7:24 p.m.: Big LIVEBLOGGING THE EMMYS notice on time.com homepage piques my interest. Oh, wait—I’m supposed to be doing it? Had better get started.
7:25 p.m.: I’m not sure Jimmy Kimmel is interviewing Tracy Morgan ironically or earnestly. Works out equally boring either way. Switching to E!
Liveblog continues after the jump.
7:26 p.m.: Christina Hendricks looks just as much like a hood ornament on the red carpet as on Mad Men. You know I mean that as a compliment, right?
7:33 p.m.: Lee Pace confesses to having written acceptance speech, shows it to viewers of E! Begins, “I was so shocked!” He must have written it in the future! Probably from a year other than 2008. Can he tell us who won the election?
7:35 p.m.: Note to self: Internet likes to read celebrity names in boldface.
7:37 p.m. I think Colin swiped Tom Hanks‘ new glasses for him from the prop department of Mad Men.
7:38 p.m.: People outside the TV business are probably unaware of the fact that Brad Garrett makes a regrettable remark pretty much every time he opens his mouth. Tonight: “Sarah Palin’s vibrator party.”
7:40 p.m.: E! cameraman has received strongly worded memo: Make sure you show the damn shoes.
7:41 p.m.: Commercial break. Less needed: edible fruit bouquets or Nights in Rodanthe? Discuss.
7:44 p.m.: Rule of the evening: all visitors to comments section are required to notify us what they are drinking. Me: the Emmys mark the beginning of pumpkin ale season!
7:47 p.m.: Bryan Cranston—adorable—will probably not win an Emmy but gets about three minutes solid on E! Met his wife on a made-for-TV movie that won an Emmy… for makeup.
7:48 p.m.: Jay Manuel’s fashion criticism: pretty, pretty, pretty!
7:54 p.m.: ABC commercial break. Message of new “I’m a PC” commercial: Buy Windows, because those Mac ads are really starting to piss us off.
8:00 p.m.: OK, I actually like the opening segment of famous TV catchphrases. Note to self: get Doris Roberts saying “Oh, my God, they killed Kenny!” as ringtone.
8:02 p.m.: Oprah: “Television opened up my life, and I know that is true for many of you.” Um, yeah. For most of us, however, it didn’t open the doors to Scrooge McDuck’s bank vault.
8:05 p.m.: The hosts arrive. Distracting. Keep expecting Probst to host a challenge. Heidi not allowed to speak. How long until Seacrest makes an “…after the break!” joke?
8:06 p.m.: First Sarah Palin joke.
8:07 p.m.: Hosts, you are besmirching the fine name of reality television.
8:08 p.m.: Bergeron and Shatner disrobe Heidi Klum. Never a wardrobe malfunction around when you need one!
8:11 p.m.: Supporting comedy actor: Piven! Called it. Not that that was much of a feat. They should call it the Inertia Awards. God bless him for making fun of the lame hosts’ opening, though.
8:17 p.m.: Bergeron and Seacrest speak from a recreation of Seinfeld’s Monk’s Diner. A bunch of people hanging out talking about nothing? Didn’t work quite as well for the five hosts’ opening bit.
8:20 p.m.: Supporting actress, comedy: Jean Smart. Didn’t call it! But good for her. Questions: (1) Samantha Who has a theme song? (2) How many of the people who voted for her have actually watched the show? First time I recall an awardee giving thanks for her time slot.
8:26 p.m.: Reality hosts are gradually killing my love for television.
8:27 p.m.: Desperate Housewives’ set tableau looks like a Showcase Showdown.
8:29 p.m.: Zeljko Ivanek wins supporting actor, drama, forcing me to Google spelling of his name. Didn’t call this, but good for him—he was fantastic in Damages. Though we just lost every Tuned In regular with Michael Emerson’s defeat.
8:31 p.m.: Ricky Gervais is funnier than anyone in any room he’s in. “Don’t cry—it’s just an award.” May actually see that ghost movie now.
8:33 p.m.: “Look at his stupid face.” Steve Carrell is as funny not speaking as Ricky Gervais is speaking. “I sat through Evan Almighty. Give me my Emmy.”
