The Emmy Awards aren’t till Monday, Aug. 25, but the celebrations start early. Variety will be on hand inside the best parties around Hollywood as the stars mingle, nibble and toast to TV’s finest. Here’s our party report for Friday, Aug. 22:
6:35 p.m. “Classy” is a good word to describe “The Good Wife,” and it’s the perfect adjective to describe the early evening reception that CBS threw at Il Cielo to toast the show and its nommed stars: Julianna Margulies, Josh Charles and Christine Baranski. The gathering on the private patio next to the restaurant was intimate and relaxed. And the Burton Way eatery lived up to its reputation for incredible pasta dishes.
6:40 p.m. “Good Wife” creators/showrunners Robert and Michelle King are too classy to dwell on the fact that the show was not nominated in the top drama series despite universal accolades for its fifth season. The pair collected compliments on a job well done from CBS chief Leslie Moonves and Julie Chen, among others. The Kings of course were not handing out any spoilers, but Michelle allowed that season six picks up “about 30 seconds” after the end of season five.
6:42 p.m. Moonves and Margulies take a moment to hug and remember how long they’ve been in business together — what with the 20th anniversary of “ER’s” premiere fast approaching.
6:45 p.m. Christine Baranski is proud to tell us that her daughter has just joined the district attorney’s office in Brooklyn. There are a few jokes about what her scheming “Good Wife” character would do with such a connection, but Baranski’s pride in her daughter’s achievement is palpable. And she’s also feeling good about the prospects for “Into the Woods,” Disney’s film adaptation of the Sondheim musical, which she lensed last year.
6:50 p.m. Josh Charles is looking no worse for wear after being gunned down (on screen) a few months ago. He’s excited to report that a movie he made about three years ago in France, Pascale Ferran’s “Bird People,” is finally coming out next month, after it plays in Toronto. Charles and his wife Sophie Flack are also expecting another major release in a few months — a baby.
6:55 p.m. Michelle King indulges us in the what-is-Alan-Cumming-really-like question — to which she answers: “a total artist — someone who always wants to be creating something.” About five minutes worth of breathless conversation ensues about his greatness in “Cabaret.” She jokes that with all the great legit talent on “Good Wife,” she pitches a musical episode every year. It never flies but “our holiday parties are incredible,” she assures.
6:57 p.m. Ed Asner pauses to greet and snap a pic with Heifer International topper Pierre Ferrari at the Beyond Hunger: A Place at the Table gala at the Montage Beverly Hills. Asner notes that the work Heifer does is of utmost importance, and thinks that nothing is more useful than “teaching a man to fish, or better yet how to grow fish” to help them survive.
7:02 p.m. Because there’s gum in his hand, Matt Walsh fistbumps Variety‘s reporter before calling the night a “Modern Veep Family Reunion,” waving at other cast members around him at Vanity Fair and Maybelline New York’s Toast to “Veep” party at the Sunset Tower.
7:06 p.m. The “Veep” herself, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, arrives in an electric pink dress. Tonight is a calm night before Monday’s Emmy Awards show. “I’m excited to see the cast at this party before the shit hits the fan,” she says.
7:18 p.m. Ferrari marvels at the way celebrities use social media to get the word out about Heifer International, especially calling attention to the Tweets by honoree Ian Somerhalder.
7:30-ish p.m. “The Good Wife” party breaks up on schedule as the CBS team has to hustle over to Dodger Stadium for an “NCIS: Los Angeles” event.
7:41 p.m. As guests start to mingle at the “Veep” party, several note that work for season four starts again on Tuesday — the day after the Emmys.
7:45 p.m. The “Veep” cast assembles on the red carpet at the Sunset Tower.
7:47 p.m. Ian Somerhalder poses for photo opps at the Beyond Hunger Gala with fellow honoree Diane Lane and cuddly friends on the carpet. He says people “really dig it” when he helps promote the organization.
8:04 p.m. Anna Chlumsky and her husband Shaun So stumble out of the photo booth with election props at the “Veep” party. “I could do this all night. That was fun!” she screams.
8:05 p.m. TV Academy chief Bruce Rosenblum breaks from the circle around him to say a few words from the stage at the TV Academy’s Producers Peer Group Reception on the rooftop of the London West Hollywood. “This is our Super Bowl,” he says of the start of Emmy weekend. He tells the assembled producers that great TV starts with them — and he then admits he’s said the same thing every night this week at the other peer group receptions (actors, writers, directors, etc.)
8:10 p.m. The names of producers nominated in top award categories are named. There are a lot of no-shows but just enough heavy hitters to make it respectable, including “The Big Bang Theory’s” Steven Molaro, “Fargo’s” Warren Littlefield, “Breaking Bad’s” Mark Johnson and “Modern Family’s” Steve Levitan.
8:20 p.m. “Game of Thrones” author George R.R. Martin is the rock star everyone wants their picture taken with.
8:22 p.m. Surreal sighting: Mallory Lewis (daughter of Shari Lewis) and Lamb Chop are walking around the Montage ballroom at the Heifer International gala. Lamb Chop is relegated to a purse for dinner.
8:27 p.m. Tony Goldwyn and his daughter Anna Musky-Goldwyn arrive at the “Veep” party. Of course, several females flock over. What would Olivia say?
9:11 p.m. Josh Charles dashed over from “The Good Wife” party to honor Lori Silverbush and Tom Colicchio at the Beyond Hunger gala.
9:33 p.m. Chlumsky keeps the “Veep” party going, dancing on the steps to Whitney Houston and Usher mixes.
9:39 p.m. Photos on screen at Heifer International gala of Somerhalder hanging out with a camel and kissing a goat.
9:45 p.m. Receiving his Noble Globe Award onstage for the awareness he brings to Heifer’s causes, Somerhalder says, “I reach 270 million people a month,” joking that he doesn’t even have a college education. “Leveraging entertainment value to create global change is amazing.” He notes an array of causes that he believes are interconnected. “Solution-based information is what we need. Which is a crazy thing when you talk to men around the world … Women and youth are the most vital resources on our planet.”
10:20 p.m. A surprise addition to the evening’s live auction: Tom Colicchio donates a private in-home dinner for 12! In an instant the bid hops up to $7,000.
10:22 p.m. Colicchio’s dinner sells for $12,000.
10:24 p.m. Colicchio agrees to a second dinner for the runner-up for another $12,000.