LOS ANGELES – Awe-struck fans and inquisitive journalists are usually the only obstacles for celebrities backstage at the Emmys. This year, the red carpet had metal detectors and police officers.
As Sally Field, Kelsey Grammer and others waited to pass through metal detectors, several stopped to chat with one another.
"It's very quiet," said ER actress Michael Michele, who wore gray silk trousers and a plunging V-neck white ruffled blouse. "People are on their best behavior."
The L-shaped red carpet area outside the Shubert Theatre was decorated with just two small gold Emmy statuettes and CBS logos. Missing were the massive floral displays, screaming fans in bleachers and banners heralding television's biggest night.
Most of the celebrities welcomed the intense security, which included uniformed Los Angeles police officers on the carpet, SWAT team officers with rifles on the rooftops of surrounding buildings, metal detectors, and searches of bags and limousine trunks.
"There's probably more police officers than celebrities," said actor Barry Pepper, who played New York Yankees slugger Roger Maris in HBO's 61*.
The famous faces who crowded the carpet shared a universal sentiment: they were glad to be there.
"Once you're on the red carpet, it's kind of the same," said John Spencer of NBC's The West Wing. "We have to be careful to get on with our lives."
Camryn Manheim of ABC's The Practice believed televising the twice-delayed show was appropriate.
"I wanted to offer people an alternative to CNN, the World Series and my own show," said the actress, whose show aired Sunday night opposite the Emmyscast. "I started to see people's livelihoods depend on events like this, the caterers, the florists, limousines. I guarantee you nobody in New York thinks we are disrespecting them by being here."
Inside, not all of the Shubert Theatre's 1,800 seats were filled, with a few dozen in the back remaining empty as the show got under way.
Hank Steinberg, a writing nominee for 61*, was torn between the Emmys and Game 7 of the World Series featuring his beloved Yankees.
"I'm taping the game, I've got a cell phone and a mini-Walkman," he said. "My award is around the fourth inning, so if I lose I might bust out of here, go to a bar and drown my sorrows."
Some celebrities incorporated small patriotic touches in their wardrobes.
Manheim wore a rhinestone pin spelling out New York and a peace symbol necklace; Steinberg's tie featured stars and stripes; Pepper sported a flag pin in his lapel.