By Quendrith Johnson
On Saturday, Sept. 13, Round One of Emmy Week kicked off with the Creative Arts Emmys. You know how the Oscars have the Technical category? Well, this is the Emmy’s nod to TV people who work behind the scenes and work in categories of series/shows other than those in the Primetime slots. Next week, Sept. 21, the Primetime Emmys air on ABC.
The Creative Emmys drew some major talent this year, including Tom Hanks, who was wearing his producer hat for John Adams (on HBO with Paul Giamatti), Seth Green for Robot Chicken, Chloe Sevigny and Valerie Bertinelli as presenters, Tim Conway, James Gandolfini, Kathy Griffin, Sharon Gless and her legions of fans, Joe Mantagne as presenter, the goth duo from Amazing Race, Young & Restless icon Kate Linder, and many below the line folks who’d flown in from England and points all over the globe for this industry lauding event.
Security was insanely multi-layered because of Tom Hanks and company. The LAPD even had its own video crew on the red carpet, just in case any journos got out of line. All the big media outlets endured the shouting crowd; ET Canada had a knipshin on the carpet and later had to make nice in the press room. Who knew the Canadians had tempers? For the most part, we media folks behaved ourselves despite three hours in the blazing sun on the red carpet dressed in our best black tie wear.
Sarah Chalke with co-commentator Neil Patrick Harris (both from How I Met Your Mother), warmed up the crowd once inside. The very brightly colored and lit in-the-round auditorium inside the Nokia theater practically sparkled with talent, and the announcer warned award-winners on a closed channel before the show: “you don’t have to lean into these mikes, or adjust them, unless you’re a rock star.”
While all this was happening, Fancast had a prime behind-the-scenes spot, so without further adieu, check out our exclusive coverage of the 2008 Creative Emmys:
BEFORE THE SHOW:
KATHY GRIFFIN on the red carpet, nominated for two Emmy’s, assumed she wouldn’t win anything because “I won one last year. And look who’s in one of the categories… (the departed but never-late great George Carlin), so you tell me who is going to win! I know I look great. Yeah, a lot of people don’t know how beautiful I am in person, you’re right. Seriously! It shocks them the first time.”
MIKE ROWE, the writer/producer of DIRTY JOBS on the Discovery channel was in a chatty mood as a nominee; he revealed that “I actually came up with this (show) for my grandfather. He was in World War I; he had all kinds of jobs. He used to tell me about ‘the jobs that built America. That made this country great.’ So I shot it myself, I never expected it to get picked up. And here we are on the Discovery Channel. Most of the show ideas now come from viewers, would you believe. People tell us what they want to see — so I guess it’s working!”
SHARON GLESS glided along in a white pantsuit, telling us “oh I love the Emmy’s. You know you could not do a show today like we did back then (Cagney & Lacy), with two female leads. We just had a ball, doing our thing. But we never directed an episode, either one of us. We were like the only people on TV who never directed an episode! We just did the acting. It was the chemistry, and the times, to be honest. I still get letters from (fans) about that show. It was tremendous. Now I’m on Burn Notice, and I love it. I play Jeffrey Donovan’s alcoholic mother, it is hilarious! Such fun. Let’s hope we get a new administration and times change, for the better, I had to say that, I know, it’s political, but I had to say it!”
JOE MANTAGNE, a presenter for the show, said “look, I happen to know a little something about David Mamet, so what’s your question? He’s a great writer, yeah. I know he wrote that speech in The Verdict (for Paul Newman); he wrote the whole thing (screenplay). No, look David Mamet is incredible, (among) the highlights of my (movie) career, working with him. House of Game (with Lindsay Crouse, Mamet’s ex). Now RedBelt (as Jerry Weiss in this karate-related picture), that’s his. He’s a genius, what can you say? See RedBelt; it’s out.”
JAMES “never stops on the red carpet” GANDOLFINI said “hi” waved while steamrolling his way down the carpet. Not sure where the bride was, probably flagging 50 yards behind his Zamboni-run through the press line.
