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‘Housewives’ steal spotlight at Emmy Awards

A tribute to news anchors, Johnny Carson among show's highlights
/ Source: The Associated Press

The stars of “Desperate Housewives” were far from desperate for attention.

“Having people come from all over the world to see us. It’s amazing,” said Nicollette Sheridan, who appeared overwhelmed when she arrived on the red carpet to a cacophony of cheers, whoops and hollers.

Co-star Marcia Cross noted that just a couple of seasons ago, the show didn’t exist.

“Now we have all these nominations,” marveled Cross, who arrived in a stunning strapless green emerald gown with matching bracelet and earrings.

The loudest Housewife reaction was reserved for Teri Hatcher, who arrived in a subtle blue gown. She smiled and waved before quickly heading inside the auditorium.

During the show, Eva Longoria, the only main Housewife who wasn’t nominated for an award, poked fun at herself in a skit that placed her in the back row of the auditorium, near the rafters.

“Wait, wait, there are after-parties?” Longoria asked.

Not everyone was a fan, though.

“It’s great to be here on the brink of losing to ‘Desperate Housewives,”’ Will Arnett of “Arrested Development,” which was nominated along with “Housewives” for best comedy series, said on the red carpet.

“‘Desperate Housewives’ is not a comedy,” he said. “It’s a soap opera that has a few funny moments in it.”

A tribute to the anchorsFormer evening news anchors Tom Brokaw and Dan Rather received a stirring standing ovation during an Emmy Awards tribute to them and the late Peter Jennings.

Brokaw and Rather recently stepped down from jobs they had held since the early 1980s. Jennings died of lung cancer last month. A film tribute to the men ended with the last “thank you and good night” Jennings spoke on the air.

“For nearly a quarter of a century three men in this country were anchors in more ways than one,” actor Alan Alda said. “At a time so many things in our country were changing, they were solid.”

Brokaw explained how each of them tried to be reporters and were friends as well as competitors. Rather said the recent strong coverage of Hurricane Katrina reaffirmed the need for quality journalism on the air.

CBS cameras panned twice to network chief Leslie Moonves, who is trying to choose Rather’s successor.

The Donald sings, sort of
What was funnier: Donald Trump wearing overalls, or trying to sing?

It was a no-brainer the first time he opened his mouth and some sort of strained sound came out. In the first installment of an “Emmy Idol” segment, Trump gamely belted out the theme to “Green Acres” with Megan Mullaly of “Will & Grace” playing the Eva Gabor role.

The Emmys featured four such odd performances of old TV show themes and, in a nod to “American Idol,” asked viewers to vote on their favorites.

What seemed like a hokey idea — alright, it was a hokey idea — made for some cheap laughs. Kristen Bell, star of “Veronica Mars,” pranced through the theme of “Fame” in classic 1980s garb, including a cutoff shirt and leggings. Grammy Award-winning singer Macy Gray sang “Movin’ on Up” from “The Jeffersons” with a pained Gary Dourdan of “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.”

The most inspired pairing, however, was William Shatner’s mock-pompous recital of the “Star Trek” theme with opera singer Frederica von Stade. But they lost to Trump and Mullaly.

‘It's right here!’There was only so far that “Lackawanna Blues” star S. Epatha Merkerson was going to search for her acceptance speech.

She stuffed it down the front of her strapless Pilar Rossi gown. But it slipped, and was no longer easily reachable.

“I can feel it, it’s right here,” said Merkerson, pointing to a mid section of her gown. “All I wanted was my speech ... As I was walking up the stairs I kept thinking, ’AHHHHH.’

Jon Stewart couldn’t resist the opportunity when he followed her onstage.

“I believe I wrote something, too,” he said, briefly reaching for his trousers.

Remembering JohnnyDavid Letterman has made no secret that Johnny Carson is his hero. He drove the point home again with a warm tribute to the late “Tonight” show host, who died on Jan. 23.

Letterman recalled how Carson was asked once by a “Tonight” show audience member what had made him a star. “I started out in a gaseous state and then I cooled,” Carson said.

“Johnny Carson’s star never cooled,” Letterman said.

Carson’s monologue was “the nightly comic monologue of record,” Letterman said.

The honor of saluting Carson went to Letterman, not to Carson’s “Tonight” show successor, Jay Leno, who was sitting in the audience.

Letterman himself was praised by Jon Stewart of “The Daily Show,” which beat Letterman’s “Late Show” for an Emmy.

“The way that he feels about Johnny Carson is the way that all of us, the comedians of our era, feel about him,” Stewart said.

Thinking of Katrina victimsIt was to be the subdued Emmys, coming in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. But the jokes still flowed.

After opening the show with a brief tribute to her hometown of New Orleans, host Ellen DeGeneres told the audience to think about the important things in life.

“Seriously, I think overall in the scheme of things, winning an Emmy is not important,” DeGeneres said. “I think we all know what’s really important in life — winning an Oscar. They’re for movies. Man, I’d love to host that show.

“If you don’t win tonight, it doesn’t mean you’re not a good person, the host reassured her audience. “It just means you’re not a good actor.”

She was followed to the stage by the night’s first winner, Brad Garrett of “Everybody Loves Raymond,” who took the trophy for best supporting comedy actor.

He quickly broke up the audience when he dedicated the award to new mom Britney Spears “and our baby.”

No Bond for Jackman
Hugh Jackman won’t be adding 007 to his resume.

“I’m not doing Bond,” Jackman said backstage, shooting down persistent rumors that he would be the next actor to play the dashing British secret agent.

Jackman said he will soon begin filming the third installment of the “X-Men” movies.

The actor, who was born in Australia to English parents, collected an Emmy for individual performance in a variety or music program for his work on “The 58th Annual Tony Awards.”

Asked why Australians seem to keep finding juicy roles in American films, Jackman credited both U.S. audiences and Down Under natives like Mel Gibson and Nicole Kidman.

“Americans are the most generous country on the planet,” Jackman said. “I’ve worked in Europe, I’ve worked in Australia. There is no where else where you get absolutely no attitude for being a foreigner. If you do your job well, they embrace you.”