5:05 p.m. Ryan Seacrest debuted as host in the round as the Shrine gave up its traditional look. "I'm a full-service host," Seacrest joked, noting that he had to arrive four hours early to host the red carpet, making him the first Emmy host to have to ask, "Who are you wearing?" The novel set-up also allowed him to interact with the stars in the audience, including Teri Hatcher, with whom he was once romantically linked, as well as "Boston Legal" nominee William Shatner.
5:08 p.m.: "I gotta get used to this," the show's first presenter, Ray Romano, said of the unique set-up. During his monologue, there was a brief silence -- perhaps the "Everybody Loves Raymond" star was bleeped? Or was it a technical mishap? Though Seacrest didn't start off the show with the typical comedic monologue, Romano launched into a stand-up routine that included saucy riffs on new series, his wife, and going back to TV. He said he loved the controversial ending of "The Sopranos," which ended with a black screen and an ambiguous finale. Romano said that's the way sex ends with his wife: "I just shut the lights and my wife sits up and says 'What the heck was that? It's over?' "
5:13 p.m..: Jeremy Piven won for supporting actor in a comedy series for playing over-the-top agent Ari Gold on HBO's "Entourage" -- the same honor he won last year. And like last year, he toasted his late father, who was an acting teacher.
5:15 p.m.: "Ugly Betty" nominees Vanessa Williams and America Ferrera gave out the award for supporting actor in a drama series to Terry O'Quinn, who earned his first Emmy for his role as Locke, the enigmatic survivor of a plane crash on ABC's "Lost." While accepting the award, he joked that he wished he'd had the paycheck of the cast of "Desperate Housewives" but nonetheless felt he had the best job in the world.
5:22 p.m.: Seacrest asked the audience to acknowledge all the great actresses in the room, pointing out Sally Field, nominated for actress in a drama series for "Brothers & Sisters." Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Tina Fey -- both nominated for best actress in a comedy series -- presented supporting actress in a comedy series to Jaime Pressley for her role as the trashy ex-wife on NBC's "My Name is Earl."
5:25 p.m..: Katherine Heigl of "Grey's Anatomy" -- who chided the announcer for mispronouncing her name -- and Kyle Chandler of "Friday Night Lights" handed out supporting actor in a movie or miniseries to Thomas Haden Church for his role as the kind-hearted cowboy in AMC's first miniseries, "Broken Trail." "I want to dedicate this ... to my dad, who taught me to love westerns when I was a little kid."
5:35 p.m.. "I have no idea what I'm doing," Ellen Degeneres joked when she introduced a montage of topical one-lines -- outtakes from late-night talk shows and "The Daily Show" and the "The Colbert Report." (Many took pot shots at President Bush and former Vice President Al Gore.) It then segued into a tribute to veteran newscaster and late-night host Tom Snyder, who died this year.
Get breaking news alerts delivered to your mobile phone. Text BREAKING to 52669. You will receive up to 30 msgs/mo. Msg&data rates may apply. Text HELP for help. Text STOP to cancel.
5:37 p.m.: The cast of "Entourage" and Eva Longoria presented the nominees for supporting actress in a drama series. (Eva said the "Entourage" stars were the perfect ones for the job, given that they've "supported" many actresses in their day.) Heigl took home the award -- "Thanks for getting my name right," she said this time. She joked that she didn't have a speech prepared because her mother told her she "didn't have a chance in hell" of winning for her performance as the troubled doctor Izzy on "Grey's Anatomy."
5:38 p.m.: Jon Cryer and Jennifer Love Hewitt presented outstanding writing for a variety, music or comedy program to the team for "Late Night with Conan O'Brien."
5:50 p.m.: 5:50 p.m.: There's no red carpet at this environmentally sensitive event, Seacrest said, adding that it's actually a blue carpet made of recycled plastic bottles. The stage, meanwhile, is made from existing materials, and the cast from CBS' controversial reality show "Kid's Nation" was backstage on treadmills supplying the power.
5:51 p.m.: Tony Bennett and a pregnant Christina Aguilera in a pink dress that hid her swelling belly belted out the duet "Steppin' Out with My Baby."
5:54 p.m.: "Heroes' " Ali Larter -- in a killer strapless fire-engine red dress -- and "24's" Keifer Sutherland presented lead actor in a miniseries or a movie to Robert Duvall for AMC's "Broken Trail" for his performance as a veteran cowpoke. "We all want to do westerns," the veteran Duvall said, calling the genre a uniquely American art form. "The western is here to stay. I'm very glad I could be a part of it."
5:57 p.m.: Seacrest approached a young "blogger" in the audience and asked him for his take on the show, but when he crouched down to look at the young man's BlackBerry screen he admonished: "You're not blogging, that's a picture of Vanessa Hudgens! Zoom out! Zoom out!"
