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Sunday September 21, 2008 9:21 pm

The 60th Primetime Emmy Awards

60th Primetime Emmy Awards logo

Even though the previous television season was marred by the annoying writers’ strike, I find myself really excited for the . Not only will this ceremony give us a chance to start anew, it’ll be the academy’s chance to celebrate what’s new.

Tonight, two basic cable shows (Damages, Mad Men) will get a chance to win for Outstanding Drama Series. (That would be an Emmy first.) Meanwhile, nominees in several categories will have an opportunity to compete in a Sopranos-less environment. An added bonus? A new category. This year, reality show hosts will finally be acknowledged for their programming contributions as well.

So who won? Who lost? Who ran up and grabbed the award even though they didn’t win? Read our West Coast play-by-play account of this evening’s telecast and find out!

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Academy of Television Arts & Sciences

  • 8:01pm:  Oprah Winfrey - the first person on stage - takes almost 3 minutes to get to the point. (I’m still not even sure what that was.) She eventually tosses to the night’s five hosts.
  • 8:04pm: Confusing banter starts off the show. (Was Ryan Seacrest’s solo gig last year actually better than this?) Not sure whether to think the bickering is funny…or uncomfortably awkward. Jeff Probst and Howie Mandel annoyingly dominate the conversation while Heidi Klum (sporting a tux like the rest of the men) and Tom Bergon look like they want to leave.
  • 8:07pm: Bergeron and William Shatner have now stripped Klum of her clothes. I believe the show - in only 7 minutes - has hit a new low.
  • 8:08pm:  Tina Fey and Amy Poehler (looking bigger than she did just this Saturday) make us miss their rapport on SNL. They then present the Outstanding Supporting Actor (Comedy) statue to Jeremy Piven (Entourage). While I love the show, I’m actually a bit disappointed about his third win in a row. (Sorry, Neil!)
  • 8:17pm:  A montage about “nothing.” Great.
  • 8:18pm: Julia Louis-Dreyfus presents the award for Outstanding Supporting Actress (Comedy) to Jean Smart (Samantha Who?). I’m surprised and thrilled for her win. Could there be more unexpected announcements to come?
  • 8:27pm:  The women of Desperate Housewives jointly present the nominees for Outstanding Supporting Actor (Drama). Basic cable gets its first shout-out for the evening when Zeljko Ivanek (Damages) performs another upset.
  • 8:30pm:  Ricky Gervais talks about the award he wasn’t around to accept last year…and in only 30 seconds, shows why he so deserved to win it. He then tells Steve Carell - before threatening him to tickle him for his stolen Emmy - that he made him what he is today.
  • 8:41pm:  Conan O’Brien says Katherine Heigl didn’t think his monologue was Emmy-worthy. Ouch! He then presents the award for Outstanding Supporting Actress (Drama) to an absent Dianne Wiest (In Treatment).
  • 8:44pm:  Jennifer Love Hewitt (who looks like she’s wearing a wig) and Hayden Panettiere are on stage to announce the nominees for Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program. (Coincidentally, the same category Hewitt did last year.) The team behind The Colbert Report wins.
  • 9:01pm:  While I really hate the thought of a time-wasting theme song medley, Josh Groban’s performance was amazing. I knew he was talented, but who knew he could convincingly pull off The Simpsons, South Park, Cops and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air in quick succession?
  • 9:06pm:  Alec Baldwin presents the award for Outstanding Lead Actress (Miniseries or Movie) to Laura Linney (John Adams). I feel a strong urge to brush her hair and apply some makeup.
  • 9:17pm: After fast-forwarding through a tribute to Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In (I hate tributes!!), I see The Daily Show with Jon Stewart crew with the award for Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series.
  • 9:19pm:  Lauren Conrad for some reason gets an invite to the show and a chance to present the nominees for Outstanding Guest Actor and Actress (Comedy) with David Boreanez. Tim Conway (30 Rock) and Kathryn Joosten (Desperate Housewives) are the winners.
  • 9:21pm:  The award for Outstanding Directing (Comedy) goes to Barry Sonnenfeld (Pushing Daisies). Makes me wonder how the show missed being nominated for Best Series as well.
