'll be on the ground in November. So vote." She also mentions original "Recount" director Sydney Pollack, which garnered big applause from the room.
6:40: Barry Sonnenfeld is back stage and he's really coherent, thoughtful and humble about his "Pushing Daisies" win. He admits that a lot of time when he's in public he starts babbling about his penis, but this time around he was focused. He said he owed his award to "Daisies" creator Bryan Fuller ---always a nice touch from a helmer.
Asked by me about his shout-out to Warner Bros. TV's Peter Roth and the reports last season of friction between him and the studio, Sonnenfeld says it was all "a coup attempt" by an exec producer who's no longer on the show. Interesting. He says season two is coming along great -- the scripts are funnier, the cast is more in a groove. And they're taking care to make sure that viewers see Kristin Chenoweth's "firm and supple breasts" in the coming season.
6:45: While Sonnenfeld was talking, Jay Roach won for longform directing for "Recount." Kirk Ellis won the longform writing award for "John Adams." That's totally right, as far as I'm concerned. Ellis gives a shout-out to HBO execs Michael Lombardo and Colin Callender. And he makes mention of how happy he was to work on a project about "a period in our history when articulate men articulated complex thoughts in complete sentences." He tried to say something else but the camera whisked us into commercial break. I think the world of Kirk Ellis, having enjoyed his work and having seen him on the Emmy chitlin circuit the past few weeks.
6:54: Dame Eileen Atkins wins the longform supporting actress award for PBS' "Cranford." She's not there to accept. I hate to say it but nobody noticed.
6:56: Kathy Griffin is delivering a tribute to Don Rickles. "GET UP" she shouts to the crowd. Liveliest moment in the show so far. "The world hasn't seen a pairing like this since John McCain and Sarah Palin," Griffin observes. Somehow I'm thinking Griffin could've come up with something better, left to her own devices.
6:59: "The Amazing Race" wins its sixth consecutive Emmy for reality-competish program. Presenter Don Rickles is ad-libbing even as Bert Van Munster gives his thank-yous.
7:02: "John Adams" wins for miniseries. Zero surprise there. Tom Hanks gives a pointed shout-out to Chris Albrecht, and then Colin Callender, Michael Lombardo and Richard Plepler for believing in it, yada yada. As the orchestra plays, Hanks gets in a dig noting how the election between Jefferson and Adams was "full of lies, bitter partisanship and scandal. How great that we've come so far since then."
7:08: Neil Patrick Harris and Kristin Chenoweth are giving out the variety/music program individual perf award. Don Rickles gets it for the HBO docu "Mr. Warmth." He's a little subdued but tells a funny story of meeting his longtime agent, ICM's Jack Gilardi.
7:15: Surprising. Greg Yaitanes wins drama series directing for "House" over Alan Taylor for the "Mad Men" pilot. But now Matthew Weiner has just won for drama series writing for "Mad Men" pilot. "I guess I'm going to have to find something new to complain about," Weiner says.
7:23: Paul Giamatti wins lead longform actor for "John Adams." It's feeling like a very colonial night.
7:27: Glenn Close wins lead drama actress for "Damages." John Landgraf of FX gets a shout-out.
7:38: SHOCK AND AWE. Bryan Cranston wins lead actor in a drama for AMC's "Breaking Bad." No offense but ... JON freakin' HAMM??? What the heck?? (Later, Cranston hints that he shared my reaction, to a degree. "I thought I was the dark horse. I should've been in the back of the pack," he said backstage.)
7:41: Tina Fey wins for comedy actress. "The Daily Show" winners are back here talking up their win, so we can't hear Tina. Jon Stewart says, "It's always great to come out and win. It's a long flight."
He's getting probing questions like "Why are politics and comedy so connected."
"It's the elevation of the rhetoric in comedy," Stewart says without missing a beat.
7:46: Now it's the "Colbert Report's" turn back stage. Colbert's mocking us for dumb questions. How does it feel to win an Emmy? "How does it feel? No wonder people don't trust the press," Colbert says.
Maybe me," Colbert says of Palin, "because I have absolutely no business being vice president."
7:50: "Survivor's" Jeff Probst wins the first Emmy for reality-competish host. Not to be rude, really, but doesn't he kinda do the least among the nominees (which were his co-hosts)? He gives a shout-out to CBS chief Leslie Moonves, and "Survivor" producer Mark Burnett.
7:54: "30 Rock" wins for comedy series, second year in a row. Don Rickles is back stage talking. "I got this, what can you do to me?"
7:56: Well, thank goodness. "Mad Men" has won for drama series. I read Tom Selleck's lips announcing the winner, because Rickles is still talking.
Gracious, look at the size of that cast on stage behind Matt Weiner, and how good they all are. That's great television, ladies and gentlemen.
7:59: Paul Giamatti has finally made his way backstage. The "John Adams" folks truly deserved their makeup Emmys, because Giamatti looks anything but presidential. He really didn't think he was going to win. "Not an optimist," he said, sounding every bit like Harvey Pekar.
