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A Peek Behind the Curtain: Sunday’s Emmy 2012 Telecast


The seven stars assigned the best seats in the house, which former hosts are in Jimmy Kimmel’s ear, and photos inside the on-stage green room.

Even though Emmy host Jimmy Kimmel is having a pop-the-cork year — a move to 11:30 p.m. time slot for his show, a wedding engagement, and his gig hosting Sunday’s primetime Emmys, he gets nervous  when things are going so well.

“You know, I have to say, everyone says, ‘This is a great year, this is a big year,’” Kimmel told TheWrap  earlier this week. “This year is one of the biggest pains in the ass of my life.”

(Above, a view of the Nokia Theatre seating during this week's load-in.)

As Kimmel participated in a ceremonious unrolling of the red carpet on Wednesday (center, with telecast executive producer Don Mischer on the left and Television Academy CEO Bruce Rosenblum, right), he had one more thorn in his side.

Mischer accidentally introduced him as 2010 host Jimmy Fallon. “Thank you, Mr. Rickles,” Kimmel volleyed back without blinking.

On the behind-the-scenes creative contributions to his high-profile primetime gig, Kimmel offered insight on his team. 

“My old friend Bill Simmons [ESPN personality and original Jimmy Kimmel Live writer] has been helping. My old pal Adam Carolla’s been helping me, and they’re doing it out of the goodness of their heart,” he said.

Separately, Sal “Cousin Sal” Iacono said on “The B.S. Report” that he’s been “massaging jokes.”

The pitches are coming from beyond Kimmel’s football-and-comedy huddle. “I’ve received some advice from past Emmy hosts,” Kimmel continued. “[Three-time host] Gary Shandling gave me some good advice. I think the situation people are in is, they don’t want to force themselves on you, but they’re happy to help if you ask.”

As to how Kimmel and Mischer will fill the two hours and six minutes of program time going head-to-head with Kimmel’s beloved NFL (an AFC Championship rematch on NBC between the Patriots and the Ravens), Mischer hopes to draw in the and keep the non-industry audience.

“There are 14 awards that are given to people that the viewers are not terribly invested in,” Mischer calculates. “Four that go to directors, four that go to writers and six that go to producers. Instead of in those eight instances of listening to names, we’re trying to give a little personality there, see how these people think, maybe get invested in them so if they win it means something to you as a viewer.”

Seven names that already resonate with viewers have the best seats in the Nokia, front row corner seats: Kevin Costner, Jon Hamm, Clive Owen, Lena Dunham, Tina Fey, Betty White and Zooey Deschanel.

On the other end, last year’s telecast producer Mark Burnett has one of the worst seats of a televised nominee — in the 500s section (though still much better than most) — sitting with the nominated producers of “The Voice.” Only Bill Maher’s producers on “Real Time” fared worse.

Presenters like Michael J. Fox, Amy Poehler, Kiefer Sutherland, Ron Howard, Stephen Colbert  and Kathy Bates won’t have far to make it to the stage regardless of where they’re sitting due to an onstage green room.

Audi and designer Derek Lam’s idea of a green room is actually a silver womb (left), about 10 feet behind the stage-left wing and only a few seconds walk from camera view. 

Directly under the stage, a level down, On3's gifting suite continues in a small room during the show. There, the talent (and only the talent) get pick up TiVos with lifetime service, New Balance sneakers to get in shape for the next awards show, and if that fails, Zerona body-sculpting laser sessions.

Speaking of “next awards shows,” Mischer is already preparing to direct February’s Academy Awards. “There wont be much of a vacation (post-Emmys),” he says. “It’s going to be immediate. We’re working on it right now.”