After last year’s single post-Emmy event, this year’s menu of party options meant the restoration of fun. Admittedly more fun if you won, but still fun one way or another.
The traditional first stop was the Governors Ball adjacent to the Shrine. The Academy hosted a 2,800-guest, black-tie affair offering Latin bands, Patina cuisine and a romantic, candle-lit atmosphere dark enough to grow the mushrooms served with the risotto.
ATAS chairman Bryce Zabel made note of the day’s 90 degree-plus weather and the resolute — though perhaps insufficient — work of the Shrine’s air conditioning system by saying: “In many ways it was the hottest ticket in town.”
At Spago, HBO went for a Billy Butchkavitz-designed affair in a 16,000-square-foot tent with open-air gardens at each end, silk covered banquettes, velvet draped walls, and two dozen chandeliers to create the kind of soiree Louis XIV might host if he threw Emmy parties at Versailles.
CEO Chris Albrecht looked at the opulence and said: “I think we thought we’d win more awards.” (The cable net tied with NBC for the most wins, with 24.)
Albrecht described the telecast as “more of the same,” adding that “anybody could handicap it by looking at previous years. It was a good show, but traditional.”
The tented party was connected to Spago by a covered walkway, where Garry Shandling was among those seated. “Conan (O’Brien) did a great job,” said the actor-comedian. “No one knows how scary it is. They should have the people on ‘Fear Factor’ host them. Then you’d see real fear.”
Standing nearby was AOL Time Warner topper Steve Case, who said the wins by his multiple divisions made him feel “like a proud parent with many children.”
Tom Hanks said the trick to surviving a 3½ hour show is to “have fun and goof with the people you’re seated around with.”
“The only times I’ve been to the Emmys have been for things that are really super-duper important to me to which we took real people and made them the focus of the evening,” Hanks said. “You don’t want to mess up their lives or make them miserable.”
Among those eating the salmon pizza were Jeff Bewkes, Colin Callender, Carolyn Strauss, Steven Spielberg and Kate Capshaw, Rita Wilson, Ellen DeGeneres, Sharon Osbourne, Alan Ball and three dozen veterans of Easy Company, portrayed in “Band of Brothers.”
Across town, “Entertainment Tonight” and Paramount took over the Mondrian for a party co-hosted with Glamour magazine.
The locale had some irony for the magazine: Talk magazine held its farewell fiesta there before the Golden Globes. “I’m going to leave before anyone gives me bad news,” joked editor Cindi Leive.
Emmy night fashion, she added, was “incredibly glamorous after the forced sobriety of last year. This was old-school Hollywood glamour.”
Over at the Fox party at Morton’s, the crowd in the candlelit room came to cheer — which meant cheering the TV screens running the telecast.
The big hit of the viewing party was when “The Shield” star Michael Chiklis accepted his surprise acting kudos for sister cabler FX. Another major moment was “The Bernie Mac Show’s” Larry Wilmore winning for best comedic writing.
While the celebrating was going on, first-time post-Emmy partier Cedric the Entertainer scoured the West Hollywood eatery under the impression that it was part of another restaurant chain famed for its T-bones, not nouveau California cuisine.
“Man, where’s the beef?” said Cedric. “I see they’re making people eat pizza, but I came for the steak. I mean, it’s Morton’s!”
Among those partying ’till the cows came home were Sandy Grushow, Gary Newman, Dana Walden, Gail Berman-Masters, Peter Liguori, Pete Aronson, Brian Grazer, Matt Groening, Cloris Leachman, Amy Brenneman, John Corbett, Carol Kane, Frankie Muniz, Katey Sagal and Michelle Trachtenberg.
Showtime had its Emmy bash Saturday at the St. Regis hotel with a sit-down dinner for 60 guests including topper Matt Blank, Gena Rowlands, Laura Linney, Tony Bill and Helen Bartlett, Allison Anders, Toni Howard and Lou Pitt.
The other parties around town were at Zucca for “Friends”; at Mastro’s for “The West Wing”; and in the Oviatt Building’s penthouse for “Will & Grace.”
(Jill Feiwell contributed to this report.)