8:13: Here's the problem with the delay in getting winners back here. Greg Yaitanes, winner for drama series directing for "House," finally comes back but everyone's so busy finalizing their stories that they don't have time for him. He's about to leave with no questions asked, but then one well-meaning reporter comes up with one, but it happens to be about the WRITING for the show. "Well, I don't write the show..." Oh boy. At least he has his Emmy.
8:18: Kirk Ellis is backstage, with an Emmy in each hand. He's clearly miffed about getting played off stage so quick. "When I stood up they were already flashing the wrap-up sign....I love how we can have 30 minutes of the ceremony devoted to reality show hosts, but the people who create the work don't get any time to talk." That got a round of applause.
8:22: Jay Roach is now telling us what he would have said on stage had he been given the time."I wanted to say that 'Recount' was about the notion that democracy really does depend on fair elections. We don't want to have to go somewhere and do 'Recount II: The Sequel."
8:28: Jeff Probst is yakking back stage about his win for "Survivor." Even he knows the Emmy show was flat. "Did that opening bit work? Hell if I know." I think he knows.
8:29: Glenn Close is here, and she's putting up with some dumb questions. How does winning an Emmy compare to winning an Oscar. "I've never won an Oscar." But she's taking the high road. "It really is the ride of my career," she says of "Damages." "It's as good as any part I'd find in a feature film."
9:01: "Mad Men" cast is in the house. They look even better up close. Matthew Weiner looks a little subdued, actually, maybe it's relief. What a build up. Jon Hamm is getting a lot of questions, and I couldn't help but notice that January Jones downed at least one flute of champagne while standing there looking gorgeous.
The actors really do look like they like each other. "I have this amazing cast, and none of them were asked to present tonight," Weiner observed.
"It is fun to dress up and smoke and drink in play land," Hamm admits when pressed about all the boozing and smoking and philandering in "Mad Men."
More to come, but it's time to hit the parties...
(Pics by Mathew Imaging/WireImage.com)
Lotsa fun to be had out on the red carpet at the Nokia. Where else are you going to see moments like William Shatner apologizing to Glenn Close for stepping on the train of her dress? Melora Hardin and Tina Fey complimenting each other on their shows and predicting that each other's would win the top comedy prize.
Plenty of actors seemed to come in character, like most of the "Mad Men" troupe. Couldn't help but notice that Elisabeth
Much Moss and Vincent Kartheiser came together -- Elisabeth looking lovely in silver sequins.
Christina Hendricks (pictured left) could stop traffic -- or more accurately, start traffic -- in a gorgeous emerald green clingly thing with a drop-dead neckline. Even her jeweled strappy heels were gorgeous.
Didn't get to see Jon Hamm or January Jones, but Bryan Batt (Salvatore), Michael Gladis (Paul) and Rich Sommer (Harrry) all came together, and in character it seemed (Gladis sported a silk polka dot scarf).
Most fun was running into Stephen Colbert, who was bragging about how he goes way back with Sarah Palin. "Sarah and I go way back together. We used to hunt together. She's all truthiness."
Most enlightening was running into Emilie de Ravin from "Lost." "Claire's not dead," she said when I gave her my condolensces. She won't be in the first few episodes of the fifth season, but "she's not dead." She said it twice so it must be true. Phew.
Brooke Shields (pictured right) is channeling Rita Hayworth tonight. She looked stunning with flowing curls and a maroon frilly dress. Va va voom.
We're in a tent above a parking garage that feels like it's a mile away from the theater and the red carpet. For people like me who were high heels once, maybe twice a year, that's a problem. I'm wondering how they're going to get the winners back here for quippage. Golf carts?
OK, I'll stop complaining and head back to the red carpet. Here's some early arrivals snaps: Ricky Gervais (top right), "Lost's" Jorge Garcia and Leslie David Baker and Phyliss Smith of "The Office."
Wouldn't you just love to know what Don Rickles and Kathy Griffin were talking about backstage at the Nokia yesterday during the final rehearsals for tonight's Emmycast!?! Maybe we can get it out of one of them at on the party circuit later tonight.
It's now T-minus six hours and counting, and I'm just about to start making myself look presentable (it'll take a while). I'm heading down to the Nokia around 1:30 with Bill Higgins, Variety's intrepid red carpet warrior. If technology doesn't fail me, the first on-the-scene dispatch should come around 2:30 or 3 p.m., or as soon as something worth writing about happens.
Until then, enjoy this pic below of the first lady of television, the great Betty White, at Saturday's rehearsal.
(Pics by Mathew Imaging/WireImage.com)
We're in full-fledged countdown-to-Emmys mode now.
Show producers are putting the finishing touches on the stage and red carpet for the Emmycast's debut at the Nokia Theater. HBO's small army of party mavens are busy recreating Rio de Janeiro at the Pacific Design Theater. (HBO's bash will have a Brazilian theme, for no particular reason other than it's festivo.)
The TV aficionados in Variety's newsroom could not be more enthralled with the new season of "Mad Men," so you know who we're rooting for on Sunday night -- not that every nominee doesn't deserve to win and it's an honor to be nominated...sincerely. (And I've been very torn about it because "Lost" is also up for the big drama series prize, but as much as I dug "Lost" this past season, my gut tells me "Mad Men" deserves the gold this year.)
