It wouldn’t be Emmy noms morning without running into a sleepy Mike Darnell, Fox’s exec vp and guru of Mikeandcarolyn_2 all things alternative and specials, and his super-nice wife Carolyn (pictured right on the Emmy red carpet in 2005), who works as an awards consultant to HBO and Fox, among others. Mike staked out his usual spot on the stairs in the lobby of the Leonard H. Goldenson Theater where all the hubbub goes on at 5:40 a.m. “I can’t believe we’re here,” Mike chuckled as he slouched against a huge planter. “We look pretty good for this time of the morning, don’t you think?” He had an omelet-looking item on a paper plate next to him but he didn’t seem to be hungry. Carolyn noted that this year makes it an even 20 years that she’s been rising before dawn from their home in Calabasas to take in the Emmy noms announcement.

Mike was happy, of course, to see “American Idol” in the running for reality series though it will once again face four-time winner “Amazing Race.” He was disappointed for “So You Think You Can Dance” (especially with ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” nabbing a series nom alongside “Idol,” “Race,” “Project Runway” and “Top Chef”) but hey, at least it’s a contender for choreography.

As I kept running around the theater lobby trying to find a spot that would grant me four precious green bars indicating a WiFi connection (no such luck), I also did my best to drag details of the Sept. 16 Emmy telecast out of Mike, who is overseeing the show for Fox. The big question is, who’s going to host?

Fox is always in something of a bind when it gets its quadrennial Emmycast because it doesn’t have too many host-type talents a la the other nets. Ryan Seacrest? Jeff Foxworthy? Wayne Brady? who’s now on Fox’s air as host of “Don’t Forget the Lyrics.” “House” star Hugh Laurie would also be a good choice — he’s nominated this year (after inexplicably being left out last year) and so is the show, and Laurie’s very much on record as being a funny guy from his “Bit of Fry and Laurie” days in Britain. Mike smiled and shuffled his cowboy boots a little but wasn’t about to give me any insights on the host, but he did drop a big hint that the Emmycast set is getting an extreme makeover and will look very different this year.

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