Open Mic

March 2010

The One Extra Show Fox MUST Do To Send Off “24” Properly (Don’t Worry, No Spoilers Here)

Chuck Ross Posted March 30, 2010 at 6:45 AM

With the end of “24” as a TV series now officially announced, there’s one extra show Fox really needs to do to send off “24” properly.

And it’s got nothing to do with this season’s arc, per se.

I’m basically stealing this idea from Steven Melnick, the marketing maven of 20th Century Fox Television.

Over the past several years, Melnick and his team have arranged for some panel discussions featuring the on-air and behind-the-scenes talent of some of the shows 20th Century Fox Television has produced, including “24.”

These sessions—especially the ones about “24”—have been fun, fascinating, enlightening and entertaining as all get out. The audience for these discussions has been selected people who work in the TV industry on a by-invitation-only basis.

With “24” wrapping up after eight seasons, Fox needs to bring this idea to everyone who’s been a fan of the show.

Here’s how: Fox announces it’s doing this one-hour or 90-minute “wrap-up” discussion show about ‘24” that will air live soon after the night of the show’s finale.

One would hope that participating in the show would be "24" star Kiefer Sutherland, showrunner Howard Gordon, creators Joel Surnow and Bob Cochran, and other selected behind-the-scenes and on-air talent from the past eight seasons.

From the on-air side this could include Mary Lynn Rajskub (Chloe), Dennis Haysbert (President David Palmer), Carlos Bernard (Tony Almeida), Louis Lombardi (Edgar Stiles), Kim Raver (Audrey Raines), Arnold Vosloo (Habib Marwan) or any other of the hundreds of talented actors who’ve done such gripping work on “24.”

From behind-the-camera there’s also a plethora of wonderfully talented people to choose from for the panel, including directors Jon Cassar and Brad Turner, writers Evan Katz, Manny Coto and David Fury, producer Paul Gadd, composer Sean Callery, cinematographer Rodney Charters, editors David Latham and Scott Powell, and so on.

You get the idea. There’s certainly no dearth of gifted creative people who have been responsible for ‘24” over the years who could be on the panel.

Think of this as similar to the “reunion” shows Jeff Probst hosts after each season’s “Survivor.”

Only this will be a wrap-up for the entire run of “24.” A good host is a must—someone who both knows the series and can keep the proceedings moving in a fun and stimulating manner, with humor, grace and insight.

And the questions? They’ll come from all of us. To submit a question, let’s rip a page from the last presidential election. You submit your question on YouTube. The producers of the special, in conjunction with the host of the show, will cull through them and pick the best, most intriguing questions to be asked during the live program.

I think this is a terrific way to present all of us fans with closure to this great series, as we await a “24” movie. It’s a lot better than a show of highlight clips reviewing eight seasons.

Finally, given how much enjoyment so many of us have gotten from “24” over the years, let’s combine one more element into this show, taken from “ 'Idol' Gives Back.”

The show will also serve as a fundraiser to raise money to cure Parkinson’s disease. Why Parkinson’s? It’s a personal choice. My stepdad battled it for more than 25 years, so I’ve seen the ravages of Parkinson’s up close. The host of the show can simply say up front that  this special program is also a fundraiser and ask that viewers go to a website and donate whatever they can. Advertisers in the show could also be asked to donate something as well.

As I’ve previously written, I think “24” is the best thriller series ever done on TV.

As a journalist who’s covered the industry for quite awhile now, here’s one last observation I have about "24." I talk to a lot of people in media, from TV production to distribution to advertising. And what’s been striking over the past eight years is that clearly the show that got mentioned most often when I asked men in media what they watched on TV, was “24.”

The series has made its mark. Let’s see Fox send it off in the style it deserves.#

What Do You Call a Militant Vegan? Lactose Intolerant. It's the 24th Annual Genesis Awards, Presented by the Hollywood Chapter of the Humane Society (Sit, Ubu, Sit)

Hillary Atkin Posted March 25, 2010 at 11:27 PM

There was certainly no rubber chicken at this event. The Genesis Awards, which were handed out at the Beverly Hilton, pride themselves on serving a completely vegan menu to awards show attendees. (If you enjoy gardein—fake chicken—stuffed with vegan cheese and pine nuts, you were in luck.)