So watch this space starting at midday Sunday for dispatches from the red-carpet scene Nokia, and live blog color commentary on the main event starting at 5 p.m.
With any luck, the Emmycast will be so entertaining that at the end we'll all rise up and shout: "It's toasted!"
(Pictured above, from left, Emmycast producer Danette Herman, TV Acad chairman John Schaffner, Emmycast exec producer Ken Ehrlich, producer Ron Basile and helmer Louis Horvitz. Pictured below, from left, Emmy hosts Ryan Seacrest, Heidi Klum, Jeff Probst, Tom Bergeron and Howie Mandel)
Thanks to hosts Neil Patrick Harris and Sarah Chalke (getting cheeky at right), we've already gotten in one good gag about SAG and AFTRA reps beating each other up. And we have our first winners: FX's "Damages," for drama series casting; NBC's "30 Rock" for comedy series casting, and HBO's "John Adams," for longform casting.
Sarah Silverman presented the casting nods. She looks good, very low-key in a off-white tutu-ish frock.
Thesp Glynn Turman (pictured left) just won the guest actor in a drama series for his turn on "In Treatment." He looked surprised, and joked about how he can't read during the day because he went to night school. Backstage, Turman just told us that his wife has nixed his idea of "welding (the award) to the front of my car."
"Pushing Daisies" star Lee Pace, who's up for lead comedy actor honors at next week's main event, has handed out the costume awards: "John Adams" took the longform trophy, while Showtime's "Tudors" won for series. Lead "Tudors" costume maven Joan Bergin admitted "I'm gobsmacked at how much I wanted to win again."
Whoo-hoo, Showtime's "Tracey Ullman's State of the Union" has won for non-prosthetic makeup for a single-camera series. They surely earned it for their work on the comedienne of 1000 faces.
After the "Tudors" and "State of the Union" wins, Showtime prexy Robert Greenblatt led the on-stage exec shout-out derby early on with three mentions from winners, but HBO's Sheila Nevins pulled it out in the end with at least four (after about three hours I lost track).
Everyone in the backstage area is excited because Tom Hanks is in the house. He's pictured here in the green room with "Grey's Anatomy's" James Pickens Jr. Hanks is going to present the Governors kudo to National Geographic Channel.
"Mad Men" just picked up its first-ever Emmy win, hairstyling for a single-camera series. Just think of the work that goes into Joan's beehive alone. And this just in: "Mad Men" also wins for main title design.
Thankfully, the buzzed-about "Jimmy Kimmel Live" video "I'm F---ing Matt Damon" won't go home empty-handed. It's just won the honor for picture editing of clip packages for talk, performance, award or reality-competition program, in a tie with "American Idol." And for what it's worth, Sarah Silverman's "I'm F---ing Matt Damon" beat out her former beau's "I'm F---ing Ben Affleck" in the category.
In the cutter competish, the series editing nods have gone to "Pushing Daisies," for its "Pie-lette," and to AMC's "Breaking Bad." Bravo's "Top Chef" prevailed in the cutting for reality programming. HBO's "Autism: The Musical" won for editing for nonfiction programming.
OK -- I've got nothing against Jim Dooley, who just won the music composition for a series award for his work on "Pushing Daisies" -- really I don't. I liked "Pushing Daisies." But week in and week out there's no better series score on TV than the work Michael Giacchino does for ABC's "Lost," who was also nommed in the category. Oh well.
Ooh. Big political moment at the ceremony from Jeff Beal, who won for longform music composition for his work on TNT's Cold War era miniseries "The Company." Noting that the mini was about political shenanigans of an earlier era, he said: "After eight years of eight years of insanity, violations of human rights, censorship and unprovoked war, it is my hope that in November we'll move toward being a country that will be worthy of (lofty) aspirations again." Of course, the orchestra was furiously trying to play him off, but Beal got a big round of applause from the room.
Oh how cool. Sarah Silverman's willingness to sacrifice a Saturday to be a presenter today has really paid off. Her "I'm F---ing Matt Damon" vid from ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live" won a second award, this time for original music and lyrics. Silverman couldn't resist a reference to her ex, Kimmel, as she reeled off a list of thank yous.
"And to the person for which this whole video was made -- Jimmy Kimmel -- who broke my heart, um, who'll always have a place in my heart," Silverman said with a grin. Good for her. (Sarah's pictured at right, accepting with her fellow tunesmiths.)
Very classy: Seth Green has just delivered a nice tribute to two giants who recently passed: animator Bill Melendez and voice over titan Don LaFontaine. And then Green handed out the animation awards. Fox's "The Simpsons" added another one to its trophy case, for the seg "Eternal Moonshine of the Simpson Mind," in the category of animated programming under an hour. Comedy Central's "South Park" won in the hour-or-more category for the seg "Imaginationland."
More class: Tom Hanks is saluting National Geographic for its "Preserve Our Planet" eco-initiative in presenting the Governors Award.
