WHO: Host Neil Patrick Harris (via satellite from Canada where he’s shooting a movie) and exec producers Don Mischer and Emmy chairman John Shaffner.
PREDICTIONS: Lots of funny courtesy of NPH.
4:49 pm/PST: Discussing the controversial decision to eliminate certain writing awards from the telecast, Mischer says it’s all part of an effort to “protect the Emmys as a major television event.” Research found that “potential viewers were not tuning in because it featured shows mainstream viewers didn’t know or weren’t interested in.” The result will be a focus on more popular programs via clip packages spotlighting high points and memorable moments of the past season. “We’re [still] going to honor the best in television,” he insists. “That’s not going to change.”
4:50 pm: We interrupt this panel for some How I Met Your Mother scoop. Here’s the season premiere’s semi-official logline: “Robin and Barney resist their friends’ pressure that they should have ‘the talk’ about their relationship. Meanwhile, a panicky Ted, about to face his first college class, decides he must keep control of his students by releasing his ‘inner douche’ — a tactic that backfires miserably.” Okay, back to your regularly scheduled press tour panel…
4:51 pm: NPH just got a laugh merely by scratching his head. Man, this guy knows how to work a room — even when he’s not in it!
5:01 pm: NPH describes his award show hosting philosophy thusly: “It’s like your hosting a big dinner party, Dean Martin-style.”
5:02 pm: Mischer just plugged the big Giants/Cowboys game that will be airing opposite the Emmys this year, adding, “It’s the first game in the new Texas stadium.” Sounds awesome! I’m totally watching that!
5:08 pm: Mischer says the telecast will pay attention to non-nominated shows as well. I hope that means what I think it means: Rules of Engagement blooper reel!
5:20 pm: Panel comes to an end, much to NPH’s surprise. “Wow, that was fast,” he says. Even that gets a laugh! Unbelievable!
Off to get scoop at CBS’ all-star party. Coming up tomorrow: The CW!