8:35 p.m.: Directing, variety, music, etc… Louis J. Horvitz—did I actually enjoy last year’s Oscars? Can’t even remember, but I suppose I shouldn’t blame him.
8:41 p.m.: I’m sorry, but Eli Stone does not deserve to use that Laura Nyro song in its ads.
8:43 p.m.: Conan O’Brien goes there with a Katherine Heigl “material not worthy” joke. Supporting actress, drama: Dianne Wiest, from my “dream” rather than “expect” list. In Treatment needed that.
8:49 p.m.: Writing, variety, musical or comedy program: The Colbert Report sticks it to Jon Stewart! Conan O’Brien has the funniest writing-credits sequence with the Angelina Jolie payoff, though. Except for “Oh, Hollywood, all is forgiven,” Colbert accepts the award out of character—I forgot he had an out-of-character—for which he gets played off.
8:53 p.m.: Steve Martin was on the television once. His agelessness is amazing; he’s like Elrond. His humor doesn’t age either: “I don’t use the word ‘genius’ very often. I just thought I’d mention that.”
8:55 p.m.: Tommy Smothers gets long-earned recognition. And Dick, applauding from the audience, doesn’t. Emmy always liked you best!
9:01 p.m.: Long-term betting pool: which leaves broadcast-network TV first, the Emmys or the Tonys?
9:06 p.m.: OK, not particularly familiar with Josh Groban, so someone tell me—has he displayed a sense of humor before? Because dude is kind of charming me. Not sure whether to get his Primus imitation or his Suicide Is Painless as ringtone. Also, nice to see Ed McMahon earning a paycheck.
9:08 p.m.: Lead actress, mini or movie: Laura Linney robs Phylicia Rashad. No offense, but Abagail’s role tended to recede into the background on John Adams—maybe that’s subtlety, I don’t know—and I thought this would be the one category Adams wouldn’t win. I think Alec Baldwin already has his supporting actor statuette under his jacket.
9:14 p.m.: First Tommy Smothers and now Laugh-In? Emmy has got the old hippie demo nailed down.
9:15 p.m.: I’m sorry, she’ll always the The Lost Saucer‘s Ruth Buzzi to me.
9:16 p.m.: Fun fact, kids—Laugh-In was exactly this funny.
9:18 p.m.: Unsurprising comedy win for The Daily Show, but it’s always gratifying to know that I’m hearing a Bob Mould song on network TV.
9:20 p.m.: Heidi Klum introduces David Boreanaz from “The Bones,” the lovable sitcom about a family of porno actors.
9:23 p.m.: Barry Sonnenfeld gets an Emmy for directing the pilot of Pushing Daisies to within an inch of its life. TV directors of the world, remember: this is what you get for going wildly over budget!
9:25 p.m.: Tina Fey and Lauren Conrad together! And another item crossed off the old see-before-I-die list.
9:26 p.m.: Mrs. Tuned In—with whom I communicate largely via blog—reminds me that Josh Groban did once display a sense of humor, or was at least in the presence thereof, in Jimmy Kimmel’s “I’m Fvcking
Matt Damon Ben Affleck” video.
9:32 p.m.: Fun fact: Martin Sheen actually spends every night on the West Wing Oval Office set.
9:37 p.m.: Best made-for-TV movie: Forgot to predict this one, but Recount wins, so I’ll update my previous post and pretend to have called it. I think the nominees were more or less every movie made for TV in the past season. Outside HBO (and Oprah), what an anemic category nowadays.
9:42 p.m.: On the set of Dragnet, Jeff Probst appears as McGruff the Crime-Fighting Dog.
9:43 p.m.: Laurence Fishburne takes the keys to CSI from William Peterson. I suppose he’ll stare at semen stains with more dramatic integrity than anyone on television.
9:45 p.m.: Stephen Colbert refers to John McCain as a prune. And all along I thought his official nickname was Raisin McCain.
9:48 p.m.: Incidentally, I’m kind of amazed there have not yet been any embarrassingly earnest entreaties to vote for Obama. Axelrod clearly has the message-control thing down.
