A Bigger, Better TV Awards Show Returns to Glam

If there would have been one steady chant at this year's 54th Annual Prime Time Emmy Awards, it would have been, "We're here, don't fear. TV kicks butt again!"

The other one would've been, "It's so hot, It's so hot … I'm going to throw up now!"

Despite temperatures which sailed above 100 degrees, this year's Emmys were refreshing with a return to glitz and glamour and celebration.

It almost seemed that the celebs and press alike were determined to make the 54th Annual Prime Time Emmy Awards bigger and better after last year's on-again, off-again Emmy ceremony ended up to be a somber, executive dress gathering that was attended out of necessity more than desire.

There were several security checks, lots of metal detectors and lots of wands winding their way up and down the fronts and backs of many people. Some seemed to enjoy it, while others were pleasant as they waited in line understanding the intense security. The Bigger You Are, the Later You Arrive The throngs of fans were back on the bleachers screaming for their favorite stars. Actually, they screamed for anyone who walked the Red Carpet, including Paula Abdul, who made her return to the spotlight this year because of her turn as an American Idol judge.

As she walked the great red way, she acted as though she'd never left the days of adoring fans and an eager press. It's obvious she had left, though, since she arrived very early … a no-no for any star in the know!

On the flip side, the Osbourne clan are obviously settling into celebrity status. They whisked themselves into the Shrine Auditorium just moments before the show started. It was like watching an episode of the Addams Family as they arrived somewhere they didn't seem to belong.

The Osbournes were right on the heels of Oprah Winfrey (who could've played Cousin Marilyn) and her posse (Steadman, Gayle, Dr. Phil, et al). Oprah was smart to show up late and should've considered arriving with a 1,000-pound gorilla — for protection from anyone who might've wanted to grab one of those giant diamond earrings she was sporting.

Many women had on jewels, but the big ones, as usual, were borrowed … not Ms. Winfrey's, though. The colossal baubles she had dangling from her lobes were from her own jewelry box. Sweet!

Not to be shallow but certainly to be truthful, fashion was king and everyone strived to belong to the Royal Family of Dress. From the very pregnant Jane Kaczmarek and Cynthia Nixon, to the very slender and seductive Marg Helgenberger and Kim Cattrall, the women were ravishing and elegant.

Most of the ladies had on light fabrics with lots of designs, rhinestones, sequins, etc. Ellen DeGeneres was one of the exceptions to the rule, donning a tuxedo, a white blouse, and a new female companion that joined the other ladies in the gown category.

Unfortunately, the comfortable and revealing dresses most women were wearing didn't keep them from sweating profusely. Many had publicists carrying hand-held fans for them (must be nice), but the makeup still melted off in the hot sun.

The men had it worse, since they had no choice but to go the way of the tux. The guys would've surely had a difficult time showing up in strapless gowns, so it was monkey suits for all of them and the aroma of stinky sweat for the people surrounding them. The only break some of the gents gave themselves was the occasional tieless look.

Alec Baldwin did the open collar thing. He also went a step further with cuffs that turned out over his tuxedo jacket. It was a sexy and sporty look for the swinging single.

Dule Hill of The West Wing had on one of the jazziest tuxes of the night. It was gray with black velvet lapels and buttons. He admitted he loved his look, but was ready to pass out from the heat. Also appearing rather spiffy was the very funny Bernie Mac, who had on a black striped tuxedo that was custom-made by his clothing designer, who was in attendance for the evening.

No Money in Poor Emmy

Although I'd love to spin a tale of bad behavior and gritty gossip, it just wasn't that kind of night. The television gang actually shone quite brightly for the show. Part of the reason behind the refinement is indeed because of last year's unfortunate circumstances, but also because television gets a really bad rap compared to the movies.

The Sunday edition of The Los Angeles Daily News ran the headline, "Little Orphan Emmy" because the awards just don't have the power their movie counterparts have. Truth be told, whether or not actors or shows win Emmys, they don't generate any more money — and money is the name of the game in Hollywood.

With films, if an actor or movie wins an Oscar, both can garner up to 150 percent more than before the win. This is to say an actor or actress can easily demand and receive a higher salary for their next project and the film that wins an Oscar usually attracts a whole new audience who didn't bother to see it before its award success. An Emmy doesn't mean much to the proverbial bottom line. The meaning of the trophy lies solely with the winner.

Nevertheless, Hollywood celebrated Sunday night. Ray Romano proved that everybody does indeed love him. The show garnered a slew of Emmys in the comedy category, including best actor for Romano and supporting honors for Brad Garrett and Doris Roberts.

And in a funny turn of events, Friends won best comedy and Jennifer Aniston, who obviously has more friends at the Academy than we realized, picked up the best actress in a comedy.

And, oh the drama of it all … The West Wing picked up its third straight Emmy for best drama, while cast members Stockard Channing, Allison Janney and John Spencer all won a statuette.

Janney, who plays the president's press secretary on West Wing, won the best actress Emmy after winning the past two years as supporting actress in the same role.

And so it goes. The Emmys got their three hours and 20-something minutes of fame this year, and they got my entire column to boot. Not a bad comeback at all!

Heidi Oringer is director of entertainment programming at ABCNEWS Radio.