Backstage with the cast of “Roots”

They came back here and I had to know, what did they think of this year’s crop of nominees in the miniseries category?
Ben Vereen turned the question around and said to me: “What do YOU think?”
I didn’t say. Thankfully, they had taken the mic away from me by then.
They paid tribute to Alex Haley who wrote “Roots” based on his own family history.
This is what I found sad: while Mischa Barton works in film after film, the great Cicely Tyson told us: “I’m looking for a job! I feel like Bette Davis who put an ad in the newspaper…do you remember that? I’m presently unemployed – for most of my career I’ve been unemployed.”
She laughed when she said that. But this great actress, an Emmy winner and former Oscar nominee, still looks great and has that incredible voice.
Somebody hire this woman!

Funny moment: Tyson emphatically proclaimed that “Roots” was the first mini-series – ever. Burton tried to correct her by mentioning 1975′s “Rich Man, Poor Man,” but she would not budge. She was Miss Jane Pittman after all. But, I think she was wrong on this count.
Uggams seemed to sum it all best: “Alex Haley’s writing, i have yet to see anything that tops it.”

Jersey Boys pay tribute to “The Sopranos”

Nice.
The audience is being treated to a medley of Four Seasons songs by the cast of the Tony-winning Broadway show “Jersey Boys” as they show clips from the show. Just an inspiring idea.
Now, the ENTIRE cast of the show has walked out and are getting the night’s first standing ovation. They weren’t presenting or anything…just stood there and basked in the ovation.
I think I’m gonna cry.

“Daily Show with Jon Stewart” wins! So does Tony Bennett and Judy Davis…

This wasn’t too hard to predict…
OK, Jon Stewart was juat getting warmed up and the damned orchestra started playing. OK, I know ya gotta stay on schedule but… Let. The. Man. Speak!

“Tony Bennett: An American Classic” just won for outstanding variety or comedy special.
I love what Bennett’s son, who produced, said: “Dad, because of you, I’m going to be reaching for the moon for the rest of my life.”
Then the orchestra starts to play as Tony himself takes the mic but for him, they stop. So what did he say? He just wanted to introduce his wife in the audience!
Well, when you’re an 80-year-old national treasure, you can do things like that.

I’ve made fun of “The Starter Wife” tonight but really, it’s biggest saving grace was the performance of Judy Davis who elevates anything she is in. She won best supporting actress in a miniseries or movie. Presenter Marcia Cross said to the audience: “She’s not walking down te aisle.”
Davis did not show up. Probably home in Australia.
I suggest you rent “The Ref” if you want to see one of the best performances by Judy Davis and I also loved her in “A Cooler Climate” opposite Sally Field.

Cast of “Roots” reunites to present Emmy…

Wow.
Out just walked John Amos. Louis Gosset Jr., Ed Asner, Cicely Tyson, Ben Vereen, Ivar Burton and Leslie Uggams. Wow! They starred in “Roots” 30 years ago and all look and sound great after all these years. It was classic TV that aired for eight nights in a row on ABC and had more than 60 percent of the TV audience.
Said Amos: “Let us all work to honor the legacy of ‘Roots’ not just tonight but in all that we do.”
“Roots” won many well-deserved Emmys including outstanding miniseires.
This year? Among the nominees in the miniseries category this year is the fluff: “The Starter Wife.”
Egads.
Well, at least “Broken Trail” won the award.

Robert Duvall now has an Emmy to go along with his Oscar…

A week ago tonight, Robert Duvall and I chatted outside a pre-Emy party honoring nominated producers. He told me that, yes, he did want to win. He hadn’t won anything in a long time. Well, he just WON best actor in a miniseries of movie for the Western “Broken Trail.”
He told the audience that “I knew it was going to be a hit” and that “the western is here to stay.”
He’s made some dandies from “Lonesome Dove” to “Open Range.”
This is cool.
Duvall, about to be p;layed off-stage by the orchestra, added: “I’m very proud to be an actor in this business.”