Yet nothing could be more appropriate under the circumstances as the 24th edition of the show, presented by the Hollywood office of the Humane Society of the United States, honored those writers, producers, directors and other creators whose artistry and integrity in television, film, newspapers and magazines have increased public awareness of animal rights and protection issues.

As the Humane Society puts it, even watchdogs need watchdogs. And with this being the year that "The Cove" won the Academy Award for best documentary, attention around animal rights issues is white-hot. Not surprisingly, "The Cove" also took home the Genesis Award for its exposé of Japan's shameful slaughter of dolphins. And the creative team, including director Louie Psihoyos, got to hold up their “Text DOLPHIN to 44144” sign for as long as they wanted, to huge applause from the jam-packed International Ballroom.

Some very tough calls had to be made in the television categories. For dramatic series, a "Bones" episode entitled "The Tough Man in the Tender Chicken"-- a complex mystery that involved inhumane treatment of chickens at slaughter houses-- went up against multiple episodes of "The Closer" which depicted the bond between people and animals and the sadness that comes when it's time to let a cherished house cat go. “Bones” took home the statuette.

Clips from shows vying for the Sid Caesar Comedy Award were intro’d by Jon Lovitz, and had the crowd in stitches. "Family Guy’s" episode “Dog Gone” won for using the animated show’s signature satiric humor to highlight the contradictory ways in which people treat animals and the apathy that allows many types of exploitation and abuse to continue. The other contending episodes were from "Monk," with a look at how having a dog can be fulfilling to even an obsessive-compulsive detective who doesn't like dog hair on the furniture and “South Park,” which skewered the hypocrisy in choosing which animals people are willing to fight for and which they decide it's okay to kill and eat.

“60 Minutes” and “Nightline” competed for the prize in the television news magazine category, but “Issues with Jane Velez-Mitchell” won for multiple segments taking a stand against animal cruelty and bringing to light some of the most egregious cases.

In the news feature category, KCBS/KCAL-TV in Los Angeles was awarded the Genesis for its stories on abuse at animal shelters and an investigation into real fur in clothing that is labeled as faux fur. KLAS TV 8 in Las Vegas won for exposing the little-known black market for shark fin soup that thrives in the US, especially at Vegas hotels catering to Asian high-rollers who look upon it as a status symbol.

"The Today Show" took home the statue for a series of reports by Jill Rappaport that spotlighted various animal rights issues, including a moving piece about a temporary sanctuary for pets of deployed military personnel.

“The Ellen DeGeneres Show" bested "Larry King Live" in the talk show category for a conversation Ellen had with “Eating Animals” author Jonathan Safran Foer.

The television documentary award went to HBO’s “Death on a Family Farm," an undercover investigation into abuse at an Ohio hog farm and the ensuing trial in which the scales of justice tipped in favor of big agribusiness.

In the reality series competition, Animal Planet’s "Whale Wars" won for taking viewers onto the front lines of the heroic struggle to save whales from being slaughtered in the name of scientific research.

One of the evening’s biggest highlights came when Melanie Griffith presented her mother, Tippi Hedren, with the HSUS lifetime achievement award for her four decades of work in protecting animals.

But the biggest winners are the untold millions of creatures around the world whose lives may be saved by the spotlight the media shines on their plight-- and whose good work the Humane Society applauds.

(The 24th Genesis Awards air on Animal Planet on April 24 and 25.) (By the way, we found the vegan joke in the headlne on an internet site, contributed by someone just calling himself or herself Pat.) #


Tiger’s Next Lady is the Right One; She Offers a Good Start for Him To Grow Up

Chuck Ross Posted March 17, 2010 at 12:35 AM

Tiger Woods’ next woman is going to be a Southern beauty. She’s luscious and genteel but has her moments of sass as well. She’ll have the aroma of sassafras, yellow jasmine, flowering peach and juniper. And this woman should be good for Woods.

