Emmy Blog: The Remote Patroller On The Prowl (August 27, 2006)

by Michael Lever

Our Access “Remote Patroller” Michael Lever gives you the blow-by-blow from this years Emmys! (All times are PST)

7:40 p.m. -- The funny ladies are up now and the Seinfeld curse is finally over. (and may I say, eh?) Julia Louis Dreyfus picked up the Lead Actress In A Comedy Emmy. For those who don’t want to Google “Seinfeld” and “Curse”, basically Dreyfus has had the only real success post “Seinfeld,” as her fellow cast mates fronted their own shows that never went a full season. She choked up and managed to get out a lovely speech, and made sure she thanked her husband, funnyman Brad Hall, thanks to a little help from audience member Debra Messing. Actors helping actors, isn’t’ that what it’s all about?

Speaking of curses, Kiefer Sutherland takes home the Lead Actor Drama Series Emmy, having been an eight-time nominee and never bringing home the gold. The Sutherland acting dynasty marches on (though papa Donald was shut out this year.) He’s starting to grow on me both as an actor and as a celebrity. He always seems gracious and convivial in interviews and was really nice on the red carpet earlier today.

Score a big one for NBC, as critical darling and darn funny show “The Office” wins for Outstanding Comedy Series. It’s nice to see “the little show that could” actually can and did! I am a bit bummed, though. I really wanted “Scrubs” to win. That’s the best show that no-body’s watching. Thank the heavens and the home entertainment business for DVDs!

And now the final award of this long and enjoyable evening. What a difference a day makes. “24” takes home the prize as “Outstanding Drama Series.” Not a big fan of the show, simply because I have never had the opportunity to watch it with any regularity. Again, kudos to the technology gods, as I have Netflix-ed all the past seasons, so hopefully I will be one of the faithful very soon. My fave, the departed “West Wing” didn’t win, but it has taken home a presidential limo full of statues in its run.

What a night! It went by pretty quick, and there were some genuine funny and touching moments. Can’t ask much more than that for 4 hours of television. I planned on another paragraph full of pithy comments on the TV industry, blah blah blah. Frankly, I am bushed. If you have reading this all the way through, then you must a) TV Junkie, b) Blog Junkie or c) Michael Lever Junkie, aka my mom. Hi mom! Whatever letter you are, thanks a heap for sticking with me. Peace.

7:17 p.m. --The clock is ticking away and some of the major awards have yet to be handed out. The suspense is killing me! Sure the TV movie/mini-series folks are as deserving as anyone, but I haven’t gotten to see much of their work in the nominated movies, so I can’t really get too worked up about them. I can only TiVo so much. Elsewhere on accesshollywood.com you can find the complete list of winners, as well as more behind the scenes stuff, including red carpet pics. (End of commercial)

This year, as in past years, the “In Memoriam” section always elicits a cry or two of “I didn’t know he (or she) passed away.” This year “Grampa” Al Lewis got the biggest reaction from my trailer mates. He was such a character, you think he would just be around forever. This part always puts a lump in my throat. Especially “The West Wing’s” John Spenser, who was a brilliant man in one of my favorite shows. Both the show and the man are gone, but not forgotten.

Finally it’s time for the meat of the matter. Best Actress in A Drama Series goes to the ravishing Mariska Hargitay, who is on a roll for her role on “Law & Order: SVU,” having nabbed a Golden Globe last year. Her emotional speech speaks volumes about her humility and love for the craft. I heart Hargitay.

6:50 p.m. -- The ageless Candice Bergen introduces the Academy President to kick off the tribute to the legendary TV producer Aaron Spelling. Stephen Collins, Heather Locklear and Joan “Alexis Morell Carrington Colby Dexter Rowan” Collins waxed lovingly about their experiences working for the Mr. S. I didn’t know he started out as an actor in early TV, and the clip of him on “Gunsmoke” was a hoot.

