Lost's Matthew Fox and Harold Perrineau
Decked out in tuxes and armed with questions, the crack entertainment journalists of TVGuide.com were out in full force last night at the 57th annual Primetime Emmy Awards. Backstage at L.A.'s Shrine Auditorium, we waited less than patiently for the gushing winners to be musically ushered off stage to be quizzed by the press. Admittedly, the anticipation of another criminal snub for Scrubs
meant that some of us were just a touch
on edge. Read on to learn what Emmy's newly anointed stars had to say after their delirious acceptance speeches.
4:57 pm/PT Hurrying down the red carpet toward the backstage press room, I notice the celebrities are all accessorized with magnolias in honor of Hurricane Katrina's victims. A classy touch.
5:30 pm While the press waits for our first interviewee, we wince at the monitor as the Blue Man Group present The Amazing Race with outstanding reality-competition program. Good for TAR, but I'm silently thanking [insert deity of your choice here] that the Blue Man Group is mute, so we needn't puzzle over what the hell we'll ask them.
5:34 pm This reporter is still traumatized by the Blue Man who channeled the voice of Ryan Seacrest à la The Exorcist while wearing a TV set on his head à la Max Headroom. My nerves, my fragile nerves! Oh, if only the catering table were stocked with mood stabilizers instead of just brownies and Coke!
5:36 pm My TVGuide.com colleague Mike Ausiello just told me to "simma down now." I'll give him simma…
5:39 pm Finally! An Emmy winner takes the dais. And it's Boston Legal's William Shatner who gets to field one of the evening's strangest questions. "Why are men sexier with their natural figures?" Says Shatner with Denny Crane-like confusion, "I can't really answer that, because I work out every day. I have washboard abs and tremendous thighs. I can't describe what the aging process does to other men." Shatner goes on to recommend that those who want to live as well as he does should "love passionately and eat Wheaties. Wheaties are good." Alrighty then.
5:55 pm Emmy-winning 2004 Tony Awards host Hugh Jackman sports a very scraggly beard but no mustache. Just as I'm about to flag down a CBS page and grab a mic to publicly chide him for attending the Emmys unshaven, the amiable Aussie reminds us that he's been shooting X-Men 3 on location in Vancouver. Again, Ausiello suggests that I "simma." Hmmph.
5:57 pm By the way, 007 fans, Jackman confirms: "I'm not doing Bond." I blame it on the scruff. And that purple tie he's wearing tonight. James Bond would've gone with a more traditional bow tie, of course. "I'm such a man," Jackson says sheepishly. "My wife said, ‘This is going to look good on you, so I just wore it.'"
6:12 pm It's Uchenna and Joyce from The Amazing Race! "Spending five hours at an airport begging for money is a humbling experience," says Joyce's hubby, who invites unintended chuckles when he refers to Six Feet Under as Six Foot Under after he's asked what his favorite show is. OK, it wasn't that funny, but we can get a little starved for entertainment back here in the press tent.
6:39 pm Everybody Loves Raymond's Doris Roberts struts in with a couple of sparkly chandeliers dangling from her earlobes. This brassy dame is an old hand at Emmy night. Holding up her trophy, she declares: "I have four other ones at home. I told them, ‘Girls, make room. I'm bringing home another one!'"
6:42 pm Asked about Emmy's snub of her on-screen hubby, Peter Boyle, Roberts lamented: "I'm so sorry he didn't win. Peter was the only one who hasn't won. I think with Brad [Garrett] nominated in the same category, one or the other had to be eliminated."
6:56 pm After scoring an Emmy for directing one helluva drama-series pilot, Lost boy J.J. Abrams skirts everyone's most burning question about last season's finale: What's in that hatch? "Our goal was to frustrate the hell out of you," he laughs. "No, we tried to give the ending a sense of a new chapter. We try to keep things very much a cliff-hanger. It's not about torturing anyone, it's about wanting to keep the momentum going." Enough evasion, J.J. What the hell is in that damn hatch?!?!
7:15 pm S. Epatha Merkerson has a right to sing the Lackawanna Blues about losing her acceptance speech down the cleavage of her gown on stage. "I have this cute little purse [I could have storied the speech in]," she confessed, "but I worried I might get nervous fishing in there for it." Was there anyone the Law & Order vet forgot to thank? "Baby, if I knew that, I would have said all the names!" she laughs. "I think I got most everybody."
7:17 pm How sweet was it for the 52-year-old Merkerson to beat out younger beauties like Halle Berry? "I think I'm cute when I'm glowing with a hot flash," she laughs. "It's a great time for women of substance. That Halle is a producer on [Lackawanna Blues] is really cool for me. Her feelings toward what we did in this project were really evident in her reaction this evening. She is a very graceful and lovely woman."
7:45 pm Ausiello abandons me to go cohost TVGuide.com's Emmy night podcast with our senior content manager, Dan Manu. Just before departing, though, he offers me a bribe to mention all the red carpet scoop he'll be sharing in this Wednesday's edition of AA. Pay up, Mikey.
