Emmy night is upon us!
The area around the Nokia Theatre in Downtown L.A. is a fortified Hollywood Green Zone with a sea of limos, well-dressed flacks, agents, execs and stars making red carpet arrivals surrounded by metal detectors, armed guards and miles of velvet rope.
I'm going deep into the center of this Emmy madness to bring you a live blog from the media center during the show.
Tune in here just prior to the start of the awards at 5 p.m. Pacific/8 Eastern for backstage updates with reactions from winners and meta-media gossip.
6:07 PM Internet access is down here in the Press Room at the JW Marriot hotel adjacent to the Nokia Theatre, but I'm set up to post via Blackberry. None of the winners have appeared here yet, but "Big Bang Theory's" Jim Parsons, winner for Oustanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series is arriving shortly.
6:14 PM Jim Parsons is on stage. One of the first questions asked his reaction to the show's move to Thursday night. "I'm excited, because, you know, it's a big night. Thursday night for comedy is something I was weaned on … I feel knock on wood like we've got such a loyal fan base and they'll watch it whenever it is." Parsons described winning the trophy as "absolutely dreamlike."
"And how will I celebrate? I am the lamest old man but this gives me the energy to go to 10:30 or 11 tonight," Parsons said.
Parsons rejected the notion that his fellow cast members would be jealous of his win. "It's just a very mature group of people," Parsons said of his "Big Bang" co-stars. Now that he's an Emmy winning actor, Parsons' next goal is to do Broadway. "I'd love to do a play in New York for anyone who cares to listen," Parsons said before leaving the press room.
6:27 PM "Mad Men" writer Erin Levy, winner for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series with the show's creator Matthew Weiner: "It feels amazing, I couldn't believe it actually." On comparisons between her career and the storyline of "Mad Men" character Peggy Olson: "I will take it. I think there's an element of it that's very true because Matt Weiner gave me a shot when I was just a writer's assistant and Peggy was Don's assistant … I would say that Matt has probably been more nurturing to me and he's been a fantastic mentor … He's really terrific about it, he's done it with a lot of other people too … There was definitely a mix of excitement and fright when I arrived, because I'm writing for this show that was one of my favorite shows."
6:38 PM Padma Lakshmi from "Top Chef" on ending "Amazing Race's" seven year long Outstanding Reality Series win streak: "I thought 'Amazing Race" was going to win again. In fact, I was really, really mean to the host of 'Amazing Race' on the red carpet … I told him I was taking him down and guess what? I was right … We're just really happy."
Lakshmi's "Top Chef" co-host Tom Collichio discussed what he planned to eat after the awards: "The Governor's Ball, I hear there's pretty good food there … Who can eat right now? I think we need some cocktails."
6:50 PM "Modern Family's" Eric Stonestreet, who won for Oustanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy, talked about beating his fellow cast members: "You know, we had all joked around before that if any one of us won, whether it would be funny to punch the other in the stomach or be visibly upset and walk out of the auditorium. This win is a win for our show just as it would have been if Ty Burrell, Jesse Tyler Ferguson or Sophia [Vergara] had won." Stonestreet also discussed his feelings about playing a member of a gay family. "We want to make people laugh, that's our first goal, but the idea that we can open people's minds and hearts to realize that they are more similar than different– that's a real honor to do," Stonestreet said.
7:04 PM Edie Falco, who won the award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for "Nurse Jackie," talked about what it's like to win for a comedy after years of starring in the acclaimed drama "The Sopranos:" "I never really thought of myself as funny … I won in a drama … This whole comedy world is completely a new terrain for me … Tina Fey for heaven's sake! It's ridiculous, but I'm happy to be here … anybody winning an award like this is going to be excited and thrilled, so that's what i am … Who said i was the favorite to win? … I don't know, I stay out of all that stuff, all I know is, I was nominated for a comedy series … the women I was up against are outstanding comedians … I was dumbfounded … I hadn't planned on celebrating, I planned on going home and ordering room service."
7:11 PM John Lithgow won the award for Oustanding Guest Actor in a Drama for his portrayal of the"Trinity Killer" on Showtime's "Dexter" at the Creative Arts Emmys Aug. 21. At that ceremony, he accidentally thanked HBO instead of Showtime. "I've thought nothing but Showtime thoughts all week … It's been the big news all week– 'Lithgow's Gaffe.' I was sure to call both Matt Blank and Bob Greenblatt and they both roared with laughter. I haven't called HBO, but I'm going to their party tonight," Lithgow said.
7:20 PM Bryan Cranston won the Outstanding Lead Actor Performance in a Drama Series Emmy for his work in "Breaking Bad" for the third straight year. Cranston won't be eligible to extend his streak next year because the show's upcoming fourth season won't debut until July 2011, which is too late for Emmy contention. Cranston jokingly pretended to be shocked when asked about the end of his Emmy streak: "What do you mean no Emmy next year? That is bulls–t! I'm not eligible next year? God! Are you kidding? "I'm so grateful, it's like having a great meal. To do the show and then to be awarded an Emmy is a beautiful flambé dessert, and last year was another dessert on top of that. I feel gluttonous, it's more than I can take in. I feel like I'm a diabetic, so it's actually a reprieve that I can relax next year and just let things go."
7:34 PM Kyra Sedgwick was a winner for Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her work on TNT's homicide detective show "The Closer." Sedgwick was asked about past female TV investigators who she admired during her youth. "I really liked 'Cagney and Lacey' growing up, but I was kind of a fan of the guys. I really dug 'Beretta,' 'The Nightstalker,' I know I'm forgetting somebody. You know, Angle Dickinson rocks pretty hard," Sedgwick said.