Wow, I forgot all the various shows he brought to the small screen, too many to mention, so google away and you’ll know what I mean. Hurry, clips, hurry by and get to the good stuff. Finally, the moment has arrived: The long awaited (at least by me and my best friend Victor) reunion of the original “Charlie’s Angels.” At the end of the montage, out floats Farrah Fawcett, Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith, all looking quite well for their years.

What a treat to see my girls standing together, hand in hand, paying a loving tribute to the man who brought them together and the world a television phenomenon. Kate started out with a scripted, but poignant missive on the greatness of the man. Farrah was next, composure intact and Ms. Smith spoke off the cuff about her love for Aaron. Tears flowed, not just onstage but from audience alike, including Candy and Randy Spelling and, yours truly. I’m a sap for this kind of stuff, and I will forever be a huge fan of Bree, Kelly, Jill, Bosley and Charlie. Great moment of the night and possibly the year. Pass me a Kleenex, I need a moment.

6:24p.m. — Before I forget, I loved loved loved the Music Man “Trouble” parody song at the top of the show. There’s nothing like a little Broadway to perk up an evening’s festivities. I have to say that Mr. O’Brien is not a bad crooner and so light on his feet! And now back to the show. Speaking of crooners, there’s more Manilow magic, as Barry wins for Best Individual Performance in A Variety or Musical Program. Next up they are giving out an award for Best Directing for Variety or Music Program and guess what? It’s the guy who’s directing tonight’s Emmy show that wins. I HATE WHEN THEY DO THIS. He has to call out his own cues and it’s very confusing, shouting out takes between “thanks mom for your support.” There’s GOT to be an A.D. (Assistant Director) who can take over and give Louis J. Horvitz (the winner) a chance to properly accept his award.

After a well-deserved Jon Stewart win for comedy writing, up next was a great pair of presenters, Bradley Whitford and Matthew Perry. After some amusing, if not too scripted banter, they gave out a biggie: Lead Actor In A Comedy Series. I loves me the funny, so I am particularly interested in this award.

And the statue of the lady holding the big gold ball thingy goes to Tony Shalhoub. A very talented man, but does anyone watch it? I never get the chance, and now I should. Shalhoub is a great talent and I do love all his work. Where’s my Tivo remote when I need it? Up next is the tribute to Aaron Spelling. I smell a reunion of my favorite 70’s female crime fighters. Could I be any giddier!? Doubt it. :)

5:45 p.m. --The family Von Sheen (Charlie and dad Martin) blah, blah blah, bad schtick , blah blah blah nominees for Best Supporting Actress in A Drama Series, blah blah blah Blythe Danner wins! She puts the sass in class, giving a wonderful speech, both touching and goofy…why she doesn’t have a series of her own is beyond me. Attention network suits, make this happen!

Next up, Billy Bush’s prediction from the Red Carpet Show was realized, as Jeremy Piven took home the Best Supporting Actor in A Comedy Series for his killer role on “Entourage.” Let’s blame it on excitement, but it was kind of odd he went from a bizarre “fluffer” joke to choking back tears in thanking his mother and his late father. Eh, who cares, the boy is hot! Blah blah blah more chatter from Conan, blah blah blah some “previously announced winners” Leslie Jordan (hilarious as the elfin Beverly Leslie on “Will & Grace”) and Cloris Leachman (“Malcolm In The Middle”) for Guest Actor in Comedy Series, who frankly deserved their awards given to them live, instead of at the Creative Emmy Awards a week ago. Cloris even broke some kind of record for most Emmy wins by a female. You go ‘Phyllis!’

