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Cast of Roots, Emmys Backstage

AP Photo/Reed Saxon

6:44 p.m.:  The cast of Roots, we're told, is available for questions.

6:45 p.m.:  How can you ask questions of the cast of Roots when you really just want to stare reverently?

6:50 p.m.:  That Cicely Tyson isn't a legend—she's a pistol. She corrects a reporter who refers to the assembled actors as guys. "Leslie Uggams and I," she enunciates in that precise way she enunciates, "are ladies."

6:53 p.m.:   Even with the TV sound down, comic Lewis Black is shouting so loud on the telecast he's threatening to drown out LeVar Burton, currently on a riff back here about the Barack Obama presidential campaign.

6:53 p.m.:  Tyson's at it again. This time she's taking on Burton over whether Roots was TV's first miniseries. Burton suggests it was one of the first; Tyson insists it was the first. "It started that format," she declares.

6:54 p.m.:  Who's going to tell Tyson that the likes of Rich Man, Poor Man and Upstairs, Downstairs were doing the miniseries thing before Roots took root? Not I.

—Filed by Joal Ryan