7:45 PM Aaron Paul got the Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for his "Breaking Bad" character Jesse Pinkman. Paul described Pinkman by saying " he's just this kind of messed up kid that thinks cooking crystal meth is an artform and i think that's beautiful."
Paul mentioned his roommate David Tom, who won a Daytime Emmy in 2001 for his work on "General Hospital." "My buddy who lives with me in my house, he won one years ago, so I'm happy to have one to call my own … It's fantastic, I'm just happy people like the show," Paul said.
7:51 PM "The Good Wife's" Archie Panjabi took home the statue for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama. In the press room, Panjabi was asked how it felt to win an award as an actress of Indian descent. "I started in England as an actress, and most of the roles I was offered and did play were relevant to my ethnicity … I've always believed that to be given this opportunity to play such a character, where I think up until now we haven't mentioned her ethnicity, is for me a dream come true," Panjabi said.
7:57 PM George Clooney picked up the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award at the Emmy ceremony. Clooney discussed the reasons he feels obligated to do charity work. "If you have that tremendous amount of heat from the spotlight, you have to shine it on other things. My dad calls it a 'celebrity credit card' that you just try to cash in other places … You could name dozens of people in the music industry, my industry other industries .. they're doing the same thing," Clooney said.
Clooney also talked about Proposition Eight — California's same-sex marriage ban. "These are those kind of things that take long, long times to change … Most people who are against the idea of Prop Eight feel that it's a civil right … People will look back on this time in history and think of it as an archaic time," Clooney said.
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama nominee Julianna Marguiles, Clooney's longtime co-star on "ER," presented him with the Bob Hope trophy. Clooney said it was "pretty great" to have Marguiles on stage with him. "We stay in touch and we're good friends. We see each other when were in New York … but it's still really nice … You get the sense that people really do enjoy the fact that we sort of ended up together in the end, it meant a lot to be able to have her standing there," Clooney said.
Clooney said he was enjoyed himself on the day of his Emmy win: "My day today was– John Krasinski and a couple of other guys came over to my house to place basketball … If you see him [Krasinski] tonight, he's limping … Jimmy Fallon is just killing it back there he's really funny."
8:49 PM HBO's "Temple Grandin," the story of autistic activist and cattle researcher Temple Grandin, took home several awards. "It's really wonderful to be here tonight and I hope this movie is going to educate a lot of people about autism," Grandin said in the press room.
Claire Danes won the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie for her portrayal of Grandin. "Claire Danes just became me in the 60's and 70's," Grandin said. Danes said it was an honor to play Grandin. "I don't think I've been as inspired by any character that I've played. I was deeply moved by Temple's courage … She's encouraged incredibly positive change in the world … I don't expect to have another opportunity like this any time soon," Danes said.
8:55 PM "Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner was asked if he's starting to feel comfortable now that the show has won three straight Outstanding Drama awards. "I never feel like I'm rolling. I'm in a terror and a freefall every day, you've seen the opening credits … It's always terrifying. I have to say, I did feel before the premiere this year … I was thinking like, 'Oh my god, people are actually watching this, I can't hide anymore,'" Weiner said.
Weiner declined to discuss the fate of character Sal Romano who has disappeared from the show since being fired from the Sterling Cooper ad agency last season, but he did reveal one thing about future plotlines: "I don't know that anyone's really ever going to get shot on 'Mad Men.'"
Weiner, who has discussed different plans for ending the series in the past, was asked whether he has an end date in mind for 'Mad Men.' "I don't know what it is yet … we're all enjoying it, we'd do it forever," Weiner said.
9:03 PM Al Pacino won the award for Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie for his portrayal of Dr. Jack Kevorkian in HBO's "You Don't Know Jack." Pacino wouldn't reveal his personal position on Kevorkian's main cause– euthanasia. "I don't usually talk about that … it's beside the point," Pacino said. Pacino speculated that Kevorkian became controversial because of a troubled relationship with the press. "I think what happened to Jack, when he was fighting his cause and his beliefs, a lot of the relationship to the media was in sound bites. He was stigmatized as a 'Dr. Death kind of guy … his social acumen it just isn't sometimes, it's not as conventional … I got to know him after the picture and I'm so glad that I got to know him a little," Pacino said.
9:11 PM "Modern Family's" Steven Levitan appeared on stage without co-creator Christopher Lloyd. "My partner has a little aversion to crowds and public speaking, he's going to meet us at the Governor's Ball … He is here in spirit and he's absolutely as much a part of the show as anybody,"Levitan said.
"Modern Family's" win for Outstanding Comedy Series ended a streak of three consecutive Emmy wins for NBC's "30 Rock." "Listen, I'm a huge '30 Rock' fan, so it doesn't give me tremendous joy to break their streak. I'm just happy that we won," Levitan said.
"Modern Family" was up against another freshman series in the comedy category– Fox's high school musical hit "Glee." Levitan said he "hugged" "Glee" creator Ryan Murphy at the Emmy Awards. "I really admire the fact that 'Glee' has broken the mold, has tried something so different, has found a new way to do things. It's a shame that we both had to come out in the same year. We're at the same studio, so we're always pitted against each other … I like those guys a lot, my daughters actually went to the 'Glee' concert, so I hope there's room for everybody," Levitan said.