updated 09/19/2008 AT 9:00 AM ET
•originally published 09/20/2008 AT 7:00 AM ET
Don’t touch that clicker – yes, those are the sets from The Simpsons, M*A*S*H and Desperate Housewives you’ll be seeing on ABC Sunday night during the 60th annual Primetime Emmys.
“I’m going to marry some clips to each of the sets so you see them on the screen, the way you see them at home, and then you see them at the Nokia [Theater in Los Angeles] on our stage,” the live telecast’s boss, executive producer Ken Ehrlich, tells the Associated Press. “I think it’s going to be fun.”
With Two and a Half Men’s Charlie Sheen, Prime Suspect’s Helen Mirren, Entourage’s Jeremy Piven and Pushing Daisies’s Kristin Chenoweth due to open the show with popular TV catchphrases from the past six decades and Josh Groban slated to sing, Ehrlich also promises viewers will get a kick out of how the newly created best reality-show host category will be announced.
“It’s one of the most interesting ones on the show,” he says. “It’s not what you’re expecting.”
And the Nominees Are …
Period dramas ruled the nominations, what with HBO’s historical miniseries, John Adams, starring Paul Giamatti, leading the field with 23 – and already winning eight (casting, costumes, prosthetic makeup, visual effects, sound mixing, editing, cinematography and art direction) at last weekend’s largely-technical Primetime Creative Arts Emmys.
Slightly more contemporary, the circa 1960s’ Mad Men, on AMC, garnered 16 nominations – including ones for best drama series and for its leading actor, Jon Hamm – making it the leading dramatic series.
NBC’s wholly contemporary 30 Rock earned 17, including those for best comedy series – an honor it took last year – for its leading actor Alec Baldwin and for actress (and the show’s creator) Tina Fey.
At the Creative Emmys ceremony, Mad Men picked up four trophies, while 30 Rock took three. E! airs that ceremony on Saturday, Sept. 20.
For a complete list of nominees, click here.
Dueling Hosts – and Hostess
Emceeing Sunday night will be hosts from top-rated reality shows: American Idol’s Ryan Seacrest, Project Runway’s Heidi Klum, Dancing with the Stars’ Tom Bergeron, Deal or No Deal’s Howie Mandel and Survivor’s Jeff Probst – who have already previewed for Jimmy Kimmel some of their possible antics.
As for the main event – who’ll win what – two-time nominee Neil Patrick Harris, in the running this year for his supporting comedy role on CBS’s How I Met Your Mother, tells PEOPLE: “I feel like I have a little perspective. The first time you do anything, it’s always you’re processing what’s happening. It’s all-new, it’s a little deer-in-the-headlights. The second go-round, I’m not as worried about the red carpet, I’m not as worried about where you sit and the interviews. Much more calm.”
We’ll see about that Sunday night.
Additional reporting by NICHOLAS WHITE