Emmy into the night

Governors Ball, HBO's soiree draw stars

HOLLYWOOD — Emmy night has a lock on being L.A.’s second biggest annual party night. Not the Oscars, but not chopped liver either.

Aside from the Governors Ball held in the Shrine’s mammoth exhibition hall, the biggest soiree was HBO’s. It took over Spago BevHills then added to the space by blocking Canon Drive at Wilshire, erecting what was described as “a big ass ol’ tent” and covering the street in black carpet.

While there was joy beneath the big top over the cabler’s lead in the awards count, there was also exasperation over the virtual snubbing of “The Sopranos.”

“How can they deny Jimmy Gandolfini?” asked actor-guitarist Steve Van Zandt, who took a break from the Bruce Springsteen tour to attend the kudocast. “He’s the best thing on television since Jackie Gleason.”

Among those on hand to both celebrate and commiserate were HBO’s Jeff Bewkes, Chris Albrecht and Colin Callender, plus Chris Rock, Conan O’Brien, George Carlin, Michael J. Fox, Sarah Jessica Parker with Matthew Broderick, John Leguizamo and Tracey Ullman.

Across Beverly Hills and into West Hollywood, Showtime filled the French elegant L’Orangerie with 200 guests including topper Matt Blank, MGM’s Chris McGurk, Jodie Foster, Helen Mirren, Stockard Channing, Peter Fonda and Beau Bridges.

Though Mirren was holding the sole Emmy the cabler took that night, programming chief Jerry Offsay said he thought his company had a pretty good year.

“I wouldn’t trade the lineup of “Ayn Rand,” or “Inherit the Wind,” or “Baby Dance” for anybody else’s,” Offsay said. “This year’s lineup was better than last year’s and next year’s will be every bit as good or better.”

Up the block and down Sunset Boulevard, Alliance Atlantis viewed the city from the Sky Bar where it celebrated the 13 nominations (but only one win) for “Joan of Arc.”

Exec producer Ed Gernon said he felt a mix of emotions: disappointment over not winning more statuettes, elation about not having to give an acceptance speech and the realization that “we showed the community we’re serious miniseries players.”

Star Leelee Sobieski took the optimistic tact of looking forward to her next shot at a kudo: “And the Golden Globe looks better.”

At the 20th Century Fox party at Pagani, a lobster on a giant mound of ice was the main attraction as Emmy winners David E. Kelley, Thomas Schlamme, Paris Barclay and Michael Badalucco made the rounds with the cast and producers of “Ally McBeal,” “The Practice” and “NYPD Blue.” On hand were Calista Flockhart, Jeffrey Kramer, Kim Delaney and Camryn Manheim. Also in attendance were 20th execs Sandy Grushow, Gary Newman and drama head Dana Walden.

And Par’s “ET”-sponsored soiree was actually two bashes in one. The masses mingled together downstairs, while cast, producers and writers from “Frasier” toasted the skein’s two Sunday Emmy wins with an upstairs affair.

(Joe Adalian and Phil Gallo contributed to this report.)