So, now we come to one of two tributes of the night. “Idol” judge Simon Cowell trots out in a slovenly suit and no tie…could he be any more annoying? I swear I even heard some boos from the Shrine audience. I don’t blame them, he bugs. Now to the reason he is still talking--he’s introducing the Dick Clark Tribute. Blah blah blah, old clips, real fun looking back on a great career. Next up was the honoree himself, Dick Clark, doing pretty OK up there, despite the limitations from his stroke, who introduces a special musical guest. Then out comes the one and only Mr. Barry Manilow swinging his soon-to-be-operated on hips and croons a tame but tasty “Bandstand” theme. He’s getting up there, but the Manilow still makes magic!

So far the whole thing seems a bit rushed, especially the speeches, and again, I feel bad for some of the winners, who may never get the chance to thank those important to them ever again in such a public way. Of course, if they are boring, the ‘playoff’ music can’t come fast enough.

I need a Diet Coke and a potty break. See you in a bit.

5:00 p.m. — On with the show, this is it…. Conan O’Brien is doing a wacky spoof on getting to the Emmys, starting with a plane crash landing him on the “Lost” island. He climbs down the mysterious hatch and ends up in “The Office,” complete with Carell & Company. Next up, “24”, you can see where this all is going. “House,” “South Park,” (including a Cruise/closet reference) and a “Dateline-To Catch A Predator,” actually it was all well done. Good use of different shows and funny. Nice start to the festivities.

Here comes the monologue. Hope it’s not too long, I wanna see some winning going on! I always feel bad that towards the end, winners are rushed through their speeches due to a shortage of time, often because they front load the show with too many jokes from the host. Finally some awards! And first up: Best Supporting Actress in A Comedy Series goes to Megan Mullally, a personal favorite. She tearfully thanked some of the behind - the - scenes folks and expressed heartfelt appreciation for the 8 years we all watched. Swish Swish. She’s on to a new gig, her very own daytime talk show. Can’t wait to get me some more Megan. And, in a poignant (and ever so coincidental) moment that followed, Sean Hayes was up as presenter for Best Supporting Actor in A Drama Series, which went to Alan ‘no show’ Alda. Wish Megan could have had his time to finish her lovely speech.

4:30 p.m. — Live from the Shrine Auditorium Red Carpet, it feels 110 in the shade! I sweated straight through my fancy pants purple shirt, so I retreated from the maddening crowd and now I am safely tucked away in a production trailer in delicious air conditioning.

The preshow is going along pretty well. A few awkward moments, but hey, it’s live TV. Jeremy ‘yummy’ Piven was particularly saucy, shooting loving jabs, well, maybe not ‘loving,’ at our Billy Bush and giving mad props to his mom, who was with him as his date. Let’s say it all together…awwwwwwwwwwwww.

Denis Leary shed some intelligence on the whole Tom Cruise thing. And Tim Gunn just officially declared purple as the color of the red carpet. Look how trendy I turned out to be.

1:10 p.m. -- It’s the March of the Penguins out here at the Shrine Auditorium as many of the press and network publicists take up positions along the red carpet.

Which leads me to the age old question: Why are men forced to don itchy, uncomfortable, and for the most part rented (which in reality means borrowing from a ‘stranger’ whom you pray had the decency to empty the pockets and clean it) monkey suit. Sure it’s tradition and it makes things a bit simpler for the males in the group, but frankly, I find it boring.

Women get ready to pelt me with last year ' s Jimmy Choos, but I THINK IT’S UNFAIR! Most females would argue that men are soooooooo lucky not to have to agonize over an outfit choice, suffering permanent damage from ridiculously high heels…and don’t get them started on the hair.

But I say, at least you get to have options. Heck, some even make an award-winning choice of wearing a tux and really work it. On a day like today, what I would give to sport something strapless and ventilated. Some day, maybe. All it takes is one or two celebrity males taking the risk and opening the door for the rest of the men.

Hey Wentworth (Miller, Prison Break), show up and show some skin! If not for fashion, then for pure comfort.

And speaking of skin (tied in a neat bow behind her head) the queen mum of the carpet, Joan Rivers, has just arrived to squawk at the glittered and gowned stars. The eerie sheen to her face, and it ain’t Charlie or Martin, makes me miss Wayland Flowers and Madam (this obscure TV reference will make me look older than the damage from today’s blistering sun.) More on La Rivers later.