I know what you're thinking, but hear me out.

The South is Faulkner country, and Woods should take the opportunity while he's down there to absorb some of the wisdom of America’s greatest wordsmith.

“Unless you’re ashamed of yourself now and then, you’re not honest,” William Faulkner once said.

“Tomorrow night is nothing but one long sleepless wrestle with yesterday’s omissions and regrets,” is from him as well.

Men in the South are gentlemen, and, as Faulkner once wrote, “A gentleman accepts the responsibility of his actions and bears the burden of their consequences.”

The last time we saw Woods, giving a speech on TV, he was full of lots and lots of words, and anger toward the media. The sound and the fury. And too much, thinks I, that signified nothing.

“Sin and love and fear are just sounds that people who never sinned nor loved nor feared have for what they never had and cannot have until they forget the words.” That’s Faulkner too, from his novel “As I Lay Dying.”

Woods isn’t dying, of course, but he’s certainly hurting and has caused a lot of hurt. But with this Southern woman, among the dogwood and pampas, the camelia and azalea, the Chinese fir and fire thorn, Woods has a chance for redemption and healing, or at least the beginning of such.

"The past is never dead," Faulkner once wrote, adding the kicker: "It’s not even past."

A novelist, Faulkner was really a great poet. And like the best poets, he innately understood our demons as well as our delights. In an interview in the Paris Review Faulkner once spoke about this conflict within all of us—and it’s perhaps particularly fitting for top athletes:

“Life is motion, and motion is concerned with what makes man move—which is ambition, power, pleasure….He is compelled to make choices between good and evil sooner or later, because moral conscience demands that from him in order that he can live with himself tomorrow. His moral conscience is the curse he had to accept from the gods in order to gain from them the right to dream.”

No one has dreamed to accomplish more than Woods, and a lot of us have dreamed along with him.

So as Tiger travels down South in a few weeks to embrace that most inspirational of Southern belles, Miss Augusta National, we wish him Godspeed. We’re confident that he’s got the skills to continue to achieve greatness on the golf course. We can only pray that he’ll develop the maturity to achieve greatness in life.

And selfishly, I say this not only for Tiger’s sake, but for ours. We need our heroes.#

The Following Takes Place Between the Third Man and the Fourth Protocol: A Tribute to '24,' TV's Best Thriller Ever

Chuck Ross Posted March 10, 2010 at 6:57 AM

With word in Variety this morning that, as expected, “24” will most likely end its run on Fox at the end of this season, I wanted to say a few words about this extraordinary, landmark TV show.

It took a genre that is best done in books and movies—the thriller—and gave us heart-pounding, adrenaline-fueled action week-in and week-out, for 24 hours, each season for eight years.

The main conceit of the show was simple and yet almost impossible to pull off well—and yet they did it, season after season.

The idea each season was to tell a thriller in real time, each hour, for 24 hours. And show creators Joel Surnow and Robert Cochran set their sights high—each hour was to be like a chapter in a good thriller novel, full of twists and turns, suspense and surprise, and end with a hook so you couldn’t wait to turn the page to read the next chapter. Yeah, right. Great to aspire to that, guys, and if you’re able to achieve it once or twice a season, good on you, as my friends down under would say.

But, son-of-a gun, Surnow and Cochran and showrunner Howard Gordon and their team of extraordinarily talented writers over the years actually reached the heights they set out to achieve.

Yes, there were bumps—and sometimes potholes—along the way. But even when I was frustrated with the show, screaming at the top of my lungs at the TV screen that no, that wouldn’t happen, or yelling at it “to give me a break, that’s stupid and ridiculous,” I almost always remained engaged, excited and couldn’t wait for the next hour.

And at its best—which has been often—“24” has been just spectacular. It’s a show that’s paid attention to the craft that makes great TV: faultless casting, sharp editing, visceral scoring, gritty cinematography, transfixing set design.

With all of this going for it behind-the-camera, all that’s been left is for “24” to deliver in front of the camera, and that it’s done in spades.

