Emmy Report: The Red Carpet Blur

I'd like to thank the Academy … for allowing me to dish on Emmy night … I'd also like to thank Britney Spears for getting married on a weekend with so many important things going on.

Most stars didn't know Britney had said "I do" on Saturday before they "did" the Emmy show last night.

Before we step onto the carpet and into the Shrine Auditorium for the 56th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, let it be known that TV types receive just as much "swag" as their brothers and sisters in the film industry during the Oscars.

For those who have never received a free bag of designer goodies, swag is what's given to invitees: the latest electronic toy wonders, high-end costume jewelry and other nifty stuff common folk don't get to see — let alone pay top dollar for — until it has been seen in the hands of a hot celebrity.

A day before the event, swag suites open at upscale hotels and Emmy invitees start hauling off their loot. Some even walk away with newly arched eyebrows or a hot shave (gender appropriate, of course).

As the event nears, there's the crucial, mind-bending process of what I like to call, "WTW" and "HMB" as in "Who to wear?" and "How much bling?"

The Red Carpet is where it all comes together in its special insanity. Everyone arrives at the same time, and then you have to twirl your head this way and that to catch all in their grandeur.

I always wonder, why start two hours before curtain time? No star would dare show up until the last 30 to 45 minutes. It's nearly a requirement to rush down the carpet with waves and sparkles and screams of "I said it's PRAH-DAH," while trying to finish 100 interviews, right up until the warning comes that anyone who's not inside will have to stay outside until the first commercial break.

This is not a hollow threat. Drea de Matteo didn't make it on time this year and she missed the first award going to her Sopranos co-star, Michael Imperioli.

So as the countdown to show time draws closer, it always becomes a blur. This year, so many ladies whisked into the Shrine in an array of greens, I had visions of Kermit the Frog. Mariska Hargitay wore it loud and proud. So did Allison Janney and Lorraine Bracco.

I thought I had pink eye for a sec looking at Barbra Streisand in all pink from dress to cloak and matching diamonds, et al. Then, I nearly went blind as femmes fatale like Portia de Rossi, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kristin Davis and Anne Heche strode down the red carpet in black.

I managed to see a man or two whiz by all "tuxed-up." I spotted bowties on the older guys like Treat Williams and William H. Macy and some old award-show pros like Bradley Whitford.

Then, as quickly as they came, they went inside, and most shockingly, that too went quickly. Garry Shandling said a witty "welcome" and the 56th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards finished in its three hours of allotted time.

In order to do this, however, they did cut off more than a few acceptance speeches. Meryl Streep tried to sing through the music that came on indicating her time was over. Parker scrambled through "thank yous" as the teleprompter practically threatened the Sex and the City star's life.

Poor James Gandolfini was made to disappear shortly after the whole Sopranos cast and crew came onstage to accept the best drama series award. It was rather ugly behavior on the producers' side, but fast.

I give kudos to the Academy voters for not going overboard and awarding the late John Ritter an Emmy for Best Actor in a Comedy Series, despite having completed only two episodes of last season's Eight Simple Rules before his untimely demise. Ritter absolutely deserved a posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award and was aptly recognized by the winner in the category, Kelsey Grammer. Still, it would've taken quite a bit away from the voting process if he had won.

We were out of the Shrine before anyone had time to get their clothes dirty, and off to The Governor's Ball, famously known for the sumptuous food and a drive-by by anyone who's anyone.

A quick two hours, and it's time to chase down your limo and head to the other must-go parties in town. Nobody could party too long. Remember, Monday is a workday. Nevertheless, Velvet Revolver played at the TV Guide party and the Goo Goo Dolls at the Entertainment Tonight/People magazine party. Even stars who didn't make it to the show appeared, like Diana Ross, Cheri Oteri and David Carradine. Where'd they come from?

All good things must come to an end. And they did.

Just like a Britney Spears marriage, Emmy was over before I knew it. But, just like a Britney Spears marriage, there's always a next time. Fifty-seventh, here we come!

Heidi Oringer is director of entertainment programming at ABCNEWS Radio.