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Tanner Stransky
January 26, 2011 at 09:32 PM EST


On the evening of Jan. 19, EW exclusively went where no press outlet had been been before: to the meeting where Screen Actors Guild Awards producers decided who sits where during the glitzy show, airing live on TBS and TNT this Sunday, Jan. 30. EW watched the SAG team figure out where to put 716 folks (mostly large, boldfaced casts from the nominated movies and TV shows) on the ballroom floor of the Shrine Exposition Center. How do they decide where everyone sits? “We try to be fair,” explains producer Kathy Connell. “If people were all the way in the back last year, we’re going to try to move them up this year. And vice versa.” Here are some tidbits from the night’s decisions:

• The Social Network: With a star-studded cast — Jessie Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Rooney Mara, Max Minghella, and Justin Timberlake — Network gets a prime spot right up front, to the left of the stage. Producers decided to put presenter and SNL alum Amy Poehler at the same table so she could be near fave SNL host Timberlake. Minghella is attending with actress Kate Mara (127 Hours), sister of Network‘s Rooney Mara.

• Glee: Just try to seat a cast as big as Glee, which could have as many as 42 attendees when you factor in producers and dates. Lea Michele, Jane Lynch, and Co. will be up front, off stage left, where the Dexter folks were last year.

• The Kids Are All Right: Just behind Social Network will be The Kids Are All Right, including Annette Bening and her hubby Warren Beatty. Who wouldn’t want a pair of Hollywood royals up front? “That’s another we have to consider,” explains producer Jon Brockett. “High-profile dates!”

For a full breakdown of where the stars will be sitting at this Sunday’s Screen Actors Guild Awards — including deets on where Natalie Portman and her Black Swan cohorts will be, and why Mariska Hargitay, Hilary Swank, and Hugh Laurie are all sitting together — pick up the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly, on stands Friday, Jan. 28. (The SAG Awards will be simulcast live on TBS and TNT at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.)

Tanner on Twitter: @EWTanStransky

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