Christina is the anti-Britney in duet with Tony Bennett…

There have been all kinds of rumors for days that Britney Spears was going to appear on the Emmy telecast to apologize for her horrendous performance at the VMAs a week ago. I doubt it will happen because, well, it’s a stupid idea!
Meanwhile, we see the way things could have gone for Spears in the performance tonight of her former “Mickey Mouse Club” cast member Christina Aguilera who was lovely and in wonderful voice in a duet of “Steppin’ Out With My Baby” with the amazing Tony Bennett.
It’s called being a professional.

Emmy moments and winners..

A well-deserved tribute to the late Tom Snyder was very, very well-done. Perfect….

…Ryan Seacrest is paying tribute to TV actresses and starts with Sally Field “from ‘Gidget’ to ‘The Flying Nun’ and now to ‘Brothers & Sisters.’” Ryan didn’t mention to two Oscars, the two previous Emmy wns for “Sybil” and “ER,” and the classic performance in “Steel Magnolias.”
I think Sally should be able to leave “Gidget” behind…it’s been more than 40 YEARS!

Supporting actress in a drama series presented by the “Entourage” men and the lovely Eva Longoria…The winner is “Grey’s Anatomy” star KATHERINE HEIGEL: “My own mother told me I didn’t have a shot in hell tonight…but he’s a really big supporter. She does love me.”
She pays tribue to fellow nominees and co-stars Sandra Oh and Chandra Wilson. Wilson is blowing kisses to her and seems to mean it…Oh is smiling through gritted teeth (kidding).
“This is my dream come true.”
Mom cries when Katherine says: “This is for you…this is BECAUSE of you.”
Good daughter…

Early Emmy winners…

Jeremy Piven wins his second Emmy in a row for “Entourage.” He’s a funny dude: “I’m having the time of my life…I want to thank our entire crew..I don’t know any of their names.”
The supporting actor in a comedy series winner got choked up at the end when he kissed the trophy and thanked his late father: “I love him and I miss him and I do it for him.”

Terry O’Quinn just won the supporting actor/drama Emmy for “Lost.” I haven’t watched it much since season one but I know that he is solid year after year. But I wanted T.R. Knight to win…Maybe next year. BTW, I don’t think it was too cool for a joke about Isaiah Washington to be made during the opening number and have FOX pan right to T.R. This is his first Emmy nomination, a big night for him. It was exploitive.

As I predicted, Jamie Pressly just won for supporting actress in a comedy for “My Name is Earl.” The speech is pretty so-so (she’s nervous) but the hair looks fab. Se thanks her hubby and chokes up when she mentions their baby son.
Excuse me, I gotta go find a kleenex…

Wow! Thomas Haden Church has just won for “Broken Trail” !!! He lost the Oscar for “Sideways” a few weeks back but now he’s got a big trophy and he was Sandman in “Spiderman 3.” Life is good for Church. But apparently he’s having trouble with his tux: “Jumped out of limousine to pee, Pants immediatley not fitting.”
Not sure what happened there but it sounds scary…

The Emmy telecast begins…

Am I watching “American Idol” right now?
Nope, it’s the Emmys and Ryan Seacrest is up there naming all the past hosts like Carson, Conan, Ellen etc. “Sure, they were hilarious, if that’s what you’re into. But would any of them shown up four hours early to host the Emmy pre-show.”

Now he’s mingling with the crowd, and says to Teri Hatcher, who he allegedly dated for about five minutes: “Hello Teri…” She looks mortified. I would too if I had dated Ryan Seacrest!
(Ouch! Was that my out loud voice?)

OK, the first award is being presented and Ray Romano is at the podium. He’s got a gold/yellow tie on. He tooks good. He mentions that “Frasier is screwing my wife.” He means Kelsey Grammer who is starring in the FOX sitcom “Back to You” opposite his former TV wife Patricia Heaton. “Patty how could you? We have TV children?” “Brad Garrett has his own show and Doris Roberts thinks our show is still on the air.”
Ray doing almost an entire routine which I guess that makes up for Seacrest’s lack of joke telling skills…

It’s in a theater in the round and all the various casts are sitting together. Ryan is