8 p.m. ET
A white-tuxedo-clad Neil Patrick Harris gets up on stage and goes right into a musical number — sharp contrast to last year’s failed gag featuring reality hosts. Chorus to Harris’ tune: “Whatever you do, put down the remoooote!”
Emmy producers and CBS certainly hope someone listens this year.
Musical act complete, Harris goes into monologue, lamenting the loss of the traditional TV show theme song, playing the brief intro to “Lost.”
“Last time there were a bunch of people stranded on an island, there was a song to go with it, and dogonit, it was awesome,” he says, sounding a little bit like his Barney character on “How I Met Your Mother.”
It’s my job to make things go smoothly,” Harris adds. “Here’s hoping Kanye West likes ’30 Rock.’”
Tina Fey and Jon Hamm come out to present best supporting comedy actress.
“I learned that comedy is like drama, only with less smoking,” notes Hamm, remarking on his “30 Rock” guest spot this year (yep, he’s nominated for that, too).
“And I learned that kissing a guy who looks like Don Draper will make you sweat through your lady blazer,” added Fey.
Kristen Chenoweth wins for “Pushing Daisies” — big surprise, considering ABC cancelled it. She’s crying her eyes out — but managing to do some lighthearted business development too. “I’m unemployed now, so I’d like to be on ‘Mad Men.’ I also like ‘The Office’ and ’24,’ ” she says… “And thanks to the Academy for honoring a show that’s no longer on the air.”
The human PC, John Hodgeman, on hand for a failed riff with Harris.
Harris brings out his “How I Met Your Mother” co-stars — Jason Segal, Josh Radnor, Coby Smulders and Alyson Hannigan — to present outstanding writing for a comedy series.
Emmy goes to — no surprise — “30 Rock.” The show has four out of the category’s five noms (HBO’s “Flight of the Conchords” has the other). Matt Hubbard collects the trophy.
Julia Louis Dreyfuss is up with Amy Pohler next to present comedy supporting actor. “Amy and I are honored to be presenting outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series in the last official year of network television,” she quips.
Jon Cryer wins it for “Two and a Half Men.” Bit of a surprise since the show has been ignored by the Academy for so long (Charlie Sheen hasn’t won in four nominations).
Cryer says he used to not think awards were important. “Now I think they’re the true measure of a human being,” he notes.
Sends a shout-out to Sheen. “He needs one of these.”
Justin Timberlake tries to keep a straight face while introducing the lead actress in a comedy series noms — Sarah Silverman is wearing a funny mustache and making that hard.
A surprise, because Showtime always gets nominated… but never wins.
Toni Collette for “United States of Tara.”
“This is insanely confronting,” says the Brit thesp.
Back on stage, Harris has a question for Cryer – who beat him out for comedy series actor just a few minutes ago. Cryer is back in the press room.
“Of course he is,” Harris says. “That’s where you go when you win. How did it feel when they called your name, Jon?
Cryer: “It felt awesome. Words that kept going through my head were ‘In your face Neil Patrick Harris.’”
Moving on… Tina Fey is going to need help to her car tonight. She just won for comedy guest actress for her playing Sarah Palin last fall on “Saturday Night Live.” The night’s young… and we really haven’t even gotten to the “30 Rock” awards.
But “30 Rock” won’t win every comedy-series trophy…
“The Office’s” Jeff Blitz wins for comedy series direction.
Rob Lowe is out to present comedy lead actor, riffing on a failed pilot he did several years back.
“For those of you wondering why someone from “The West Wing” would be presenting best actor in a comedy series you may have forgotten a little series I did called ‘Dr. Vegas.’ If anybody needs any career advice, I’m your guy.”
As for the trophy… Yup…Alec Baldwin for “30 Rock.” [Watch full episodes of '30 Rock' here.]
“I’d trade this to look like him, I’ll be honest with you,” Baldwin remarks while greeting Lowe.
Baldwin calls Lorne Michaels “the greatest boss you could ever have. He has believed in me for all these years.”
After his poorly received joint-hosting venture for the Emmys last year, Probst gives a bit of love to this year’s emcee.
“Neil Patrick Harris, this is how you host the Emmys – nice job,” he says.
Another Emmy telecast, another reality competition trophy for CBS’ “The Amazing Race,” which has won all seven years of the category’s existence.
Can it still be a thrill for Bertram Van Munster? “I’m really speechless, the “Amazing Race” creator and exec producer says.
Quips Harris: “Congratulations guys, unbelievable… upsets at every turn.”
Now it’s time for HBO to justify that pricey party it throws at the Pacific Design Center every year – longform trophies are up next.