Taking their cue from Kiefer Sutherland’s intensity as Jack Bauer, the actors on the show have been Dustin Hoffman character-correct. By that I mean the acting has been so spot-on that almost every actor on the show has been totally believable as their character. Besides the actors themselves, credit the care in casting and the terrific way the show has been directed.

Not enough can be said about Sutherland. His value to the show? He’s Archie, Peyton and Eli all rolled-up in one. He’s Mantle, Maris and Mays. He’s Baryshnikov, Astaire and Rogers. He’s Beyonce, Gaga and Madonna.

 He can sing AND dance, both forwards and backwards. He can skate on ice, thick or thin. He can handle the large heavy-duty excavator and the small sub-compact tractor. He’s big city and he’s small town. He’s as calculating as Harry Lime in “The Third Man,” and as smart and resourceful as those agents Michael Caine used to play all the time in movies such as “The Ipcress File” and “The Fourth Protocol.”

To those of you who have never seen the show, I recommend you buy or rent Season 4. It’s my favorite of the series. You don’t have to have seen any of the series to fall right into it. Watch it over a weekend or two and I defy you not to come out of the experience singing the praises of “24.”

All of this being said, I’m not sad to see the series end. I am still enjoying the series, and I told Gordon just that the other day. Kudos for another terrific season.

I have some friends who say that the show has jumped the shark. I don’t agree with that assessment.

But, to be honest, there are just so many nuclear disasters from which Jack can save us. There are just so many schematics Chloe can look-up and send to Jack’s cell phone. And damnit, there are just so many “Damnits” Jack can utter.

The show is still an adrenaline rush like no other show on TV, but it’s no longer like the first time I was strapped into the ride on Space Mountain. Nor like the third time. It’s more like the 103rd time. Still a great ride, but I’m ready for the next thrill.

Sutherland still continues to involve me and amaze me. Each season he delivers an Emmy-worthy performance, and his evolution of Bauer’s character this year, with its yin-and-yang conflicts barely under the surface, is transfixing.

But I’m ready for the “24” movie. Or maybe movies. Probably like most big fans of the show, I’ve got some ideas about how Jack’s character can grow in a film. The plot I have in mind would keep the conceit of the action happening in real time, as it did in “High Noon.”

But that’s for the future. For now, the clock is still ticking on this season’s “24.” And I think during this year’s finale I’ll invite a few friends over who also have been fans of the show and I’ll open up that great vintage of Gravelly Meadow cabernet sauvignon I’ve been saving to savor on a special occasion: To the cast and crew of “24”—Thank You.#

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly That Was This Year's Oscar Broadcast

Hillary Atkin Posted March 9, 2010 at 6:35 AM

A historic win, a glaring omission, a rude interruption, tears of joy and some killer one-liners—all part of the lengthy live telecast of the 82nd annual Academy Awards on ABC.

Despite the predictability of all four of the major acting awards, the David vs. Goliath smackdown between “The Hurt Locker,” with its miniscule box office take and “Avatar,” the highest-grossing film ever, drew more than 41 million viewers—the highest since 2005, when “Million Dollar Baby” was the top pic.

It’s great news for the television industry that all of the major tentpole events so far this calendar year have done boffo ratings. The Golden Globes, the Grammy Awards, the Peoples Choice Awards, the Super Bowl—which set a record--all way up over past years, even in this age of audience fragmentation.

But back to the Oscars. Opening the show with Neil Patrick Harris doing a song-and-dance number was inspired and attention-grabbing right out of the gate, but the tune disappointed. Still, it won’t hurt his well-deserved new rep as the go-to guy for awards show hosting duties.

The Steve Martin-Alec Baldwin hosting duo also emerged eminently employable. But it was touch and go for a moment as they bantered with the likes of a moody George Clooney, a radiant in white Meryl Streep and the regal Helen Mirren—momentarily evoking the ghost of David Letterman’s doomed “Uma/Oprah” schtick and Chris Rock’s repeated dissing of Jude Law. You’ll recall neither host was asked back.

