NEW YORK – On tonight's Daytime Emmys broadcast on ABC, you'll see the usual gorgeous soap stars and talk show hosts with their plunging necklines and high-watt smiles. You'll see tears of joy and hear thousands of thank yous.
But what you won't see is happening backstage, before the show -- that's when all the celebrity presenters get to do a little gift shopping in a small room.
And it's all free -- from jewelry to manicures and pedicures (right there) to cocktail-flavored sugars and the latest Krups coffeemaker.
"It's basically like Christmas in July," says Steve Stein, the affable co-owner of Hollwood Connection, the California firm that's handling the gift bags for the Emmys.
Stein greets the celebs and explains to them how it all works -- they'll go through the room, packed with tables full of products donated by companies hoping for that fabulous bit of publicity they can get when a star wears, baths with or talks about their product.
The stars point at what they want and it's dumped into the large canvas bag. An escort holds the bag, which can get pretty heavy.
Among the presenters will be Kelly Rippa, Sharon Osbourne (who has a daytime talk show set to debut next fall), Eric Roberts, Mark Hamill, ER star Ming-Na, Vivica J. Fox and John Ritter (the voice of Clifford the Big Red Dog, the Emmy-nominated kids' show).
There are also credit-card-size digital cameras, Cross pens, the Leatherman tool and a Baraster electronic gizmo whch hold recipes for 500 drinks.
The gift pack is valued at over $20,000.
There is even a bed big enough for two.
"It's hard for them to get a mattress in the suitcase," says Allsion Rumble of Tempwer-Pedic.
Celebs can take home a $1,700 gift certificate for that one.