Where do the winners go after accepting their Emmys? Backstage to the (overly air-conditioned, brrrr) press room! Here is your minute-by-minute guide to who said what about their most memorable night.
8:06: Show's just starting, and we're watching it back here like the rest of ya. Host Conan O'Brien's pretaped opening says it all: NBC (and The Office) gets second billing in a funny bit that leads off instead with rival ABC's Lost.
8:29: Jeremy Piven wins, thank god, saving this from being the most scoop-free press session ever. He thanks his mom and late dad (aww), meaning I am so not gonna ask about his party-animal rep now.
8:39: Where is Megan Mullally?
8:42: No, really. She won half an hour ago. Why isn't she back here answering questions yet?
8:51: It's Megan Mullally... or at least a transcript of her acceptance speech. I'm calling the police.
8:53: It's 23 minutes until the next award gets presented. Bring us fresh meat. Now.
8:55: Did I mention it's freezing in here? Almost too cold to type.
8:59: Blythe Danner is here, but since the microphone-passing process hasn't been ironed out, she's left to do basically a one-on-one with some lady in the first row.
9:02: Danner spends too much time answering a question about her dress, from a reporter in a zebra-print top no less, so there's no time for my question.
9:06: The Girl in the Café's Kelly Macdonald (winner in the supporting actress in a miniseries/TV-movie category) is asked about the controversy involving Ellen Burstyn, who was nom'd for a 14-second role: I didn't know about the whole 14-second thing. Wow, good actress!
9:09: Jeremy Piven, fresh from Arizona where he is filming The Kingdom, talks about his acceptance speech. I didn't want to kill Bob Newhart, because he's an icon, he says. That was my goal.
9:10: Getting back to his late father, whom he thanked, Piven again chokes back tears. He is here, and he's very proud.
9:13: The first recipient of what will be one reporter's recurring question about the tax now assessed on goody-bag contents, Piven has the only meaningful answer of the night: They should be sent to New Orleans, to the Katrina victims.
9:17: It's official: Zebra Lady is our official asker of the Who are you wearing? round-up question.
9:22: TVGuide.com asks Greg Garcia if My Name Is Earl might start to edge away from its original structure, in which Earl ticks off an item from his list each week. In Season 2, we are going to get away from it a little bit and have episodes where he doesn't cross anything off, he shares. We'll open the world up a little bit. Are there any concerns that Earl is too guest-star-heavy? No, because our show is one that needs a lot of guest stars, because when he crosses someone off his list it's a pretty big part for somebody. It's always going to be a big thing for us.
9:24: Garcia, a writer-producer, has just been asked the goody-bags-tax question.
9:26: It's me again, asking for specifics on any Season 2 guest stars. Garcia rattles off the names of Roseanne, Amy Sedaris, Giovanni Ribisi and Burt Reynolds (who will play the owner of Club Chubby, the local strip bar).
9:28: Watching the telecast... how cool is it that the Emmy-winning Emmys director plays himself off with music? Because you know he could totally just not.
9:34: It just hit me: Zebra Lady didn't ask the My Name Is Earl director who he is wearing.
9:35: Awards aficionado Tom O'Neill stopped by, as he does at these things, to tell us something interesting about... I forget, because it actually wasn't that interesting. To be fair, Tom seems to agree, judging by the shrug he gave us after his spiel.
9:42: It's Terence Winter, writer for The Sopranos. And... no one is asking anything. Dude is bordering on forlorn. I quickly grab the mike and ask if the series finale will provide closure or leave us wanting more. He defers the query to David Chase, who hasn't penned it yet. "But as always, some people will be happy and satisfied, others won't. Honest enough.
9:43: Whoa, Tony Shalhoub just won best actor in a comedy. Gee, I wonder what the first question coming his way is.
9:50: Irons is raving, absolutely raving, about Lithuania as a shooting location. My 10-year wedding-anniversary plans are now solved!
9:52: Irons is asked about the goody-bags tax. Seriously.
9:54: This montage of Spelling shows has my childhood flashing before my eyes.
9:56: This montage of Charlie's Angels has puberty flashing before my eyes.
9:57: Angels Farrah Fawcett, Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith are reunited on stage, no easy feat I assure you. Cut to Geena Davis perhaps wondering, When will Farrah snap? Nah, they won't let her talk, I bet.
9:58: Farrah's talking! The clock is now ticking....
10:02: Words one never expects to hear in an Emmys press room: Please welcome Barry Manilow. But what's there to ask him how's Lola?
10:05: Ah, someone asks him, as a WCPF of Dick Clark's, how he thinks the TV legend is doing. As great as can be expected. It was a stroke, Manilow offers. He's getting through it.
