Two final thoughts. Full review to come on the main Variety site.
1) Good for "Modern Family." It's a true comedy. "Glee" simply isn't.
Oh, and we can all look forward to Sofia Vergara running naked down Sunset Boulevard, as the show cheekily promised in one of its Variety ads. Or Ed O'Neill. We don't discriminate.
2) “Mad Men’s” Matthew Weiner will surely irritate many of his peers after beginning
his second acceptance speech (having been played off during the first for
writing) with “So where was I?” I know what he was trying to do, but it made him look like an egomaniac.
7:39 p.m. Al Pacino speaks. He's almost begging to be played off — or, if you prefer, put out of his misery. But hey, it's the Emmys, and it's Al Pacino.
7:36 p.m. Well, that was anticlimactic — the "True Blood" gang hands out best director of a movie.
7:29 p.m. Claire Danes thanks HBO for allowing a movie like "Temple Grandin" to be made. Temple Grandin takes a second bow. And I'm starting to get a little confused about this "cast of 'True Blood'" countdown clock.
7:15 p.m. Temple Grandin takes a bow, right before Jewel's ballad tied to the necrology segment. Quick, someone make sure Al Pacino's ready to accept for "You Don't Know Jack," he probably has about five minutes.
7:09 p.m. Julia Ormond's speech for "Temple Grandin" was wild, chaotic, a little edgy, weird. And yet, I found it strangely satisfying.
7:05 p.m. Miniseries and movies. We have officially entered the HBO PORTION OF THE EVENING.
7:03 p.m. George Clooney accepts Humanitarian Award, asks "to keep the spotlight burning on these heartbreaking situations" when "bad behavior" tends to suck up so much oxygen and attention. OK, I admit it — I've got a man-crush on the guy.
6:52 p.m. Nice clip from "The Tonight Show With Conan O'Brien," but "The Daily Show" deserved it — again, though "The Colbert Report" did win earlier for writing.
6:49 p.m. Ricky Gervais shows up, tells a Mel Gibson joke and passes out beers. Can't do it justice. The guy's a riot. Bucky Gunts, who won for directing? Not so much.
6:35 p.m. Call me wacky, but I think the camera caught Conan O'Brien giving Jimmy Fallon a semi-dirty look as he introduced variety.
6:21 p.m. Holy moley, Ann-Margret still looks like a million bucks.
6:15 p.m. Bryan Cranston's three-peat is hard to argue with. "Breaking Bad" had its best season, and that's saying something. Too bad that Hugh Laurie and Jon Hamm couldn't win — they were equally deserving — but if you're going to keep calling the same name, this one makes sense.
6:11 p.m. Archie Panjabi for "The Good Wife?" Wow, a ton of first-time winners this year. "This is just amazing for my career," she say, in something that came across as more honest than usual.
6:04 p.m. Aaron Paul wins for "Breaking Bad," which is another fantastic choice. Bryan Cranston looks genuinely overjoyed during his acceptance. Seriously, did the Emmy voters take smart pills this year or something?
6:02 p.m. "Mad Men" again wins for writing, and Matthew Weiner graciously lets co-writer Erin Levy speak first. That's an improvement — until he gets played off. My guess is he didn't see that coming, but like, dude, you're a writer.
6 p.m. Great line from the writers about the stars of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" saving the 10 p.m. timeslot at NBC. Doubtless played better in the room, but still clever.
5:50 p.m. "Top Chef" ends "The Amazing Race's" nobody-else-has-ever-won dominance of the reality competition category. I see producer Don Mischer backstage and have a sense they're already worried this thing is running long.
5:46 p.m. "I'm not funny," says Edie Falco, explaining the problem with "Nurse Jackie" being nominated as a comedy.
5:43 p.m. A gay friend texts me and asks if everyone at the Emmys is gay. Knowing the answer he wants to here, I tell him yes.
5:38 p.m. Jim Parsons wins for "The Big Bang Theory," in what is surely the most-deserved award of the night. So far, the voters have done a really fine job — and spread the wealth around, with a lot of big awards to the broadcast networks, reflecting their comedic resurgence. Of course, that all goes away when "The Pacific" shows up, but for now, it's a good night for the TV academy.
5:34 p.m. Ryan Murphy wins for directing the "Glee" pilot. It's a two-horse race tonight, pitting 20th Century Fox Television's two newbies against each other. And he puts in a pitch for arts education.
5:24 p.m. The most foregone conclusion of the night — Jane Lynch for "Glee." Another good acceptance speech. So far, the award gods are smiling.
5:20 p.m. "Modern Family" wins for writing. I see a trend here. The taciturn Christopher Lloyd lets Steven Levitan accept for both of them. He thanks Steve McPherson and "everybody still at ABC." Funny stuff.
5:13 p.m. Eric Stonestreet wins for "Modern Family." Great choice (though I'd have loved Ty Burrell too), bodes well for the evening. His speech — emotionally thanking his parents — gets the whole thing off to a terrific start.
5:06 p.m. "Glee"-inspired "Born to Run" number the best opening in years. And pretty brilliant to get the Conan joke out of the way early.
4:56 p.m. Fashion breakdown and countdown clock begin. They trash January Jones' dress. Those are fightin' words.
4:51 p.m. It's Lea Michele's 24th birthday. Bush gives her a cupcake.
4:48 p.m. Sofia Vergara. Bush shows the Variety ad where they say she'll run naked down Sunset Boulevard if the show wins. "You know a lot of people would like to see you naked," Bush said. Is there an HR exec on this telecast?
4:46 p.m. Geez, how much time is gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman going to buy tonight?
4:43 p.m. "You're a very handsome man," Bush tells Jon Hamm. Yes, it's a little uncomfortable.
4:41 p.m. Maria Menounos talks to Wanda Sykes. The questions are inane — but not as bad as the awkward on-air introduction to "Modern Family's" Ty Burrell. For some reason, I keep picturing Menounos in "Fantastic Four." "It's getting crazy in here," she says, with no evidence of that.
4:36 p.m. Matthew Morrison from "Glee," and an auditorium of screaming high-school students. Is it just me, or is there a decided shortage of CBS talent so far?
4:26 p.m. "Glee's" Chris Colfer wonderfully poised and well spoken while speaking with Billy Bush. Nate Berkus asks Carrie Ann Inaba what her bathroom floor looks like. Suddenly wishing I hadn't had that burger for lunch.
4:18 p.m. January Jones cures Berkus problem. Looking at her, I can't here a word he's saying.
4:11 p.m. Billy Bush quotes my column — regarding Brandon Tartikoff — while interviewing Glenn Close. I take back every nasty thing I've ever said about him. Nah, not really.
4:09 p.m. Nake Berkus managing to make Billy Bush look like Mike Wallace. Tells Jane Krakowski "not to put that out in the universe." Makes me wish he was on another planet right now.
4:03 p.m. Billy Bush interviews Betty White. "Keep up the good work," she tells him. God bless ya, Betty.
4:02 p.m. Ryan Seacrest thanks Tina Fey for her "brain matter" and stares down Christina Hendricks' cleavage. Enough's enough, feeling dumber already. Switching over to NBC's preshow.
Say a prayer for me, folks. I always feel a bit eavage. dumber after watching these preshows.