"With National Geographic's help our planet will be a better place for our kids," Hanks assured.
Kind of a funny juxtaposition and many hundreds of years difference in the f/x competish. Sci Fi Channel's "Battlestar Galactica" got the win for series f/x, no surprise there. In the longform heat, it was HBO's "John Adams."
"Galactica" later captured the award for short-form live-action entertainment program (whatever that is) for Sci Fi Channel.com's "Razor Featurette No. 4." "Well, frak me," "Galactica" captain Ron Moore said in accepting his gold.
Jenna Fischer looked great as she presented a slew of sound mixing awards -- all of them with three-line category names. "Wow, I wish they would give me this many lines on my show," Fischer quipped, sounding every bit like her "Office" alter-ego Pam.
It was also nice to see a bit of proud L.A. TV history on stage, as Klaus Landsberg won as part of the sound mixing team for variety, music series or special, for his work on the 50th annual Grammycast. Landsberg is the son of a genuine TV legend (with the same name), Klaus Landsberg, the genius behind KTLA-TV, back in the mid-'40s when it was a futuristic experiment housed in a closet on the Paramount lot.
"Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner got a burst of applause and he wasn't even on stage. But when the series picked up another trophy, for cinematography for a one-hour series, d.p. Phil Abraham gave him a shout-out, call him "my great friend and fantastic boss, whose passion is completely infectious and made us all rise to the occasion and do the best we possibly could." Abraham won for the "Mad Men" pilot, which marked his first victory after five noms.
Awwww, good for Kathy Griffin. She bags the reality program award for the second year in a row for Bravo's "Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List." (There's still the reality-competish category to come next week on the main event, don't forget.)
And Tim Conway closes our three-and-a-half-hour Emmy extravaganza on a goofy note as he wins comedy series guest star (his sixth career Emmy, btw) for his visit to NBC's "30 Rock."
Lots of pre-Emmy events coming up in the next week. On the heels of Saturday's Creative Arts ceremony (start time: 2:30 -- no kidding), the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in hosting a bash for this year's producer nominees on Sunday at Social Hollywood....
The Writers Guild of America West hosts its usual panel featuring writing nominees on Wednesday (Sept. 17) at the WGA Theater in BevHills. Slated to appear for the jawboning sesh moderated by Larry Wilmore are Kirk Ellis ("John Adams"); Bryan Fuller pictured left ("Pushing Daisies"); Danny Strong ("Recount"); and Matthew Weiner and Robin Veith ("Mad Men")...
Meanwhile, Josh Groban is warming up his pipes to deliver a tribute to television theme songs during the Sept. 21 Emmycast on ABC. (Nevermind that theme songs are nearly extinct these days -- one more reason we fell for "The Big Bang Theory" last season.) Emmy exec producer Ken Ehrlich promises Groban (pictured right) will perform a "once-in-a-lifetime medley" of tube tunes, including the themes from "Friends," "The Simpsons" and "The Brady Bunch."
The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and ABC are adding an anniversary sheen to this year's 60th annual Emmycast by holding an online poll to determine television's 40 greatest "moments."
The problem with these kind of tallies is that no finite list can do justice to the bazillion hours of television programming that have flown through the air since commercial network television took root in the '47-'48 period.
But even accepting the limitations of these kind of list-y efforts, I gotta say that the selections that ATAS and ABC have come up with -- 20 apiece for comedy and drama -- are a little thin, in my book.
First off, they have the Beatles' first appearance on "The Ed Sullivan Show" under comedy. Huh? The finale of the first edition of "American Idol"? Huh?
The "All in the Family" where Sammy Davis Jr. kisses Archie -- OK. "The Carol Burnett Show" with the "Gone With the Wind" spoof -- OK. "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In" with then-candidate Richard Nixon delivering the "sock it to me" line -- well, OK, though I'd call it more historical curiosity than a comedy moment. But the coming out episode of "Ellen" and a "Mork and Mindy" seg, even with the talents of Jonathan Winters -- c'mon! No "Cheers"? No "WKRP in Cincinnati"? No "Odd Couple"? No "Soap"? No "Barney Miller"? I could go on (and on).
Same beef goes for the drama selections: No room for "I Spy," "St. Elsewhere," "The Wire," "Homicide: Life on the Street," "The Rockford Files," "Adam-12," "Lou Grant," "Hill Street Blues," "Northern Exposure," "NYPD Blue."
But "Little House on the Prairie," "L.A. Law," "Dynasty" and "Moonlighting" make the cut?
Oh well. The top comedy and drama vote-getters will be revealed during the Sept. 21 Emmycast, just before this year's top series winners are announced. From the choices at hand, I'd have to vote for the "To Serve Man" seg of "The Twilight Zone" for drama (pictured top left), and the series finale of "Newhart" on the comedy side (pictured right).
All of those great seasons on "St. Elsewhere" and David Morse had to wait until last year to nab his first Emmy nom, for a guest role on Fox's "House." And he didn't win.
