The 61st Primetime Emmy Awards are upon us just as the Fall season readies itself for consumption. More importantly, however, is the return of E!’s red carpet coverage and Ryan Seacrest, the master of cheese. Oh how I’ve missed our pre-Awards show relationship. You know, the one in which I laugh as Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie diss the ‘American Idol’ host while walking the red carpet. But, tonight is not about mundane red carpet interviews rather it is an evening to celebrate the best television offerings from last season. The uber-talent Neil Parick Harris is hosting the evening fresh off his stellar Tony Awards front man duties. ’30 Rock’ has the best shot of taking home an award this evening — the NBC show has 22 nominations tonight — while HBO and all of its late night goodness has 99 nominations. ‘Family Guy’ might even snag a statuette making it one for the history books. No animated series has ever won a primetime Emmy. So sit right back, catch the Emmy Awards live on CBS and make sure to check back here on SofaSnark.com for live blogging throughout the night. You can also follow me on Twitter @columbiajames — LIVE BLOGGING COMPLETE — 11:05 PM That’s a wrap. And how wonderful to see the stunning January Jones on stage during the last acceptance speech. ‘Mad Men’ takes the big win and the Emmy telecast is complete. 10:55 PM Curse it all. ‘Family Guy’ fails to make history. ’30 Rock’ had to go and spoil the animation tension. Stewie might just have to get medieval on Tina Fey‘s ass. But stop the presses… Tina delivers a major slap to Jay Leno by highlighting the fact that her show is more expensive to produce than a talk show. Tina, you are my HERO. 10:51 PM The big guns have finally come out. And Bryan Cranston knocks everyone else out of the running for best actor in a drama. Wow. John Hamm, Gabriel Byrne, Hugh Laurie and Michael C. Hall are all worthy opponents. Sorry, Simon Baker. You’re not even on my radar. Cranston’s ‘Breaking Bad’ truly is a great program but I’m not sure his performance tops Hamm or Byrne’s roles. 10:40 PM Yes, Matthew Weiner just mocked actor Ken Howard for his spare kidney comment. Love it! From a fantastic drama program, ‘Mad Men,’ to a wry acceptance speech. Matt is my kind of guy. Although, I still want to call him Weiner, as in Oscar Mayer. Just embrace the fact that your ancestors screwed the family line with a ridiculous surname. 10:28 PM In memoriam. Always touching and now accented by Sarah McLachlan. Karl Malden, Dom DeLuise, Dominick Dunne, Ron Silver, Natasha Richardson, Bea Arthur, Ed McMahon, Army Archerd, Paul Newman, Michael Jackson, Patrick Swayze, Walter Cronkite. Some of the many legends that passed away. This moment gets me sad every time. You will ALL be missed. 10:22 PM ‘Lost’ star Michael Emerson gives a perfect speech that all character actors can savor. This wonderful actor didn’t abuse his moment in the spotlight to ramble through a list of bulleted thank you nods. Nobody cares about your kids that have stayed up past their bedtimes or your power hungry agent. 10:12 PM Ricky Gervais rubs all of our faces in his syndication riches and his slightly better than Rainn Wilson looks. He’s just keeping it real. Rainn truly does remind me of a ‘Deliverance’ extra. And Jon Stewart reminds everyone why the Emmy Awards is certain to get dismal ratings… Sunday Night Football is on right now. In full disclosure, I just had to look at a TVGuide to see if there was in fact a sports game on tonight. 10:03 PM How did I miss a new Muppets Christmas special and a Stephen Colbert holiday episode? I’m actually a bit saddened by that. I love the Muppets. Almost as much as I love Jimmy Fallon harmonizing a back spasm. 9:50 PM Bruce Gowers seriously just accepted his award while chewing gum into the microphone. Just like a freaking cow. How appropriate that he was representing ‘American Idol.’ I have a strong feeling that Ryan Seacrest is going to flog this man backstage. 9:45 PM The Emmy for made for television movie goes to ‘Grey Gardens.’ There isn’t a more deserving show this evening. And how cute is it to see Justin Long sitting faithfully by his girlfriend Drew Barrymore? Darling. HBO deserves all of the accolades it is receiving tonight. 9:30 PM ‘Dr. Horrible’ hacks into the Emmys to curse all of us Sofa Monkeys. Also, to kill the boring accountant speech. I wonder how many old timers are completely confused by this entire segment. New media rules the day. I wonder if any WGA members wrote that bit. 9:24 PM The live stage gets dissed as Sir Ian McKellen fails to win an Emmy for his turn in ‘King Lear.’ However, Brendan Gleeson winning for his turn as Winston Churchill in HBO’s ‘Into the Storm’ is the second best option. Irish accents make everything go down smoothly. 9:15 PM Supporting actress in a miniseries or movie goes to a lovely and talented actress — I’m just not about to try spelling her name (Shohreh Aghdashloo). This is why I never tried getting an awards ceremony announcing gig. Whatever happened to names like Ken Howard? Oh wait, here’s a Ken Howard now. A win for ‘Grey Gardens.’ Hooray! But another Kanye West joke… what’s the count now? 9:10 PM ‘The Amazing Race’ wins another Emmy. Couldn’t they have given it to ‘Project Runway’? If for no other reason than to send a big FU to Bravo. I love that Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn found a new home, but Lifetime doesn’t broadcast in HD here in NYC. Inexcusable. I need to see my fashion fix in rich colors. 9:00 PM Oh snap! Jeff Probst shuts out Ryan Seacrest. There is a god. The ‘Survivor’ man gives props to Neil Patrick Harris for his hosting duties and also shares the win with everyone holding a dream. “Life is short. Go for it.” Wasn’t expecting a gracious moment from the reality TV segment. 8:55 PM Were I not doing this whole live blogging thing tonight, this would be the time to take a pizza break. It’s reality show montage time. Must the Emmy Awards acknowledge a genre that puts actual Hollywood talents out of work? 8:50 PM Rob Lowe, the real reason you’re presenting a comedy award is due to your career being a joke. I loved you in ‘West Wing’ and now ‘Brothers & Sisters’ but not for any profound acting abilities. I just like being reminded of your sex tape and nanny antics. 8:38 PM Doing a live remote from the Emmy’s press room during the live telecast might be a first. I kind of like it. But I really love seeing Blake Lively and Leighton Meester on stage. Proves that talent is completely unnecessary when it comes to appearing on TV’s biggest night. 8:37 PM Still not sold on this whole Justin Timberlake thing. No matter the talent, I can’t get over his having dated Britney Spears. He might just be marked for life. And what does he know about Bea Arthur? Sarah Silverman, my mustachioed dream girl. But Toni Collette nabs the award. Thanks for the tidbit about her singing in a band, John Hodgman. 8:26 PM From the look on Tracy Morgan’s face, I’m not quite sure he knows where he is right now. Somebody needs to keep that man away from the booze. Happy to see Joh Cryer win an Emmy. This is a good time to give another respectful shout out to John Hughes. Cryer would be nothing without ‘Pretty in Pink.’ 8:22 PM Is it possible to look at Alyson Hannigan and not think about a flute and band camp? I don’t want to live in such a world. Although, it’s probably not a good thing that I’m thinking about a motion picture while watching a TV awards show. Oh well. ’30 Rock’ snags a writing award. That show certainly keeps my attention. 8:13 PM Kristin Chenoweth is rocking the New Years Eve glasses. But Amy Poehler just won my heart over with the eye patch. WHAT! Did Vanessa Williams seriously just poop all over the funny glasses bit? Never matter, Kristin just won. Well deserved. And such a doll. Cry away my dear. 8:10 PM Holy macaroni. This might just be the longest montage I’ve seen on TV. Clusterfuck anyone? Tina Fey and John Hamm are here to save the day. 8:06 PM And the first Kanye West joke of the night goes to Neil Patrick Harris. It’s early in the evening so I’ll forgive him. Let’s just hope we don’t have to sit through a night of tired Kayne hates white people jokes. Oh yes, and I’m still not sold on this fragmented awards breakdown. 8:04 PM Neil Patrick Harris takes to a recession era news reel introduction. Classy, sir. As is the white tux jacket. And what’s this, a song and dance. I could listen to Neil croon all night. As he sang, “Put down the remote.” If his musical schtick is any sign of things to come this might actually prove to be an entertainment broadcast. We might just Neil to host the Oscars. A triple crown anyone? 7:58 PM Seacrest out! Emmy Awards in. I flipped onto CBS just in time for an image of ’60 Minutes’ host Morley Safer. Please don’t let me age that horribly. 7:40 PM Watching E!’s red carpet coverage. Ryan Seacrest kept fawning over ‘Heroes’ star Hayden Panettiere and remarked that he was surprised at how young she is. If we lived in an alternate reality I might just believe that Ryan was interested in Hayden for more than just fashion tips.