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.
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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.