Inside The Emmy Winners' Tent

Tony Shalhoub, left, waits back stage at the 58th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards Sunday, Aug. 27, 2006, at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.
AP Photo/Amy Sancetta
Before the Governors Ball and all the other after-parties, the Emmy celebration began in a tent behind the Shrine Auditorium.

Outfitted with its own red carpet, the tent became a winner's circle as stars redeemed the stand-in trophies they received on stage for real statuettes.

Many took the opportunity to catch a smoke, congratulate their colleagues and even grab autographs and take cell-phone pictures to mark the moment.

By the end of the night, the tent was packed. Actors in drama shows hugged members of comedy casts. Writers from "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" mixed it up with the staff of the reality show, "The Amazing Race."

A small parade of men kissed actress Helen Mirren, winner of the award for best actress in a miniseries or movie for HBO's "Elizabeth I."

"Do I have to pay the IRS for this?" Mirren joked about her statuette, an apparent reference to the tax forms included with gift baskets given to stars who participated in the ceremony.

Tony Shalhoub was reeling after his win for best actor in a comedy series for USA's "Monk."

"All the blood rushed out of my head, and I got dry mouth," he confessed. "I felt like I should be watching someone else get it."

Producer Jerry Bruckheimer, best known for his TV dramas and blockbuster action movies, was thrilled about the win for "The Amazing Race." He is executive producer of the reality show.

Bruckheimer said his group's seating to the side of the auditorium made him think the show wasn't in a good position to win.

"I didn't think we were going to do it again," he said of the show's fourth Emmy.

Earlier in the evening, Charlie and Martin Sheen took a cigarette break after presenting an award together. They were joined by "Friends" star and presenter Matthew Perry.

Jeremy Irons popped a hand-rolled smoke into his mouth and lit it before picking up his trophy for best supporting actor for a miniseries or movie.

Asked how it felt, he answered, "heavy."

"Always nice when you're nominated and actually win," he said.

Presenter Tina Fey was one of about 10 people who took spills while heading down a set of stairs. She recovered and threw her arms into the air as though seeking applause for a performance.

"I have giant bruises already," said the "Saturday Night Live" alum and star of a new NBC series.

Jeremy Piven, winner of the best supporting actor award for comedy for HBO's "Entourage," got teary eyed after thanking his late father on stage during his acceptance speech.

"That was crazy," Piven told a friend who gave him a hug as he picked up his Emmy.

The trophies were lined up in gleaming glory on either side of a notebook, where the winners signed their name to collect their prize. None of the statuettes had been engraved yet.

Television academy representative Louise Danton said nameplates would soon be mailed to all the winners.

Barry Manilow, winner of the statuette for individual performance in a variety or music program, asked, "How much are they?"

"Priceless," Danton answered.

Andre Braugher asked Manilow for his autograph while picking up his award for best actor in a miniseries or movie.
By Sandy Cohen