I need a moment to recover from the initial shock. Hello Knott?s Scary Farm? I have this year’s headliner.

9:51 a.m. -- Well, it’s already in the late 70’s, and I am not talking about the average age of the ET viewer (oh no he didn’t….Snap!).

Translation, it’s gonna be a schvitzy day in the neighborhood. And speaking of neighborhoods, the Shrine Auditorium is located downtown-ish, nestled amid the campus of USC (go Trojans! Super Dave, that’s for you).

Trouble is everything around the school is not the most desirable area of Los Angeles County by any stretch of the imagination. Good thing the limos are tinted! And heaven forbid there would be a Starbucks open at the ungodly hour of 5AM, the start of our Emmy Day. They have all night drugstores, grocery marts and McDonald’s, but why can’t I get a double soy latte, light on the foam with one pump of hazelnut when I need it the most.

But I digress.

We continue to rehearse camera blocking, seamless transitions and other technical stuff for the 2006 Emmy Red Carpet Special, an hour-long extravaganza jammed with more stars than the bus to the Betty Ford Clinic. So, standing in for said celebs is one of my jobs today. Earlier I had the delightful duty as a stand-in for Tim Gunn, as they adjusted the lighting for his chores as Access’ fashion guru. I took the bullet for Mr. Gunn, gladly, as he went over notes with field producer Felidette, comfortably shaded, while I stood under the burning lights and blazing sun.

FYI: He’s a charming and disarming individual, as dapper off camera as on, and was gracious and chatty, fielding the umpteenth question regarding Project Runway. LOVE HIM!

Next up, more rehearsing, but this time I get to stand in for the celebs, so that our convivial hosts Billy and Nancy can sharpen their on-the-fly interview skills (Please, people, they’re pros….this is merely a formality, more for the director and crew to limber up) I haven’t decided if I want to be Jeremy Piven or Heidi Klum. It’s a win-win regardless.

Saturday night (August 26) -- It’s that time of year, when the privileged few forsake their sandals and gauchos and trade them in for slingbacks and gooey gowns in preparation for one of the biggest red carpet rides of the awards season.

That’s right kids, it’s time for the Primetime Emmy Awards! I know what you’re thinking, they are kinda early this year, and you would be correct. Usually the Emmys happen sometime in the middle of September, not sweltering August. It pretty much doesn’t matter, really, as the temperature midday at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles during the 8th month is just as “Africa hot” as the 9th. Not sure if there will be as many viewers watching the festivities as there are when everyone is back from vacation and hunkering down for Fall, but I don’t run the networks, just work for one.

And speaking of that, my network of employ, NBC, is the host this year, and they have enlisted our very own ACCESS HOLLYWOOD team, in front and behind the cameras, to serve up The 2006 Emmy Red Carpet Special, otherwise known as the “Look-Who’s-Wearing-What-Who-Showed-Up-With-Whom-God-He-Looks-Terrible-Wow-She-Hasn’t-Aged-A-Bit-What-A-Hot-Couple-I-Thought-He-Was-Dead-I-Wish-I-Could-Pull-Off-That-Outfit” Pre-Show. It’s my favorite part of the night! This year, fashion is first, and the amazing Tim Gunn (Project Runway) and the zany Stacy London (What Not To Wear) will be reading and shading the frumpy and gushing and praising the fabulous. And after all, ain’t that what a red carpet ride is all about? It’s going to be one kooky night and I’m glad you’re tagging along.

So, now the parade of limousines is drawing nigh and soon the sound of “WHO ARE YOU WEARING” will ring forth from every Talking Head with a microphone. Pass me a Xanax and a Diet Coke, lemme strap on a pair of Steve Madden flats, and run a comb through my hair….it’s time to hit the red carpet!

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