The husband and wife team of Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick come out to intro supporting actress in a movie or mini (winner is Shohreh Aghdashloo for HBO’s “House of Saddam”) and supporting actor in a movie or mini (Ken Howard for HBO’s “Grey Gardens”)
“Private Practice” co-stars Kate Walsh and Chandra Wilson (not as tall) come out to present the Emmy for lead actor in a mini or movie.
“You said you were going to wear flats,” Wilson says.
No. three for the night for HBO.
Emmy goes to Brendan Gleeson for playing Winston Churchill’s “Into the Storm.”
Thanks producer Frank Doelger, for letting his mom and dad see a rough cut of the film before his mother died.
As for lead longform actress, HBO can’t win them all… Derbhla Walsh wins for PBS’ “Little Dorrit…
Alec Baldwin strides back on stage to introduce lead mini or movie actress. The winner: Jessica Lange for HBO’s “Grey Gardens.” An Oscar winner in 1995 for “Blue Sky,” this is her first Emmy.
“Grey Gardens” for movie… “Little Dorrit” wins the mini trophy.
“Big Bang Theory’s” Johnny Galekci, Jim Parsons and Kaley Cuoco on hand to present directing in a comedy, musical or variety program. Bruce Gowers wins for “American Idol” wins it.
Backstory: Gowers is the guy who directed “Queen’s” Bohemian Rhapsody” video more than three decades ago.
The “Big Bang” trio also introducing variety, musical comedy writing – a realm dominated by “The Daily Show” in recent years.
Funny Conan bit during the nominee intros: He’s seen clicking “ignore” in Facebook as each of his writers are introduced in friend-request format.
Yup, it’s “Daily Show” again… but host Stewart is back in New York and not available to pick up the trophy.
Ricky Gervais is out to present variety, musical or comedy series.
“The thing about the Oscars and the Golden Globes, they’ve got film stars with their jaw lines and good looks, making me feel bad, but in this room… I’m probably above average,” Gervais quips, before targeting the stars of the American version of “The Office” (for which he serves as co-creator and exec producer) “Yeah, definitely. Here, Steve Carrell is considered handsome. But Rainn Wilson, we’ve got to be honest, he’s weird, even here.”
Gervais then makes a an inside-baseball joke about TV syndication… that turns into a joke about the Emmys recently bad TV ratings. “That joke is for the 5,000 people in this room, not the 5,000 at home watching,” he says.
As for the trophy, the “Daily Show” wins it… again. Wait, check that. Jon Stewart is here… and giving props to Harris. “Both of these have been to a lot of these, and they usually suck,” he says.
LL Cool J and Chris O’Donnell give the drama series supporting actor trophy to “Lost’s” Michael Emerson.
It’s Emerson’s first win after two previous nominations for the role. It’s his second Emmy – he won for guest-starring on “The Practice” back in 2001.
“I feel like I flew out to do a guest spot in Hawaii four years ago, and I’m still there,” he remarks.
Cherri Jones of “24” gets the drama series supporting actress win.
She devotes the trophy to her “sweet colleagues in Chatsworth,” who are back on the set of her show. Apparently, it will be back to work on Monday. “This (trophy) will be on the crafts services table tomorrow,” she says.
Next up, the annual tribute to TV luminaries who have passed away in the last year, set to a moving performance by Sara McLachlan of “I Will Remember You.
Rendition ends with clips of Farrah Fawcett and Walter Cronkite.
He couldn’t buy an Emmy when he was on “Malcolm in the Middle,” but Bryan Cranston wins for the second year in a row for AMC’s “Breaking Bad.”
“(Golfer) Lee Travino was struck by lightning twice, now I know how he feels,” Cranston says. “I’m so thankful for so many things. I’m thankful that Glenn Close is a woman… I’m a poor kid from the Valley, I don’t know what I’m doing up here. I feel like ‘Cinderfella.’”
And now, the big ones.
Bob Newhart is the presenter of the comedy series trophy. “Tina Fey and I had a bet,” he says. If she won, she’d give me a big kiss like Halle Berry did for Adrien Brody at the Oscars. And if she didn’t win, I would continue to honor the restraining order.”
Of course, Fey is up (no kiss).
“Whew,” she says. “That was a nail-biter.
She also thanks NBC chair Jeff Zucker for keeping her show on the air, even though “we are so much more expensive for a talk show.”
OK, zero surprise again for best drama – “Mad Men” gets it for the second straight year.
“What an incredible year,” Weiner says. “The election, then this.”
He adds: “We worked very hard to not have this show suck in its second year.”
Harris wraps it all up nice and quick: “May the winners enjoy their Emmys, may the nominees hold their head high, and may we see you again next year on broadcast television.”