Morse is up again this year for supporting actor in a movie or miniseries for "John Adams," and for pity's sake, HBO trusted him enough to cast him as George Washington. Give him an Emmy already. (Unfortunately, the competish is pretty tough, from Denis Leary and Bob Balaban of "Recount" to Morse's "John Adams" costars Tom Wilkinson and Stephen Dillane.)
Morse is one of the great character thesps of this generation of TV and film crossover players -- a face that the public knows well but can't place the name. He elevates anything he's in, because he's so darn good.
Morse really went through hell (on screen) during the run of "St. Elsewhere," and he's only gotten better since then. Give this man an Emmy already.
Hot off the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences nomination vote-tallying machine, here are the top 10 finalists for Emmy noms in the comedy and drama series heats. The final noms will be announced on Thursday, July 17.
(My 2 cents on the list follows after the jump)
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Flight of the Conchords
Two and a Half Men
Friday Night Lights
Some Emmy tidbits I really should have written up Sunday night before going off to parties:
Consistency, thy name is David Chase. "It's open to interpretation," the "Sopranos" creator said backstage at the Emmys when asked, inevitably and more than once, about the series' famed blackout finale. In a convoluted way, after being pressed by multiple questioners, Chase seemed to say that he knew in his mind what happened to the family, but he had no intention of sharing it with the intimate room full 200 or so reporters. Chase did say that he'd had the notion to take the show out in the way that he did for a long time....
Earlier in the night Alan Taylor told us backstage scribblers that Chase was pleased by the fact that even members of "Sopranos'" production crew debated what the finale really meant. Chase wanted it to be something people would chew over and talk about, Taylor said...
And as for the Emmy snub of James Gandolfini after the tour de force he turned in? Paulie Walnuts had his back, backstage on Sunday. "I think it was a shame. He should've won tonight...but we won all around (for drama series)," Tony Sirico (pictured right) said. "We've been honored. I speak for Jimmy when I say he can handle it." .....
America Ferrera was such a doll in the backstage quip room. She displayed her usual humility and gratitude for the career-making break that "Ugly Betty" has been for her. And she's happy that her star turn has come on a show that is light and frothy on the outside but meaningful on the inside, where it counts, by challenging the conventional notions of beauty and body image for women.
"It's fun and it's funny and entertaining and I feel so incredibly blessed," Ferrera said. "To be acknowledged for it, to know peep are watching it and enjoying it -- it's just a dream for me. This is what I have wanted to do since I was 5 years old. It just reassures me in the power of dreaming. Now I can set my (career) heights even higher." And she was channeling the self-assured Betty Suarez when a questioner tried to pry into her love life. "I don't talk about my personal life. Thank you," she said in a Betty-esque polite-but-firm tone....
Don't ask Terry O'Quinn what's going on in "Lost" in its upcoming fourth season, because he doesn't know. Is John Locke really Jacob? Is he going to somehow kill Jack? Will he ever get near a shower again? I'm telling ya, don't ask because Quinn doesn't know. (And no, winning an Emmy doesn't entitle him to a few free plot points.) Backstage after his win for supporting drama actor, Locke showed off his hot pink shirt and black tie with glittery rhinestones. When asked, Quinn admitted that early on in the show's run he would go on the Internet to see what the fans were speculating about the Deeper Meaning of it all and where the castaways were headed. But not any more. "I'm sated," he said....
Sally Field was feeling strong, confident and not ready to suffer any cliches on Sunday. She made fast work of a question about actresses of a certain (out-of-the-demo) age enjoying a renaissance on cable ("The Closer," "Damages," "Saving Grace," etc.) and why aren't there better roles for women in features and blah blah blah...."I don't listen to any of that stuff. You guys are the ones who are listening to that," Field shot back.
Where fore art thou, Oscar? Jon Stewart had a cheeky response for the reporter who just had to know what it meant to him to be asked to host the Academy Awards a second time. "Whatever emotional hole I had in my soul vanished at that moment and I was complete," he deadpanned. "That's why I decided to do it."...
And thus brings to a close this inaugural edition of live blogging at the Emmys. I'd be remiss without giving a special thank you to the shooters of WireImage, who moved Emmy photos lickity-split last night and thus livened up this blog considerably. Honorable mentions go out to Steve Granitz, Jeffrey Mayer, John Shearer, Jeff Vespa and Todd Williamson.
For as much fun as we all had backstage at the Shrine Auditorium on Sunday night, it seems that America (the country, not the actress) didn't play along. Viewership of the Emmycast fell to near-record lows with only 13.1 million viewers. For the details click here for Variety's Sunday night ratings report. And don't take my word for it: For a complete rundown of the winners, click here.
Another big win for a frosh ABC show. "Ugly Betty's" America Ferrera besting tough competish for lead comedy actress. She's earned it, she deserves it and like her character Betty Suarez, she's always demonstrated nothing but a fantastic attitude toward her work. Here's to you, America.
Al Gore looked real happy as he and partner Joel Hyatt came backstage to talk up theirr win in the interactive TV category for cabler Current TV. First question lobbed at Gore was whether he, as a survivor of many controversies and media flaps, had any advice for Britney Spears, and did he plan to run in '08?