6:03 p.m.: Queen Latifah, also in a hot red dress, talked about the impact of "Roots," the 1977 ABC miniseries based on Alex Haley's bestseller about his African roots and slavery in America. It remains the third-most-watched show in TV history and helped make the miniseries a television mainstay. A few moments later, several members of the cast appeared on stage to a standing ovation, including Edward Asner, LeVar Burton, John Amos, Cicely Tyson and Ben Vereen. "I'm proud to be part of this medium," said Louis Gossett Jr., adding that "Roots' " success underscores how TV can elevate and educate as well as entertain. The group then presented the award for outstanding miniseries to AMC's "Broken Trail."
6:10 p.m.: Neil Patrick Harris of "How I Met Your Mother" and "Heroes" star Hayden Panettiere came out to present the nominees for guest actor and actress in a drama series, which were handed out last week. The legendary Leslie Caron, who won for her performance in a "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," in turn handed out the Emmy for directing of a drama series to Alan Taylor for HBO's "The Sopranos."
6:15 p.m: Harris and Panettiere also presented David Chase, the creative and executive producer of "The Sopranos," with an Emmy for writing for a dramatic series. And no, Chase did not explain the finale in his acceptance speech.
6:20 p.m.: Funnyman Steve Carell presented the award for oustanding veriety, music or comedy series to Jon Stewart and Comedy Central's "The Daily Show." Carell then stuck around to present variety, music or comedy special to "Tony Bennett: An American Classic." Bennett also earned a standing ovation, but he had to wait last to get in his 2 cents at the microphone, and he used that time to draw attention to his blond, and much, much younger wife, Susan.
6:28 p.m.: Mark Harmon of "NCIS" and Marcia Cross of "Desperate Housewives" presented outstanding supporting actress in a movie or miniseries to Judy Davis for USA's "The Starter Wife," in which she played the neurotic friend. Davis was not present to accept the award.
6:32 p.m.: Special awards go to "American Idol's" charity show, which raised over 75 million for the poor, as well as HBO's multipart series "Addiction."
6: 36 p.m.: Before presenting the award for outstanding made for television movie, actresses and co-presenters Glenn Close, Kyra Sedgwick and Mary-Louise Parker hailed cable's willingness to developing roles around strong central characters who just happen to be women. The honor went to HBO's Western historical drama, "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee," which entered the evening as the most nominated program, with 17 nods. (It won five technical awards last week.)
6:40 p.m.: Joe Mantegna announces the cast of the Tony Award winning musical "The Jersey Boys" who performed the songs of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons as a tribute to "The Sopranos." At 6:45 p.m., the cast of "The Sopranos" came on stage to a standing ovation as they bowed and waved.
6:49 p.m.: Sally Field of "Brothers & Sisters" and Patrick Dempsey, a.k.a. McDreamy, of "Grey's Anatomy," handed Helen Mirren the Emmy for lead actress in a movie or miniseries for PBS' "Prime Suspect: The Final Act." Mirren won in this category last year for "Elizabeth I."
6:52 p.m. : Comic Lewis Black started by berating TV executives and ranting about the constant interruptions: "Have you forgotten what your job is? It's to tell stories. Even reality stories tell stories. It's not, to tell us in the middle of a story, what show is coming on next.... Hey, here's a message from all of the viewers: We don't care about the next show ... you destroy the drama or the comedy." His tirade ended with "A Merry Christmas to all, and watch all of the blockbuster Fox fall schedule." "Look for Lewis Black this fall on Valium," quipped Seacrest afterward.
6:58 p.m.: Philip Martin receives the Emmy for outstanding directing for a movie, miniseries or dramatic special for PBS' "Prime Suspect: The Final Act."
6:59 p.m.: Frank Deasy receives the Emmy for writing "Prime Suspect: The Final Act."
7:03 p.m.: "Heroes" hero Masi Oka presents the first ever Emmy Award for creative achievement in interactive television to former Vice President Al Gore's "Current: An Interactive TV Network." He also earned a standing ovation and offered this shout-out: "More to come, Current.com, next month."
7:10 p.m.: "Til Death" stars Joely Fisher and Brad Garrett engaged in some off-color back and forths. Garrett began by joking about the success of Westerns and "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee" by saying he would soon be starring in a show called "Bury My Head Between Your Knees." The topic soon turned to Fisher's bosom on display. "Do you like my dress," she asked? Indeed, said Garrett, who towers over his co-star, "You should see it from up here...Note to self. Buy Milk." He then said that Fisher looked so good she was on Charlie Sheen's "To Do" list. (The camera panned to Sheen, who was shaking his head.) Fisher and Garrett then handed out the individual performance in a variety program to Tony Bennett for "Tony Bennett: An American Classic."