Baldwin looked a bit nervous until he landed a one-liner about a cutaway of James Cameron earning $3 million. One of Martin’s gut-busters was about Streep’s Nazi memorabilia collection. The two had the audience laughing with their 3-D glasses gag, swatting away some Avatar-ish animations with bug spray, a cutaway of them in Snuggies watching the show and a pre-taped bit on their restless night before the Oscars in a hotel room bed together.

The unpredictability of a live show always adds to the drama and these are some of the moments, bad and good, that are sticking with me:

--The interruption of the acceptance speech by the producer of the documentary short “Music by Prudence.” OMG, was this a Kanye West-type stage takeover? Roger Ross Williams was just expressing his gratitude when a woman—unknown at the time to be another producer on the film and the co-winner--took the mic and went off about how a man wouldn’t let a woman talk and then ranted on until they were played off. Shocking! “The Daily Show” put it best last night, as Jon Stewart likened her to a lady who looked like she ran the snack bar at his synagogue’s Purim festival and John Oliver more pointedly asked, “What kind of classless bitch would interrupt an Oscar acceptance speech?” Probably a type who’ll never eat lunch in this town again. Elinor Burkett—who dropped out of the project but was still a credited producer--has quickly become a joke punchline, especially after she explained that Williams’ elderly mother prevented her from reaching the stage with a cane and that Williams didn’t know where Zimbabwe was until she told him. Who would have thought such inspiring subject matter (about a music group of disabled teenagers seeking social acceptance in Zimbabwe, where handicaps are seen as a curse) would generate this much animosity?

--The omission of Farrah Fawcett from the “in memoriam” segment. The actress died last year on the same day that Michael Jackson did, and she was overshadowed—and unfairly overlooked—again. In addition to her well-known television work, Fawcett did a number of feature films, therefore “qualifying” her to make the list. When asked about the oversight, an AMPAS spokesperson basically said sorry, not everyone could be included. Then, realizing the controversy was not going away, the Academy’s head honcho said she was better known in the TV world, and the Emmys should honor her. Hey, they already did. Major dishonor of Ms. Fawcett.

--She was beautiful in blue as a Na’vi, but when Zoe Saldana stepped out on stage as a presenter, the large crowd at my viewing party gasped. Walking down the stairs, her center slit gown was inches away from something we should probably never see on the Oscars—a crotch shot. The fashion police were called; she later topped just about everyone’s worst-dressed list.

--The young stars brought in to attract a younger audience—Miley Cyrus and Kristen Stewart, I’m talking about you—thankfully did not wear mini-skirts, but needed some posture lessons. Amanda Seyfried, you were the exception.

--Very nice John Hughes tribute, but the films of his oeuvre should have been chyroned with their titles and year of release—not everyone remembers them. Funny how some of the Brat Pack set have kept their looks, and others were nearly unrecognizable. Best accolades shown to the late director came from Macaulay Culkin and Matthew Broderick.

--Cry it out. I’m not normally as susceptible to the many charms of Oprah Winfrey, but her tribute to first-time nominee Gabourey Sidibe (“you’re in the same category as Meryl Streep”) brought tears not only to Sidibe, but to the rest of us who don’t have hearts made out of ice.

--Every single one of the acting winners gave a memorable acceptance speech. Every one of them—Sandra Bullock, Jeff Bridges, Mo’Nique and Christoph Waltz—had a lot of practice by taking the statuettes at various critics and guild awards en route to the big night, and all of them reached their own pinnacle. A+.

--Breaking barriers, breaking the mold: One of the few major awards that did not go as expected (to “Up in the Air’s” Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner) was the adapted screenplay honor handed to Geoffrey Fletcher for “Precious,” making him the first African American to take home a screenwriting Oscar. It’s about time. No, it’s way past time.

And as Barbra Streisand put it as she presented the best director honor, the time had come—for Kathryn Bigelow, director of “The Hurt Locker” to make history as the first woman ever to take home the gold man in that category. And, unbelievably, only the fourth woman to ever receive a directing nod in 82 years. (Streisand herself famously faced barriers when she directed 1983’s “Yentl,” so she was the perfect choice as presenter.)