Gore didn't miss a beat, and got a big laugh with this quip: "I kinda figured the first question would be about Britney Spears."
No, Helen Mirren hasn't met up with Queen Elizabeth in the year since she triumphed on screen with her role as QEII in Miramax's "The Queen." But, Mirren did say that she had received a royal invite but had to turn it down because, as befitting a great actress, she couldn't make it because she was working.
"It was very sad for me; it was probably not so sad for her," Mirren joked, adding later that she's not sure if she gets a raincheck or not. "I guess only time will tell."
Mirren won her Emmy for PBS' "Prime Suspect: The Final Act," was a good sport about the obvious non-question thrown at her about 'Wow you've had a good year" after winning the Oscar earlier this year for "Queen." "I call it my amazing year. I don't believe in astrology but I'm curious to see what my astrological sign said about this year. 'You will meet disappointment,' probably."
Cast of "Roots" came back stage after their tribute moment on stage. The group of them -- John Amos, LeVar Burton, Louis Gossett, Jr., Cicely Tyson, Leslie Uggams and Ben Vereen -- genuinely looked they they were enjoying their reunion and they might have potential as a comedy troupe. Burton and Tyson got into a funny little dispute about whether "Roots" was in fact the first miniseries. And when Vereen lingered at the mike a little too long, Burton stepped behind him making motions of trying to pull him off stage. Of course there were queries about what "Roots" meant to this country, then and now. Gossett noted that there's a frightening lack of understanding of history among many young people in this country today.
"Some people in Atlanta don't even know about Martin Luther King Jr.," Gossett said. Burton concurred but also looked a bit into the near future.
"I think there's a direct connection between slavery and reconstruction of the south civil rights to 'Roots' in the '70s," Burton observed. "In 1977 it would have been unfathomable to think we might have a black president in the United States. Now that is really a possiblity...Progress is two steps forward. Tempest fugit. Time always moves."
Meanwhile, in a quick "what'er you doing now," interesting tidbits came from Gossett -- who said he's heading back to Broadway to do "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" with Phylicia Rashad, with Debbie Allen directing -- and Vereen, who said he's just wrapped a seg of "Grey's Anatomy."
Jeremy Piven, supporting comedy actor winner for the second year in a row for HBO's "Entourage," was feelin' sweet backstage (kinda like the Ari Gold aw shucks moment in most "Entourage" segs), expanding on his remarks about how much his parents, the late Byrne Piven and Joyce Hiller Piven, influenced his life with the "corner theater" they ran in Chicago, in which he grew up steeped in a life of trodding the boards.
"He's a man who worked his entire life to find a brilliant role, and his last role was "King Lear" so he found it," Piven said of his dad. Piven noted that his mother was busy directing a play in Chicago so she turned him down as his date for the Emmys for a fifth time in a row.
"And for the record, I'm straight. I'm the only straight man to bring his mother four times and now his sister. You can look it up."
Back to the serious side, Piven noted when pressed on the "what does it all mean to you, Jeremy" question, especially being a back to back win. "For a guy from Chicago, the dream for me was getting on stage in Chicago, not being celebrated like this. So I'm having an other-worldly experience."
POSTED BY STUART LEVINE
There's lots of great questions to be asked backstage at the Emmys ... tell us more about your character, what does this mean for your career, who has inspired you, etc., etc.
Yet one that keeps getting asked, as it just was to comedy supporting actor winner Jeremy Piven and "My Name Is Earl" actress Jaime Pressly, continues to be "So where are you going to put your Emmy?" (UPDATE: Thomas Hayden Church said he will be "hiding it in the tool shed.")
What's with the fascination of where's the Emmy's going in the house? Is there an office pool going on that more are being displayed in the bedroom vs. the living room? Do you get bonus points if an actor says they're keeping it in the bathroom?
I've learned to live with the questions about who you're wearing but where you're keeping your Emmy once you get home has got to come to an end. Maybe they should just set up a press tent for the folks from Architectural Digest and be done with it.
Good for Jaime Pressly! She won for supporting comedy actress for her bravura turn as a trailer prima donna Joy Turner on NBC's "My Name is Earl." Backstage she admitted that Joy is an amalgam of four or five people she grew up with in North Carolina. The win is important to her because after toiling for 13 years, "I finally changed everybody's mind...and had the opportunity to show what I could do."
I'm especially happy for her because I went out on a limb on Friday and noted that I was rooting for her in the category. I was also rooting for Rainn Wilson in the supporting comedy actor heat, but it went to Jeremy Piven. I'm 1-2.
At left, Julia Louis-Dreyfus hands Pressly the trophy for the category that she won once and was nommed seven times for during her "Seinfeld" days.
Pity the poor Emmy announcer. She mispronounced the surname of "Grey's Anatomy" star Katherine Heigl, who joined the achingly handsome Kyle Chandler on stage to present the trophy for supporting actor in a movie/miniseries. First thing Heigl sez as she hits the mike: It's "Hi-gull."