10:09: I ask Andre Braugher of the unceremoniously canceled Thief why his show was unceremoniously canceled. He says the ratings simply weren't there, then makes it clear he feels Thief didn't get its due: I'd prefer we were back [doing the show] than me holding this [Emmy] tonight.
10:14: Tony Shalhoub is here, and so is that inevitable first topic. Last year I was shocked, this year I was semicomatose, he says, referring to his consecutive wins. What comes after déjà vu? Déjà trios? I feel numb, he says, having lost to a show that is so hot right now and starring category rival Steve Carell, who is on fire.
10:16: Ooh, a funny question: Someone asks Shalhoub if he felt at a disadvantage since his show is (unlike many of those honored tonight) still on the air. Nice!
10:17: Katherine Heigl is on stage presenting. Sweet criminy.
10:19: It's Megan Mullally, in the flesh! Zebra Lady beats me to the first question. And so does the Goody Bag Tax guy. (I love that Mullally totally pooh-poohs the issue as something the media glommed onto because it made for tangy copy.)
10:27: I ask her if it will be possible, creative-material ownership rights and all, for her to have Will & Grace's Karen pop up on her talk show as hoped. Mullally says it's not much legal nonsense, just a matter of having Karen's creator sign off on the occasional sketch.
10:27:30: Mullally then has the evening's funniest line about the Bob Newhart Watch, deadpanning, Oh, he's gonna die. Nice man and a brilliant comedian, but... it's time.
10:30: Jaclyn Smith reps the Angels by her lonesome and is met by some guy's question about how Spelling changed this medium known as TV. As opposed to how Spelling changed TV.
10:32: Smith makes clear what was already made pretty clear on stage, where she said it the first time: The actresses' unlikely reunion was for Aaron. Meaning, and Aaron alone.
10:34: Mariska Hargitay wins! Where's Ausiello? I think I spy him slipping into a security guard's uniform to go ferret out the first interview in a back hallway.
10:41: En route to the pasta station, I deftly confirm that Zebra Lady and her fashiony questions are from a celeb glossy.
10:46: The producers of The Amazing Race come in, and I'm there with a question about network loyalties aside their take on Survivor's controversial segregated-tribes twist. Looking at me like I have three eyeballs, I am told/evaded by the lead guy, I'd have to see it first before commenting. OK....
10:50: Newhart lives! What a funny guy. Where is that The sitcom he always teases? (It being the last available option after Bob Newhart and The Bob Newhart Show.) We need him back on TV.
10:55: 24 just won for drama series. Get Kiefer back here now!
10:59: The telecast is over, and there's that promo for NBC's Heroes. The Japanese guy is awesome, I have to tell you, one of the best parts of the show.
11:00: Have I mentioned that the TV Guide after-party features musical guest Pink? That is, if I ever finish this Insider and get there....
11:05: The final tote: HBO grabbed 10 Emmys tonight, followed by NBC (seven) and Fox (four).
11:09: Asked to comment on the Emmys' oft-criticized nomination process, Dreyfus says, I have no problem with this system. Let's keep it! She's cute.
11:25: I ask Mariska Hargitay if she deems newborn son August her good-luck charm, as the thing that cinched her win. Absolutely! she gushes. I follow up with a question about her SVU-return story line and she is very excited about what exec producer Neal Baer has in store for her.
11:30: The cast of The Office is here, and TVGuide.com blogger Jenna Fischer and Co. cheer when I stand up with the first question. Alas, I proceed to blush and stammer through my query, leaving it basically unanswerable.
11:42: Take 2, asking if the assorted accolades and added cast members threaten to make the quaint little Office seem big now. This time I sounded better, I thought, but still came up empty. My questioning, however, did prompt exec producer Greg Daniels to bring forth a twentysomething gent who he said will be playing Dwight's nephew, Larry Schrute. (You can't "beet" that kind of scoop).
11:45: The final winners hit the press room: Kiefer Sutherland and the cast/producers of 24. Funny how the producers, looking here like a team of accountants, put out such an intense thrill ride of a show. I ask Joel Surnow to clear up confusions about 1) how much time will have elapsed between last season and the next, and 2) where the 24 feature film will take us, geographically. His answers: 1) Two years, maybe a little less and 2) Probably Afghanistan, London and Washington, D.C.
11:47: Mary Lynn Rajskub delivers a gloriously deadpan take on how the cast has no fun on the set, reading big thick books of character history and practicing how to pronounce difficult words. Love her. But speaking of 24, my own clock is ticking, the press room is over, and away I go to the after-party!