October 01, 2007 12:00 PM

THE EMMY AWARDS

From the in-the-round format to first-time host Ryan Seacrest, this year’s Emmys were all about mixing things up. And the idea of doing something new extended beyond the Sept. 16 telecast: A night earlier, PEOPLE joined with Variety, Target, JP Morgan Chase and Anheuser-Busch to sponsor the Motion Picture & Television Fund’s inaugural “Evening Before” party at L.A.’s Century Park. Featuring a menu that included braised short ribs and Wagyu beef prepared by Top Chef cohost (and nominee) Tom Colicchio, the event drew such stars as Tom Hanks, Ellen Pompeo, Debra Messing and Brooke Shields—and raised $2 million for the Fund, which provides, among other things, health-care and retirement assistance to industry folks in need. “The Emmys,” explains Fund chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg, “are an important part of our wider community.”

The updating trend continued the following night, with the Entertainment Tonight & PEOPLE post-Emmy party relocating to a new venue: L.A.’s Walt Disney Concert Hall. As Duran Duran performed, Felicity Huffman rocked out with husband William H. Macy, newlyweds Kate Walsh and movie exec Alex Young snuggled, and Heroes’ Hayden Panettiere and Masi Oka showed some out-of-this-world moves on the dance floor. Other treats? Beauty bars hosted by Garnier and Maybelline New York, and the LG lounge, where red carpet highlights were replayed on 50-in. plasma screens. Throughout, the 1,200-plus guests cooled off by lingering outside on the patio near a mosaic fountain. Watching Hollywood’s brightest let loose on Emmy night—as you’ll see in our coverage beginning on p. 70—was equally refreshing.

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