8:01 pm Despite receiving Emmy's special recognition tonight, a certain well-known professional fiasco still haunts former CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather. He clearly regrets having missed out on Katrina coverage. "There never has been a hurricane I didn't want to cover," Rather concedes, "but I've moved on. My job is at 60 Minutes and wherever [executive producer] Jeff Fager sends me, that's where I want to go."
8:09 pm Medium's Patricia Arquette was as surprised as anyone by her dark-horse win for outstanding lead actress in a drama. "Very surprised," she says. "My psychic abilities were that I was 99 percent sure I wouldn't win! And I was fine with that. I wrote a speech so people wouldn't be mad at me, and I got caught with my pants down. I didn't think I'd need to use it! I was sure they'd really said Jennifer Garner's name. I was kind of having a meltdown."
8:10 pm Asked why she felt the need to address the Katrina crisis in her acceptance speech, Arquette shot back, "I know Trent Lott's going to get a new house, but a lot of other people aren't. For myself, I can't sleep at night right now."
8:18 pm A famished and frustrated James Spader gives us the quote of the night: "I'm sorry I'm rambling a bit in my answers to your questions, but I haven't eaten anything in a long time. My blood sugar is dropping rapidly, and my head is awash with a morass of thoughts. I apologize, but I'm really deprived of all thought and energy right now." He later says he's "pleased" when an overzealous British reporter crows that Boston Legal has made him a "massive sex symbol" in the U.K. Now she's the one who needs to simma.
8:21 pm Monk's Tony Shalhoub says he'll never tire of his character's neuroses. "I'm not getting bored," he grins. "Just the opposite. I'm in a constant state of discovery with this character because Monk is such an annoying character. Everyone feels they're annoying to someone else in their life. I know I do!"
8:30 pm Lost heartthrob Matthew Fox is jubilant over the ABC hit's outstanding drama series win. "I always really believed in the show," Fox enthuses, "but to get this award in our first year, right before our second season kicks off, is fantastic and exciting. It means that we have a lot to live up to next year!"
8:35 pm In response to the inevitable Lost question, Jorge Garcia (aka Hurley) flat-out mocked us. "What's in the hatch? What's in the hatch? The whole red carpet was about what's in the hatch." He cheekily added that their Emmy "should really boost the first-season DVD sales!"
8:36 pm Not unlike his Lost character, Naveen Andrews (aka Barbara Hershey's boyfriend) has an air of danger about him. With a slightly manic look in his eye, he deftly holds both an orange-colored cocktail (a screwdriver, perhaps?) and an unlit cigarette in one hand. Note to self: Steer clear of that one at the after-parties.
8:38 pm Never to be outdone in the class-clown category, Dominic Monaghan randomly says, "There's a lot of rumors that Elijah Wood and I are dating. The Internet is an uncensored medium, and I don't want to confirm or deny anything. People can say whatever they like on the Internet."
8:40 pm You just know zany wisecracks are in store when the cast of Everybody Loves Raymond hits the dais. Ray Romano gestures at Patricia Heaton's champagne glass and notes, "She's a little bit drunk, so this'll be interesting." A good sport, Heaton says in turn, "It's funny, on our last tape day, I was crying. Now I can't even remember any of these peoples' names. It could be this [champagne]."
8:41 pm "Even you guys thought Desperate Housewives was winning," Romano says by way of explaining their outstanding-comedy win really was a surprise. "It's bittersweet because it's over and we're going through withdrawal. This group of people is so great. You look around and think, somebody's gotta be an a-----e. It must be me!"
8:42 pm A reporter bluntly asks Peter Boyle how it feels to be the only Raymond costar with no Emmy on his mantel. Ouch. "I was crushed!" Boyle laughs. "And then this wonderful shock took place. We beat the Desperate Housewives! That made up for everything. We don't like them!" He's just kidding, folks. I think.
8:43 pm Where will Brad Garrett put his Emmy? "I think it's gonna end up in a Barbie dream car," he smiles. "That's what I promised my 5-year-old daughter." Then Raymond's creator, Phil Rosenthal, pipes up: "I have a safety announcement: Put it out of reach of the children. Emmys are very sharp!"
8:44 pm Are Garrett's hopes for a Raymond spin-off dead or alive? "No, it's not dead," he replies. "There are talks. There are some very important elements that have to come together, like writers." "And money, money, money! Cash in!" Romano wickedly interjects. "That's your story, Ray. I am coming from a very different place," Garrett sasses back. "It's a good possibility at this time. Who knows?"
9:06 pm You know somebody had to ask it: Will there be jealous tension on the Housewives set due to Felicity Huffman winning outstanding lead actress in a comedy? "Oh my god, no," she responds diplomatically. "I hugged them and they kissed me. A win for one and a win for all. And I'm not just saying that because [Three Musketeers author Alexander] Dumas did."
9:07 pm Huffman adds that she'll miss her casual wardrobe now that Lynette's going back to work. "I came [to the set] in my pajamas and stayed in my pajamas with food all over me," she says. "This season I'll have to get dressed up [again]." Speaking of TV's hottest stars getting gussied up for a good time, that's enough jawboning. It's time to hightail it over to TV Guide and Inside TV's Emmy blowout!
For Matt Roush's take on the Emmy's, click here.