But it wasn’t over yet, even though Tom Hanks later said it was always the plan that he would not read the 10 best picture nominees—which seemed like a rush job at the time—and just open the envelope. A still-stunned Bigelow came right back out on stage to claim the top prize of the night for “The Hurt Locker,” dashing predictions that “Inglorious Basterds” might be the spoiler.

The work of one of “The Hurt Locker” producers (the money man) who sent the “illegal” email asking academy members to vote for his film over the $500 million one (and got his invitation to the ceremony revoked) obviously paid off with the film sweeping six of its nine nominations—to the three wins for “Avatar.”

The Oscars are known for moments that resonate far beyond the ceremony, sometimes for decades. Cameron, who campaigned hard the whole season and graciously congratulated ex-wife Bigelow, has now officially lived down his “king of the world” proclamation from more than a decade ago.

The underdog wins again. And where am I supposed to text Dolphin to?

How the Media Blew It in Reporting Toyota's Sales Numbers for February and the Great Brand Story Here, Thanks to Social Psychology

Chuck Ross Posted March 3, 2010 at 11:54 AM

The media really missed the boat reporting yesterday and today (March 2 and 3) on the sales of cars in the U.S. in February.

The headline for almost all of the reports was that the sales of cars made by embattled carmaker Toyota were down by almost 9%.

As those of us who are fans of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” know, while the popular choice made by the "audience" lifeline is generally right, every so often they blow it.

So it was with the press and this story about Toyota.

The real introduction to this story that newscasters should have reported is this: “Despite more negative publicity than almost any company has ever received about its products, Toyota sold 100,000 cars in February. Only General Motors and Ford, both with auto sales of about 140,000 each, sold more. Nine auto companies, including major players such as Honda, Nissan and Volkswagen, all sold few cars than embattled Toyota last month.”

The question here—and the brand lesson—is how Toyota was able to sell any cars last month, let alone be the nation’s third largest auto seller.

The first story that caught my attention about this phenomena was one I heard on National Public Radio last month. The report, emanating from a Toyota dealership, noted that despite its service department working overtime to repair Toyotas as part of the huge recall, the sales showroom was surprisingly busy with past owners looking to purchase new Toyotas.

Knowing about this potentially fatal problem that a number of Toyotas have, why would anyone actually go buy a Toyota right now?

First--and key here--is that most of the buyers are folks who have had Toyotas before. I fit in that category. The most reliable car I ever owned was a Toyota MR2 that I had for well over a decade and for close to 200,000 miles.

Would I consider buying a Toyota today? Actually, I would. Am I crazy? (Er, don’t answer that.) Are the people who bought 100,000 Toyotas in February crazy? What’s going on here?

I think it’s about cognitive dissonance. That's a theory in the field of social psychology. I learned about it in college. I’m certainly no psychologist, and I know some professional psychologists don’t buy this theory. But I’ve always found it compelling, especially in seemingly contradictory circumstances like we find with Toyota owners and their continuing to purchase Toyotas despite that fact that the cars may have life-threatening problems.

Here’s how the theory goes: You have a belief about something. In this case, people who have owned Toyotas in the past have learned to believe that they are one of the most reliable cars on the road, if not THE most reliable. They believe this because, in the past, Toyotas have indeed fit this description.

Now here comes this new information that is contradictory to that. Not only are Toyotas not actually reliable, they have a problem that is potentially life-threatening.

As someone who’s believed Toyotas are safe and reliable, what do I, and millions like me, do with this new information? One would think that the natural thing to do is to immediately change one’s view and say,”Well, Toyota has this problem and yes, I used to think they are good, but I’m not going to buy one now because I’m really worried about this problem and from what I’m reading I can’t be 100 percent positive that what they are doing will really fix the problem.”

