Sunshine, competition raise the temperature for Emmygoers

The heat of the day and the heat of the TV biz were on everyone’s mind Sunday afternoon as industryites battled the rising mercury and paraded down a sizzling red carpet outside the Nokia Theater.

“It’s just too hot and I’m on too much Vicodin,” Jon Cryer quipped when asked about his first time out as a lead comedy actor nominee.

The temperature seemed especially punishing to the large number of British nominees in this year’s crop, given the temperature differential across the Pond. But the brigade from Blighty solidiered through with good humor.

“I’ve got lots of sponges soaked with cold water,” said “Copper” star Tom Weston-Jones, motioning inside his suit.

“Homeland” thesp David Harewood had a very practical approach to surviving L.A. temperatures: “getting out of it!”

Beyond the weather, Emmygoers expressed excitement about some of this year’s races, particularly the top drama prize. The wide open field of strong contenders is a good sign of the vibrancy of the biz, said Bruce Rosenblum, chairman of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, who is prexy of Warner Bros. TV Group in his day job.

“The quality of the content is a direct result of the number of networks that are investing in developing and producing programming,” Rosenblum said. “There is a wealth of great creative material out there and there are the platforms to take advantage of it. The breadth of our nominees proves that quality of scripted content is just terrific — it’s impressive.”

* * *

There are not only more shows and networks than ever before, there are more outlets for discussion and dissecting television programming than ever before.

And where there’s talk about the tube, there are going to be spoilers. But producers seem to be making a concerted effort to clamp down on loose lips from cast members, judging by the fear in the eyes of thesps when pressed for details on upcoming storylines.

“I can’t say! I can’t say!” Zosia Mamet insisted when asked about the fate of the girls in the second season of “Girls.” Mamet looked even more terrified when asked if she would be returning to “Mad Men” in its sixth season.

“They’re very secretive,” she said.

Jane Krakowski had a similar reaction when asked about plans for the final season of “30 Rock.”

“We have some great guest stars, that’s all I can say,” she said.

“Downtown Abbey” thesp Brendan Coyle dropped a little tidbit about the show’s third season during a press-line interview, and then sheepishly asked for mercy to keep it off the record lest he suffer the wrath of PBS’ PR department. (Mercy granted.)

* * *

“Breaking Bad” thesp Bob Odenkirk dropped a tantalizing tidbit while shooting the breeze on the red carpet.

There’s been some talk about a possible spinoff surrounding his character, sleazy lawyer Saul Goodman (assuming he survives the next eight episodes).

Odenkirk said it’s something creator Vince Gilligan has mentioned, though nothing is set in stone.

But for the record, Odenkirk is ready and able to serve if called up.

“I would do it,” he assured.

But before that, Odenkirk will take a detour to “Nebraska” for a role on Alexander Payne’s next pic.

Odenkirk wasn’t the only one to invoke the name of Payne on Sunday. Chuck Lorre, when pressed about his recent move to expand into the feature biz, cited “Sideways” as an influence.

“That was a big movie for me,” he said.

* * *

“Breaking Bad’s” Giancarlo Esposito had the perfect accessory for a hot day: a paper fan depicting his blown-apart face in his famous final scene in the AMC drama’s fourth-season finale.

The fan was a surprise gift from his oldest daughter, Shayne Esposito, who accompanied him to the big show.

“It’s my first Emmys after 45 years as an actor,” he said.

It probably won’t be his last, given how busy he is these days with roles on NBC’s “Revolution” and “Community” in the coming season.

* * *

Tony Hale was back in the Emmy swirl this year as part of the “Veep” campaign, but he knew he’d be talking about the “Arrested Development” revival as he made the rounds.

“It’s gonna get nuts,” he assured, based on the few days of shooting done so far and the fact that Liza Minnelli is back too (’nuff said).

After an eight-year break, the reunion with series creator Mitch Hurwitz and the rest of the cast has been “nostalgic and surreal,” he said. “When you get together with Mitch, comic gold comes out.”

“Arrested Development” is lensing in Culver City, but Hale and the rest of the “Veep” troupe decamp to Baltimore to shoot the quirky HBO laffer. It’s not as onerous as it sounds.

“Baltimore grows on you,” said “Veep’s” Anna Chlumsky. “It’s really artsy. They support the arts community in a big way.”

* * *

Jimmy Kimmel is known for going there, and then some, with his monologues during ABC’s upfront presentations.

Did Disney/ABC Television Group boss Anne Sweeney have a little talk with her latenight staffer before letting him loose on the live Emmycast?

No way, Sweeney said. But she admitted to secretly hoping that Kimmel will use the aud to plug his show’s big move to 11:30 starting in January.

“He’s ready,” she said. “It’s time for us to take advantage of it.”

* * *

NBC Broadcasting chairman Ted Harbert is a busy man these days. He’s in the midst of big-bucks retransmission consent negotiations that aim to close some of the revenue gap between the Peacock and its Big Four rivals. Beyond that he’s giving a lot of thought to the future of the broadcasting business.

In a word, he sums it up as: “events,” as in live, DVR-proof events like the NFL (which has been good to NBC so far this season), live telecasts like the Emmys and, of course, the Olympics.

* * *

Hyphenate Danny Strong is nothing if not versatile. The “Game Change” scribe is fielding a pilot for CBS with David O. Russell and Tribeca TV. He’s writing the third feature based on Dan Brown’s thrillers, “The Lost Symbol,” and he’s about to see his first feature screenplay released next year, “The Butler,” helmed by Lee Daniels.

Although his writing career has taken off in the past few years, the former “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” thesp is not entirely giving up screen time. He’s got a small role in “Butler” and he recently lensed a “Grey’s Anatomy.”

“I’m just more selective about acting,” he says, now that he can afford to be. “Modern Family” helmer Jason Winer is another former actor who’s career behind the camera has taken off in recent years. But thanks to YouTube and IMDB, he can never completely escape his past.

One of his short-lived TV series was the WB’s “Off Centre,” which happened to be produced by “Modern Family’s” Danny Zuker.

“Danny never lets me forget I was in that show,” Winer said.

* * *

“Modern Family” troupers Nolan Gould and Rico Rodriguez are well known to be practical jokers on the set. But they’re slipping a bit since the show began lensing on season four last month.

Rodriguez admits that they haven’t pulled any good ones yet but “hopefully soon.”

Meanwhile, Gould sounded very professional, and very prepped, when asked if it bugs them that the kids have yet to be nommed for the show.

“We’re just kids,” Gould explained.

* * *

“Homeland’s” Morena Baccarin demonstrated a sly sense of humor while making her way down the press line. When one enterprising TV cameraman offered her a piece of candy and mints from his stash, she fished out two Altoids and said, with a mischievous smile, “lunch.”

* * *

Lena Dunham turned Jimmy Fallon’s head when they crossed paths on the carpet. “You look gorgeous,” Fallon shouted.

Dunham replied, “It’s m
y first time!”

* * *

There have been efforts by the media to stir up a rivalry between the British series “Sherlock” and CBS’ take on the famed gumshoe with “Elementary,” but “Sherlock” star Benedict Cumberbatch is having none of it.

For starters, he’s friends with “Elementary” star Jonny Lee Miller.

“We’re in the high-70s for (the number of) people who have played Holmes,” he said. “It’s not as if the world can’t take another one.”

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