Another James, JAMES LIPTON of Inside the Actor’s Studio, found himself spending time with us on the red carpet during a lull in the line, “my most revealing, or shocking if you will, moment (on the show) was when Jack Lemmon admitted to me that he was an alcoholic. Said it, right on the show. You couldn’t see it in his work, all those years, but he struggled might-ily with it. I had asked him a very innocent question about preparing for the role in Days of Wine & Roses (1962, Lemmon played Alcoholic Joe Clay who gets girlfriend Lee Remick to become a drunk with him). He was a phenomenal actor.”
SETH GREEN told us “we’re so not going to win in our category, look who’s in it! The Simpsons. Anyway, George Lucas did the voice on our Robot Chicken Star Wars episode — it was so cool. We got to go up to the (ILM) Ranch in San Rafael and everything. He’s cool. But I’m presenting tonight, which is cool too, even if we don’t win. It’s fun anyway.”
Thin and beautiful VALERIE BERTINELLI was very gracious “oh, my favorite TV shows?! Uhm. Can I get back to you on that?! I’m not a nominee! You didn’t flub, don’t worry, but I’m presenting tonight for animation. I’m just glad to be here. I love the Emmy’s!”
KATE LINDER, a maid on Young & The Restless but on the Board of Governor’s for the Emmy’s in real life (that’s how TV works), was decked out in a gorgeous beaded front halter azure blue full length ball gown and said Eva Longoria — “no, Eva Longoria Parker now, has to be my favorite (actor who made good) from the show. She used to be on it, you know. And you asked me about my favorite TV shows, what was that one with Kristy McNichol in it, she played Buddy. What was the name of it? Oh. Family. That’s right. I loved Family.”
CHLOE SEVIGNY said “I gotta go in” and bailed — in a very tasteful short puffy hem-lined dress.
SARAH SILVERMAN power-waltzed by on the other side of the red carpet, being a smart media savvy lady. “What am I wearing? I DON’T KNOW!” and in.
DURING THE SHOW:
TOM HANKS drummed the show’s theme: “178 million cans of soda, less than half recycled, not even counting the beer… (Let’s) make our carbon footprint a few sizes smaller. (And tap the) planet’s amazing capacity to heal itself!”
JENNIFER BEALS did a quick graceful “Hi” right before going on stage in a breath-taking emerald green backless satin ball gown. (She can still Flashdance, ps.)
IRA GLASS wrapped his acceptance speech for This American Life from Chicago Public Radio that somehow became a TV show with, after all those years in obscurity, “to have an award our parents have heard of” is weird.
TIM CONWAY, in his Tim Con-way, made sure to accidentally impale himself with the “human fork” — his shorthand for the three-pronged Emmy statuette.
AFTER THE SHOW:
KATHRYN JOOSTEN (WINNER), DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES said “Lily Tomlin is going to come on the show this year as my sister — my ‘older’ — sister! I did Murphy Brown in a scene with Lily. She was delighted; we talked about it for the last six months or so — I said, G-d you gotta come on the show. I went to Mark Cherry. It was arranged.” (What’s next on the show?) “Well Eva’s roped up a little bit (points at her plumped rear), and has two kids who need a diet.”
DAVID HASLINGDEN, CEO National Geographic Channels, who won the 2008 Governor’s Award from the Emmy folks, pointed out that “even Rupert Murdoch has a line item” showing his progress on becoming eco-friendly, and “we have a website, Preserveourplanet.com, where you can get information.” (Hint, hint.)
KATHY GRIFFIN (WINNER) had to eat her words about losing tonight, which tasted like victory, after she picked up hardware for The D-List: “I am so not going to say anybody sucks this time!” (See the rest of our exclusive interview on Fancast.)
ASHLEY TISDALE put on eye glasses (like she’s 80!) and shot holes in Kathy Griffin’s prediction that the late great reprobate George Carlin would win… but we can’t tell you who all does win, or the Emmy people will hunt us down and unplug our server… stay tuned 9/20 on E!