Hey, Emmy producers, listen up: If you're looking for a gimmick to goose the ratings for next year's ceremony, here's a hot tip, free of charge move the cameras to the press room. As any award-show veteran will tell you, the real action at any given kudocast takes place behind-the-scenes. Don't believe me? Well, then you'll just have to peruse my blow-by-blow, minute-by-minute recap of last night's Emmy circus and see for yourself. Go ahead, you know you want to...
8:07 pm/ET Everybody Loves Raymond's Grandmommie Dearest Doris Roberts wins best supporting actress in a comedy for the third time. Groans reverberate through the press tent. We're a bitchy lot, us media types.
8:23 pm Roberts's TV son, Brad Garrett, wins best supporting actor, comedy. A reporter behind me screams out in pain. Or is that CBS boss Les Moonves calculating how much this will cost him?
8:26 pm Roberts appears backstage with her trophy and is immediately asked, "If you could deep-kiss any actress, who would it be?" Without hesitation, she replies, "Vanessa Redgrave." An older journalist across from me seems slightly aroused by this. I consider changing seats.
8:32 pm Best supporting actress in a drama victor Tyne Daly walks in with her gold statuette and is asked who designed her gown. "I'm going to spell this out, because it could get dicey," the former Mary Beth Lacey says. "It's Volva. V-O-L-V-A." That elderly journalist is smiling again; I really have to move.
8:46 pm Sopranos creator David Chase who almost never talks to the press comes backstage after winning the best drama writing Emmy (alongside Robin Green and Mitchell Burgess), and is asked three of the lamest questions in the history of journalism. (Among them: "Would you like to say hello to the troops overseas?" Well, duh wouldn't we all?) Thankfully, someone else inquires about who will guest during the Mob hit's top-secret fifth season. Chase replies: "Polly Bergen, Steve Buscemi, Tim Daly, Frankie Valli, David Lee Roth and Charles Barkley." Not satisfied with that, I...
8:48 pm ... follow Chase outside the press tent and dig for more scoop about the new episodes (which will begin airing in January). I ask him, "If last season was about Tony and Carmela's marriage" which Chase previously said "what will the overriding theme of the upcoming season be?" His answer: "It's about people in prison, getting out." Scoop!
9:18 pm Joe Pantoliano still seems peeved about Ralphie's fatal brawl with Tony on last season's Sopranos despite the fact that moments ago, it earned him his first Emmy. "I wasn't whacked," he insists of his character's grisly beating death at the hands of James Gandolfini's crimelord. "Whacked is a sanctioned Mafia hit. I was killed in cold blood!" Somebody needs to simmer down now, and I don't mean that randy old reporter, either.
9:27 pm Emmy golden boy Wayne Brady recalls one of his lowest moments as a struggling performer. "I once played a black Power Ranger at a kid's birthday party." There's a black Power Ranger? I'm so out of the loop.
10 pm The press room erupts with cheers when The Amazing Race wins best reality series. I must confess I let out a little yelp, too. I think I even spit on the Reuters reporter in front of me. (Sorry.)
10:10 pm The tension can be cut with a knife when the gentleman from the Navy Marine Corps News foolishly asks double winner Jon Stewart to extend a greeting to the enlisted men and women overseas. (Dude, have you ever seen The Daily Show?) Stewart balks, joking, "Isn't this something you do in the corner of a Best Buy?" Mr. Navy catches on to Stewart's antiwar vibe and shoots back, "There is a difference between policy and people." Replies Stewart: "Hugs, not drugs." Oh, just get a freakin' room already.10:20 pm Amazing Race exec producer Jerry Bruckheimer takes little pleasure in beating out frontrunners American Idol and Survivor: Yet he still seems pleased about something. "You know what feels great?" he reflects. "We haven't been renewed yet. CBS, are you watching?" I think Les Moonves is behind me. Crying now.
10:35 pm Debra Messing enters the press room clutching her new "leading man" and gets an ovation. (Translation: Thank God it's not Patricia Heaton again.) Seconds later, she responds to what has now become the requisite lesbian question. "I think Grace would pick Salma Hayek [to have an affair with] because she's the opposite of Grace. She's voluptuous and exotic." You-know-who is now drooling. Does anybody have a napkin?
10:54 pm Fresh from being honored for his humanitarian efforts, Bill Cosby goes into a 15-minute lecture about the war, gay TV and... zzzzzz. (Told you we reporters were a bitchy lot.)
11:26 pm James Gandolfini the best actor in a drama doesn't seem entirely surprised that The Sopranos can't seem to beat The West Wing for best drama. "I think we're thieves and crooks," he theorizes, "and they show me in my underwear way too much." Gandolfini then pleads with reporters to plug his buddy, Joe, who's running for Freeholder of Union, N.J." So, from one Jersey boy to another, "Go, Joe!" Now about that exclusive interview, Mr. Gandolfini...
11:31 pm Edie Falco who scored her third Emmy for playing Carmela Soprano is asked whether there should be a cap put on how many Emmys an actor can win for a single role. "I haven't really thought about it," she says. "That would be fine." Miraculously, no one asks her what Hollywood actress she'd like to swap spit with. The press must be getting sleepy. And you-know-who must be really sleepy.
11:48 pm Raymond exec producers Phil Rosenthal and Ray Romano insist that the show's Emmy win will not impact their decision whether or not to go for another season. "This is encouraging," Rosenthal says, "but we could also take it and go. It's a total creative decision. We'll decide in January." They're so coming back.
12:01 pm Embattled West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin comes backstage and believe it or not he doesn't gloat about winning the Emmy for best drama series. Standing right next to John Wells who has replaced him as commander-in-chief Sorkin says he's "jealous that he won't get to go to work on The West Wing tomorrow." What? No pot shots at NBC? No digs at Wells? Sheesh. The least he could do is tell us which two actresses he'd like to watch make out. Eh, maybe next year...For more on the Emmys, click here.