9:50 p.m.: Accepting a writing award for John Adams, Kirk Ellis praises the day when public officials spoke articulately in complete sentences, and immediately gets cut off by the commercial break.
9:57 p.m.: Don Rickles‘ contemptuous laughter at scripted McCain-Palin joke possibly funniest bit of the night. “Folks, this crap got me no place, I’ll tell you that right now.”
9:59 p.m.: The Amazing Race wins Only Reality Show Emmy Is Allowed to Like for the sixth year in a row. And yet Phil Keoghan doesn’t get to co-host?
10:02 p.m.: John Adams, the miniseries your dad keeps telling you you really need to watch, wins its 10,000th Emmy.
10:09 p.m.: Individual, variety or music—In the inimitable words of Stephen Colbert, “RICKLLLLLLLLES!”
10:15 p.m.: Oh, right—there are drama series on TV too. House picks up a directing award. Early sign that my prediction was correct? Probably not, but I’ll enjoy it while it lasts.
10:17 p.m.: On the other hand, Matthew Weiner wins writing for Mad Men. Early sign that everyone else was correct?
10:18 p.m.: Mr. Weiner, you were not supposed to remind us that there was a writers’ strike. Also, momentarily referring to one of his children as “the other one”? Been there.
10:24 p.m.: Paul Giamatti collects expected Emmy for John Adams. Rejected opening line of speech: “Well, it’s not an Oscar, but…”
10:26 p.m.: Alec Baldwin, no surprise to anyone, for lead comedy actor. (Although, is Jack Donaghy a lead character? As lead as anyone in the ensemble, I guess.)
10:28 p.m.: Another no-brainer for Glenn Close in Damages. America Ferrera and Vanessa Williams lose sound, give best presenter patter of the night.
10:38 p.m.: Best actor, drama—Bryan Cranston wins! Cynics lose! Wow. Mrs. Tuned In and I literally applaud when they announce his name. Looking at Emmy: “She’s bald, too!” Amazing that he picked up the (deserved) award for a little-watched show (with less buzz than Mad Men) that didn’t even finish its first season. James Spader will be just fine.
10:41 p.m.: Tina Fey picks up best actress, comedy—not entirely deserved, frankly, as great a show as 30 Rock is (no offense, but she’s not in the same league as Mary-Louise Parker), but an undeserved award couldn’t go to a more deserving person, if that makes any sense.
10:44 p.m.: Kimmel’s reading of “judges’ comments” to the reality hosts—and kicking to a break before announcing the winner—almost redeems the choice of them as hosts. Almost. (Problem is, on a reality show, they only kick to a break before an announcement you care about.) Emmy missed an opportunity by not having them eliminated one by one over the course of the night, though.
10:48 p.m.: Cranston’s win, by the way, reminds me of Michael Chiklis‘ for the first season of The Shield. Why is Emmy more comfortable rewarding newbies in small shows in the acting categories?
10:50 p.m.: So would Kimmel have had the handwritten card with the winner’s name if it hadn’t been Probst? The right choice, by the way: Probst is not just a host but an antagonist and integral part of the game on Survivor.
10:54 p.m.: How appropriate that Tina Fey should pick up the Best Comedy award from Mary Tyler Moore.
10:56 p.m.: Best drama, Mad Men—awwww. Heart wins over head this year, and another of my cynical guesses proves, fortunately, wrong. I apologize to everyone who used my picks in their office Emmy pool, and also, I couldn’t be more glad.
10:59 p.m.: This is one broadcast that does not need a “highlights” reel.
11:04 p.m.: So—lousy awards show, pretty good awards. For this year, anyway, Emmy seems to have reconciled itself to the fact that that “cable” is not a separate entity from “TV.” While there were still a few winners coasting on reputation, Emmy voters appeared this year to actually have seen the shows and performances in their category, and to have tried to reward the best work—well, a good chunk of it, anyway—without regard to where it aired or how many people saw it.
And speaking of “how many people saw it,” I hope you had a great time tonight, watching the Cowboys-Packers game. Good night!