7:11 p.m.: Anthony Anderson of the new series "K-Ville" and Teri Hatcher of "Desperate Housewives" announce the nominees for best guest actor and actress in a comedy series and then present the winners, Stanley Tucci for USA's "Monk" and Elaine Stritch for NBC's "30 Rock."
7:15 p.m.: Tucci and Stritch in turn hand out the Emmy for directing for a comedy series to Richard Shepard for ABC's "Ugly Betty."
7:17 p.m.: Anderson and Hatcher present the Emmy for best writing in a comedy series to Greg Daniels for the "Gay Witchhunt" episode of NBC's "The Office."
7: 24 p.m.: Seacrest comes out dressed as a member of Showtime's "The Tudors." "This looked a lot less gay on the rack," said Seacrest, who then quipped "Can I keep it?" He then introduced Wayne Brady of "Don't Forget the Lyrics," who "randomly" picked audience members Rainn Wilson from NBC's "The Office" and rapper Kanye West to compete in a musical competiton: "The Songs of Kanye West." West lost. "You picked a bad time to speak properly," Brady told West.
7:29 p.m.: Wilson and West present the reality-competition Emmy to CBS' "The Amazing Race," which continues its lock on this category with its fourth straight victory, leaving the most popular show on television, Fox's "American Idol," once against a bridesmaid.
7:35 p.m.: Friendly rivals Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart came out and launched into shtick about this being the green Emmys. Colbert was armed with a leaf blower that he said is environmentally senstitive because it runs on alternative fuel -- "Al Gore's tears." When Stewart questioned whether awards shows are part of the problem by creating pollution and suggests banning them, Colbert balked. "If entertainers stop publicly congratulating each other, then the Earth wins," Colbert said. The pair handed out the Emmy for lead actor in a comedy series to Ricky Gervais as a struggling actor in the HBO's "Extras." But Gervais couldn't attend, so they gave the award to nominee Steve Carell, who dashed on stage to whoop it up with his former faux TV news cohorts.
7:41 p.m.: Was that another censorship bleep or a technical glitch? Felicity Huffman of ABC's "Desperate Housewives" and Hugh Laurie of Fox's "House" gave the Emmy for lead actress in a drama series to Sally Field, as the matriarch of grown children on ABC's "Brothers & Sisters." Though it didn't match her "You really like me" speech at the Oscars, Field gave a memorable though rambling speech about mothers and the need to bring their children home from the war. "Let's face it," she said, "If the mothers ruled the world there wouldn't be any g-." And that's all the audience at home heard. Maybe the censors didn't really like her?
7:53 p.m.: Debra Messing and William Shatner present lead actress in a comedy series to America Ferrera for ABC's "Ugly Betty." This year she won the Golden Globe and the Screen Actors Guild Award for her endearing performance as an unfashionable magazine assistant in the world of high fashion.
7: 55 p.m.: Upset! Kate Walsh of ABC's new show "Private Practice" and Jimmy Smits of CBS' new show "Cane" handed out best actor in a drama series to ... James Spader for his role on ABC's "Boston Legal" for his role as the snarky attorney Alan Shore. It was the third Emmy win for this character for Spader, and odds going into the evening were that James Gandolfini would win this one hands down for his role as Tony Soprano. Spader knew as much too. "I feel like I just stole a pile of money from the mob," he said in shock as he collected his award. He also added his 2 cents about the "in the round" stage set-up: I've been to thousands of shows and concerts, he said, "and these are the worst seats I've ever had."
8:01 p.m.: The show's running late, but there are two more categories to come: drama and comedy series. Stay tuned.
8:03 p.m.: Kelsey Grammer and Patricia Heaton -- who just happen to be starring in Fox's new comedy, "Back to You" -- gave the Emmy for comedy series to NBC's "30 Rock" -- critically acclaimed even though it hasn't done well in the ratings. Creator and star Tina Fey quipped as much when she said that she wanted to thank "our dozens and dozens of viewers." It's a victory reminiscent of Fox's low-rated "Arrested Development" winning the top prize in its first season. However, Emmy gold didn't translate into more viewers for that series. Perhaps "30 Rock" will fare better.
8:08 p.m.: Don't stop believing. Fresh off her Emmy win, Helen Mirren hands out the award for best drama series to "The Sopranos."
8:09 p.m.: you found "The Sopranos' " finale disappointing, you might feel the same way about the acceptance speech. Show creator David Chase and his crew got a standing ovation, their second of the night, as they took the stage to accept the award. Chase gave special thanks to James Gandolfini and Edie Falco as well as the musicians who've allowed the show to use their music, including Little Steven, the Rolling Stones and others. In what seemed to be a nod to Sally Field's earlier speech, Chase continued: "In essence, this is a story about a gangster," and gangsters are out there taking their kids to school, working to put food on the table.... "If the world and this nation were run by gangsters, maybe it is." OK. But what was the finale all about, David?
8:12 p.m.: Seacrest, out.