  • 9:23pm:  A sexy Tina Fey (30 Rock) wins the award for Outstanding Writing (Comedy). Let’s just give her a statue for her impersonation of Sarah Palin while we’re at it.
  • 9:35pm:  Christian Slater and a stunning Christina Applegate take the stage. They present the statue for Outstanding Made for Television Movie to Recount.
  • 9:42pm: CSI’s William Petersen and Laurence Fishburne unintentionally bring a very serious tone to the show. (Could they crack a smile?) They then present the award for Outstanding Supporting Actor (Miniseries or Movie) to an absent Tom Wilkinson (John Adams). Methinks that program will clean up tonight.
  • 9:44pm:  Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart hand the award for Outstanding Directing for a a Miniseries, Movie or Dramatic Special to Jay Roache (Recount).
  • 9:47pm:  The statue for Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or Dramatic Special now goes to Kirk Ellis (John Adams).
  • 9:54pm:  Sandra Oh (in a gorgeous black dress) and Patrick Dempsey present the award for Outstanding Supporting Actress (Miniseries or Movie) to an absent Eileen Atkins (Cranford). At least I won’t feel so bad for not knowing who Atkins is.
  • 9:47pm:  The statue for Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or Dramatic Special now goes to Kirk Ellis (John Adams).
  • 9:54pm:  Sandra Oh (in a gorgeous black dress) and Patrick Dempsey present the award for Outstanding Supporting Actress (Miniseries or Movie) to an absent Eileen Atkins (Cranford). At least I won’t feel so bad for not knowing who Atkins is.
  • 9:56pm:  Kathy Griffin (with dreadful extensions) and an attention-hungry Don Rickles present the statue for Outstanding Reality Competition to The Amazing Race.
  • 10:01pm:  Sally Field hands the award for Outstanding Miniseries to the producers of John Adams.
  • 10:08pm:  Kristin Chenoweth and a towering Neil Patrick Harris give the statue for Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program to Don Rickles (Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project). The Emmy producers are now trying to figure out where else to cut time.
  • 10:12pm:  Kate Walsh (with a nice, sleek ‘do) and Wayne Brady announce the nominees for Outstanding Guest Actor and Actress (Drama). The winners were Glynn Turman (In Treatment) and Cynthia Nixon (Law & Order: SVU).
  • 10:13pm:  The statue for Outstanding Directing (Drama) goes to Greg Yaitanes (House).
  • 10:15pm:  The award for Outstanding Writing (Drama) is given to Matthew Weiner (Mad Men).
  • 10:22pm:  Glenn Close (looking like a gypsy) presents the award for Outstanding Lead Actor (Miniseries or Movie) to Paul Giamatti (John Adams). Paul then jokes that he is proof that anybody can play the President. Nice.
  • 10:24pm:  Candice Bergen announces the nominees for Outstanding Lead Actor (Comedy). Alec Baldwin (30 Rock) gets his very first Emmy statue. It’ll go quite nicely on his shelf next to his new book.
  • 10:27pm:  America Ferrera and Vanessa Williams work around a difficult mike to present the award for Outstanding Lead Actress (Drama). Glenn Close (Damages) grabs another acting win for her fantastic FX show.
  • 10:38pm:  Kiefer Sutherland quickly presents the statue for Outstanding Lead Actor (Drama) to Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad). Omigawd!!! Amazing!!!! I love that show!!! Another win for basic cable!!!
  • 10:40pm:  Brooke Shields and Craig Ferguson give the award for Outstanding Lead Actress (Comedy) to Tina Fey (30 Rock). If she’s not this year’s It Girl, I don’t know who is.
  • 10:43pm:  Jimmy Kimmel gears up to announce the very first award for Outstanding Host (Reality/Reality Competition Show). Unfortunately, the nominees are forced to endure a commercial break before the name is revealed. Priceless. Jeff Probst (Survivor) is eventually saved from elimination and handed the statue.
  • 10:51pm:  Mary Tyler Moore (looking like a very fit Jane Fonda) and Betty White present the award for Outstanding Comedy Series. After 30 Rock wins for the second year in a row, Fey smartly does her best to promote her ratings-starved program.
  • 10:55pm:  Tom Selleck (why??) gets his chance to announce the winner for Outstanding Drama Series. This telecast could not have ended on a better note. Winner: Mad Men.  Once again – hooray for basic cable!!

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