LOS ANGELES – With the 62nd Primetime Emmy Awards just days away, the round-the-clock preparations are already under way at the Nokia Theatre, where the awards will be presented Sunday. Here's a look at what's already happening in Hollywood leading up to television's biggest night:
STARRY, STARRY NIGHT: After winning (or losing) Emmys, 3,600 celebrities and other invitees will end the evening at the Governors Ball inside the West Hall of the Los Angeles Convention Center, just steps away from the Nokia Theatre. The behemoth 57,600-square-foot space has already been transformed into a celestial heaven for Sunday's galactic dinner party.
"This is a very large room," said designer Dwight Jackson. "It's bigger than a football field."
To turn the colossal hall into an intimate ballroom, the space has been surrounded by 50,000-square-feet of black drapery. Thousands of tiny mirror balls dangle from the ceiling around a giant disco ball encased in a glittering sun sculpture hung above the stage, while giant glowing spheres representing each sign of the zodiac circle the dance floor.
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During a preview event Wednesday, attendees noshed on samples of this year's Governors Ball menu: crab salad with avocado mouse and salsa verde, rack of lamb with grilled eggplant and rosemary juice, an assortment of brownies and cakes for dessert and The Emmy, a cocktail made with orange-flavored vodka, peach brandy, lime juice, simple syrup and bitters.
SETTING THE STAGE: Stagehands were hard at work Wednesday constructing the sprawling Emmys set on stage inside the Nokia Theatre. Unlike last year's show, which featured the control room in a corner of the stage, this year's scenery includes five giant flatscreens, vertical lights and multiple copper and white walls covered in a textured square pattern.
Meanwhile, in the audience, placards mark celebs' spots. The "Modern Family" brood is next to the "Lost" castaways, while the "Glee" student body is across from the "30 Rock" team. Among those with front-row seats are Neil Patrick Harris, Jon Hamm, Julianna Margulies and Betty White, who won at the Creative Arts Emmys for her "Saturday Night Live" hosting gig.
RED CARPET ROLLOUT: The Emmys are a big deal. Just ask Jimmy Fallon. The host said he was reminded of the ceremony's importance when dozens of photographers and reporters were on hand Wednesday morning to document him merely unraveling a roll of carpet with executive producer Don Mischner and Academy of Television Arts and Sciences chairman John Schaffner.
"This is insane," said Fallon. "We just rolled out the carpet. That's all we did."
For the third year, the show will be held at the Nokia Theatre in downtown Los Angeles and the red carpet — more like a red sidewalk, really — will canvas the entire plaza across from the Staples Center. Before the rollout, Fallon joked he hoped this year's red carpet unveiling would go better than last year when "we rolled it out, and Paula Abdul was found."