Winner in the category added a heap of sweet to Heigl's sour. Thomas Haden Church (pictured below), a victor for the AMC oater "Broken Trail," thanked "David and Lynn Angell, who were there at the beginning." Sweet of him to remember David Angell and his wife. David, of course, was part of the Angell-Casey-Lee triumvirate who created the show, "Wings," that provided Church's breakthru role. David and Lynn died in one of the hijacked planes on Sept. 11, but their legacy, clearly, remains strong.
This just in: Katherine Heigl (that's Hi-gelle) has won in the supporting drama actress category for her role as the mixed up Izzie on "Grey's Anatomy."
Emmycast started with a musical number from "Family Guy's" potty-mouthed baby Stewie and Brian. "If you want it you can find it on TV...." The bit had barbs for each of the networks, but there was a particularly nasty one aimed at "Scrubs," about it going into its "seventh and a half" season: "Reminds you a sitcom doesn't have to make you laugh." Ouch! As Emmy host Ryan Seacrest observed when the bit was over, it's clear the Emmys "are on Fox this year."
Not much shaking here backstage yet but "Lost" fans around the world are excited that Terry O'Quinn just won for his role as the mystical John Locke. And how 'bout that pink-pink-pink shirt. During his quips he seemed to make a thinly veiled request for a raise, comparing the duties on "Lost" to those on "Desperate Housewives'" Wisteria Lane.
OK, we're here. Backstage at the Shrine. Stuart Levine and I are in place in the winners quote room, trying to get adjusted to tight squeeze that they have reporters in and we're both vowing to work hard not to knock our water bottles over into our computers. Mercifully, I'm having no tech problems (that I know of!) and it's not 100 degrees in the tent yet, so by the standards of Emmys past, I've no reason to complain. Gonna head out to the red carpet and see what's up. I can see by the pics that are already posted on WireImage (thanks Jeff Vespa) that stars, such as best drama actress nominee Edie Falco pictured at left, are starting to arrive.
NBC Universal's pre-Emmy party at Spago on Saturday night was as relaxed as a shoulder-to-shoulder schmoozefest can be. Place was hopping with NBC U execs, agents, scribes and helmers and stars of NBC U productions -- it seemed everywhere you looked there was a staffer from "The Office" or a savior from "Heroes" holding court.
"Heroes" trouper Hayden Panettiere looked particularly fetching in a white minidress that flattered her cheerleader-worthy figure. Alec Baldwin of "30 Rock" was surrounded by a hub of well-wishers and back-slappers. Kathy Griffin picked up compliments while in line in the ladies room for her win (unveiled at the Creative Arts ceremony) for Bravo's "My Life on the D-List"; there was some discussion of whether her show's title needed to be adjusted in light of her victory. And there was much chatter throughout the night at Spago of the goings-on the previous night at the private affair thrown by new NBC U co-chairman Ben Silverman and impresario Brent Bolthouse. (Among the more talked-about elements of the affair at a rented 10,000-square-foot mansion in the Hollywood Hills: the caged tiger that greeted guests, the number of bikinis running around, and of course, Paris Hilton).
NBC U graciously pushed back the start time of its Spago party to 8:30 p.m. to accommodate the dance cards of those who also attended Saturday's "Evening Before" benefit in Century City for the Motion Picture Television Fund home, co-sponsored by Variety. Among those who took in both parties on Saturday were "Top Chef" star Tom Colicchio, whose new Century City restaurant Craft pitched in with "Evening Before."
(Sorry, no pics posted yet of the NBC U party. Above shot of Kathy Griffin at the Sept. 8 Creative Arts ceremony by Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage.com.)
Seems like there's been precious little pre-show buzz for the kudofest this year. Is it because it looks like a cakewalk to the top of Mount Emmy this year for the dearly departed "The Sopranos"? Is it because ratings for the show have ebbed precipitously in the past decade? Who knows. Really, the most pre-Emmy buzz I've heard this week is about the bash that NBC Entertainment co-chair Ben Silverman is throwing late tonight (Friday) with the help of L.A.'s premier nightclub dude Brent Bolthouse (who's also handling DirecTV's inaugural Emmy night party) at a rented mansion in the Hollywood Hills. The guest list and the security plans are said to be super-tight.
I've always had kind of a love-dread thing with the Emmys. Love because I do love the smallscreen and its players and it's fun to see your colleagues all dressed up in their finery. (As my old boss at UPI used to say: It's prom night for the media.) Dread because of course a big awards show means a looooong work night for showbiz reporters, especially those of us who file live on deadline and have to get everybody's name and award category right, etc., or there'll be snickers the next day.
Get a group of your most sarcastic friends together in a room, preferably windowless, and try to make each other laugh by outdoing one another with a steady stream of the most offensive, sophomoric and vulgar set of jokes and set-ups that you can possibly imagine -- things that could never air on TV, not even pay cable. Add in lots of takeout food and soft drinks and repeat for a few weeks on end. If your heart soars and body tingles every time you make the room snicker, you just might be cut out to be a television writer.
