Sheen keeps quipsters sharp

As the temperature on the red carpet hit about 120 degrees Sunday afternoon, the swarms came. Everywhere you looked, there was a cast member from “Friday Night Lights,” “Glee,” “Modern Family,” “Boardwalk Empire” or “Game of Thrones.”

TV’s trend of expansive ensemble casts was vividly illustrated outside the Nokia Theater as groups of thesps as big as baseball teams walked the carpet to put on a last push before the big show began.

“Who wouldn’t want to be here,” said Angela Kinsey of “The Office” — a pioneer in the big-cast movement.

For the “Friday Night Lights” cast, the Emmycast really was a reunion as the show finished shooting its final season more than a year ago. A reunion party on Saturday night (at Hollywood’s Dillon’s Pub, appropriately enough) put them all in a full-hearts-clear-eyes-can’t-lose mood.

“We’ve all stayed tight, but this is really our last big chance to get together” as a group, said Derek Phillips, aka Billy Riggins, as he strolled the carpet with Brad Leland (aka Buddy Garrity).

However, there was much talk among the “FNL” troops about the prospect of a movie, which is said to be very much on the fast track for Peter Berg and key creatives at Universal. Connie Britton, for one, is eager to see it happen.

“I’ll do Tami Taylor ’til the cows come home, as we say in Texas,” Britton said.

Zach Gilford (aka Matt Saracen) was happy to hang again with all his former teammates. But having been away from home for the past few months shooting movies, he confessed to a desire to return home to the new love of his life: a mutt he’s just adopted from an animal shelter.

“I got him off death row,” Gilford said, proudly.

nThis year marks 26 consecutive Emmy ceremonies for Warner Bros. TV prexy Peter Roth. The one that stands out in his mind is 2003, when WBTV’s “The West Wing” and “Friends” took the top drama and comedy series awards. “I love that it’s a celebration of TV,” he said of the kudofest. As he walked in to the theater, Roth said he had no worries about what the erstwhile star of “Two and a Half Men,” Charlie Sheen, might say at his time at the Emmy mike. “Not concerned in the slightest,” he said. As it turned out, he didn’t need to be.

nChuck Lorre wasn’t going there with the inevitable Charlie Sheen questions, either, as he walked the carpet with “Big Bang Theory” co-creator Bill Prady. Prady gave him comedy cover at times when the questioner didn’t get the hint. Asked what their post-show plans were, Prady joked: “Chuck is a party animal, so tonight is about keeping up with Chuck. We’ll be out until…” Prady said, before Lorre interjected: “Ten.”

nMargo Martindale’s signature awards-show apparel is something that no one will ever see in public: her lucky pink underpants. She was wearing them the day she was first getting dressed to play the indominatble Mags Bennett on “Justified.” She actually didn’t notice them but her costumer pointed them out. They’ve been her undergarment secret weapon ever since.

nAll of the 9/11 remembrances of the past few weeks have had a special resonance for “The Amazing Race” team. The show premiered on Sept. 5, 2001, and when the attacks hit the production had numerous crews shooting in various spots in the Middle East. Jonathan Littman, prexy of Jerry Bruckheimer TV and an exec producer of “Race,” was convinced that the show would never see a second episode. “We were sure that CBS would pull us,” he said. “And here we are 10 years later. I think maybe this show has done a little bit to show people that the world isn’t such a dangerous place, and that everybody doesn’t hate Americans out there.”

n“Downton Abbey” creator Julian Fellowes and wife Emma were tickled to realize that just as they stepped out of the limo at the Nokia, the premiere episode of “Abbey’s” second season was finishing airing on the BBC (it’ll bow in January on PBS). The experience of having a hit on both sides of the Pond has been “extraordinary,” Fellowes said. “You can never predict these things, no matter what people tell you.”

nNobody was having a harder time dealing with the heat of the afternoon than “Justified’s” Walton Goggins, who was sweating buckets as he made the rounds. But he wasn’t about to stop doing his duty because he’ll take any chance to talk up the show and the character, Boyd Crowder, that he loves so much. Although he’s as intense as it gets, Goggins loves the dark humor that the scribes inject to the character. And he loves doing that distinctive voice, which he credits to the inspiration of Elmore Leonard’s words. “Elmore Leonard is just so cool, and Timothy Olyphant is cool, and so when these words started coming out of my mouth I knew I had to find a way to make them sound cool, and poetic.”

nRico Rodriguez kept totally cool as his publicist strolled him past the screaming bleachers to chat up reporters on the red carpet. As his fame has soared in the past year with “Modern Family’s” success, how has Rico managed to keep a semblance of a normal life for a 13-year-old boy? By edict of his parents. “They always tell me ‘When you take off your clothes, you’re still Rico.’ And they also make me do chores.” Like taking out the trash.

nOh, the dilemma of the dress. “Mad Men’s” Jessica Pare couldn’t decide whether to go with sequins or feathers for her first Emmy Awards turn, so she found a form-fitting gown that combined both. “The Big Bang Theory’s” Kaley Cuoco put great time and effort into selecting her frock. She tried on at least 70, and wound up going with the first one she tried. “Now I know — it’s always the first dress,” she said.

nFor Edie Falco, the highlight of coming to L.A. for awards season is the chance to see old friends, including “Sopranos” alums Terence Winter and Matthew Weiner. So was she conflicted about who to root for in the drama series category, Winter’s “Boardwalk Empire” or Weiner’s “Mad Men”?

“I don’t even know who’s up,” she said, convincingly. “I just come, put on a dress and hang out with my friends.”

nLouis C.K. had a energetic morning before heading to the Nokia. He went for a long jog, topped off by a Twinkie for breakfast. He had no expectations of prevailing in the lead comedy actor heat for his oddball FX laffer “Louie,” but he knows the value of simply being invited to the Emmy dance. “It’s a reward to (FX topper) John Landgraf for making it,” he said. “So maybe it means a little extended airtime in the long run.”

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