But what actually happens for a lot us is this, consciously or not: “Hmm. I’ve always loved Toyotas. The Toyotas I’ve owned have always been great. I talked my sister-in-law into buying one. My cousin as well. They loved their’s too. Before I heard about this recall I was thinking of buying another one. Could I have been wrong about Toyota? There does seem to be a problem. OK, this might be a glitch. But it’s Toyota for chrissake. The best cars I’ve ever owned. This isn't anything like those Ford Pintos that blew up, or what Ralph Nader said years ago about the Corvair. Hell no. These are Toyotas. They ARE great!”

Yes, dear friends, it’s ye ol’ rationalization. I’ve now taken the new, negativne information about Toyota and processed it in such a way that I can still love Toyota.

Because I DO love Toyota, as do millions of others. Hey, have you seen the new Prius? Yeah, yeah, that brake problem is nothing. All fixed. But my God, even better mileage! And have you heard about the new solar roof panel that powers the ventilating fan? And on a hot day here in LA—yeah, yeah, that’s everyday here—how could you live anywhere else?—you can now turn on the air-conditioning while you’re walking to your car to cool it off! Yeah. Yeah. And…#

Costume Designers Guild Honors 'Mad Men,' 'Glee,' 'Grey Gardens'

Hillary Atkin Posted March 1, 2010 at 6:29 AM

It was the glamour of the Camelot era versus the costumes worn in the steamy environs of fictional Bon Temps, La.—and the royal finery of King Henry VIII’s era.

All are beautifully authentic costumes, many of which come off their characters at the drop off a hat.

It was “Mad Men”’s acclaimed costume designer Janie Bryant who walked away with the coveted Costume Designers Guild Award for outstanding period/fantasy TV series in ceremonies at the Beverly Hilton.

She designs not only the noteworthy early 1960s fashions for Betty and Don Draper and other key cast members, but for all the background players--up to 200 costumes per episode—and frequents vintage stores in LA and New York as she creates the sophisticated looks that have made the fashion industry stand up and take another look at the bygone era.

“It’s been such an incredible, amazing ride, and I’m honored to be in a group of such creative people,” Bryant said in her acceptance speech, giving a shout-out to executive producer and writer Matthew Weiner for giving her the time of her life.

If there was a night to show up in fashionable or attention-grabbing finery, this was it, and the “Mad Men” troupe, including Weiner in a dapper tux, didn’t disappoint. Hosted by Parker Posey and sponsored by Swarovski and Lacoste, the guild awards honor the best costume design in television, film and commercials. You don’t want to be caught in a boring dress or a stuffy suit in this crowd.

In the outstanding contemporary TV series category, “Glee”’s Lou Eyrich took home the trophy, besting designers from “Ugly Betty,” “Dancing With the Stars,” “The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency” and “Big Love.”

The career achievement in television award went to Michael Travis, who has dressed everyone from Leontyne Price to Tony Orlando, Dinah Shore and Liberace. Travis started off on Broadway before moving to television, and a well- produced video tribute showed off his work on six seasons of "Laugh-In," where he created up to 400 costumes a week.

For outstanding TV movie or miniseries, Catherine Marie Thomas won the statuette for her work on "Grey Gardens." The other nominees were Michael Denison for "Georgia O'Keefe" and Barbara Kidd for "Little Dorrit."

The late Robert Turturice, known for his work on more than 30 made-for-television movies and 19 series, including “Moonlighting,” and a former CDG president, was given the Hall of Fame Award.

Casey Storm, the costume designer of the amusing and memorable milk ad campaign “Milkquarious” won for excellence in commercials. And unlike his on-screen characters, he didn’t wear white—but a bright red suit.

The costume designers for "Crazy Heart," "The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus" and "The Young Victoria” took home the awards for excellence in film and Emily Blunt—in a fashion-forward metallic gray dress with black netting at the shoulders--was honored with the Swarovski Award.

Nicole Kidman, Anna Paquin, Anna Kendrick and Kristen Bell also scored high marks for their get-ups for the evening. And Nancy Sinatra, who with George Schlatter presented the award to Travis…well, she didn’t wear boots. It just wouldn’t have been appropriate for the occasion.