At least that's the quick-and-easy career counseling that Selman (pictured right), an Emmy-winning scribe for "The Simpsons" and co-writer of "The Simpsons Movie," offered Tuesday night during the "Sublime Primetime" dish sesh with a clutch of Emmy-nommed scribes, hosted by the WGA West and Variety at the Writers Guild Theater in BevHills.
"Don't wait for the industry to give you money," Selman instructed. "Take any opportunity to (try writing). The joy of writing is just as fun to do ... if you're on the worst show on television or the best show...Find a group of friends and make each other laugh. Riff off each other. Go on super-offensive runs about degrading subjects."
It's come to this for Joan and Melissa Rivers. After losing their berths on E! and more recently, TV Guide Channel, on Emmy night they'll be nowhere near the red carpet at the Shrine Auditorium but live blogging in New York for VH1Eyecandy.com. That site is described by its mothership cabler as "VH1's recently launched site that offers a host of tools for users to grab, embed, blog and remix photos, videos and news stories," and VH1 boasts that it has 150,000 photographs and 5,000 hours of video housed on the site for users' mash-up pleasure, with more coming every day. (It's part of MTV Networks' new bid to grab, embed and remix many more pairs of youthful eyeballs to its cablers and websites.)
VH1Eyecandy.com promises to have a dedicated emmyswithjoan.com site running start at 5 p.m. ET on Sunday, which will include their live blog snark about the action on the red carpet and during the ceremony. It'll also have Joan's red carpet video podcast recap and Emmy podcast recap. It's the on-demand part of this equation that people might have trouble with. But in a funny way, for awards-season vets it's good to know that on some level, the tradition of groaning over what tumbles out of Joan Rivers' mouth on Emmy and Oscar day hasn't completely gone away but is safely out of the way on the red carpet.
Joan and Melissa Rivers pic from this year's Oscars by Dan MacMedan/WireImage
Not much of an upset Saturday night during the first leg of the Primetime Emmy Awards ceremony as HBO's "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee" maintained its trophy market share with a total of five wins, followed by Discovery Channel's "Planet Earth" (wha?) and NBC's "Tony Bennett: An American Classic" with four apiece. (For a proper report on who-won-what, click here for the report from Variety's Jeff Sneider, who sacrificed his Saturday night so that you and I wouldn't have to.)
Contrary to conventional wisdom the Creative Arts ceremony isn't all craft and tech honors (though let it be said here that the below-the-line folks are not only H'wood's salt of the earth but its true artisans). NBC nearly swept the guest-star awards categories, which can be a handy career reviver for the right actor at the right moment if the sun and the moon and the stars align...
Elaine Stritch (pictured left) bagged the guest actress in a comedy trophy for her turns in "30 Rock." Leslie Caron (pictured right) took the drama trophy for her one-shot on "Law & Order: SVU." John Goodman's visits to "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" were recognized for guest actor in a drama, while Stanley Tucci (pictured above) got the nod on the comedy side for having fun with the great Tony Shalhoub on "Monk." (So if you count USA Network as one of "the networks of NBC Universal," as the Peacock likes to put it, NBC U did sweep the category. That bit of bragging rights and a dollar will buy you a cup of coffee at Musso & Franks...)
(Pics of Stritch and Caron on Creative Arts Emmy red carpet by Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage)
Fox has bowed to the inevitable and selected "American Idol" dude Ryan Seacrest as host of its Sept. 16 live Primetime Emmy Awards telecast, as Variety's Michael Schneider reports. He's a perfectly good choice and should do a totally serviceable job. His work on "Idol" may not be "unparalleled in the industry," as Fox's press release verbiage touts, but he's a pro. Still, it would've been interesting in a parallel universe to see an Emmycast hosted by Hugh Laurie. Star of Fox's drama "House" is known to have turned the gig down. Too bad. Maybe he'll at least be a presenter...
Seacrest's presence will also ensure that this year's Emmys has an "Idol" tinge to it. Initially, "Idol" exec producers Ken Warwick and Nigel Lythgoe were supposed to take the helm of the telecast, but they bowed out a few months back and handed the reins to awards show vet Ken Ehrlich. Meanwhile, the Emmy gig ensures that it's going to be a busy couple of months for Seacrest. In addition to "Idol's" seventh go-round in January, he's also set to host Fox's "entertainment" portion of the Super Bowl telecast in February. Fox sez it'll be the first time pigskin's big shew comes complete with pre-game red carpet blow by blow.
NBC's "Friday Night Lights," conspicuously snubbed by Emmy voters, got its due in nabbing best new program. Michael C. Hall of Showtime's "Dexter," another near no-show in the Emmy derby, was deemed best drama actor at the ceremony hosted by "Daily Show's" John Oliver.
Overall the Peacock swept the Television Critics Assn. kudofest with four trophies, including best comedy for "The Office," natch, and Alec Baldwin of "30 Rock" for top dog among comedy actors.TCA-ers didn't overlook NBC's other big frosh drama of last season, picking "Heroes" the program of the year.
(Pictured: Connie Britton and Kyle Chandler of "Friday Night Lights")