The television series "Mad Men" won the best drama series award at the 62nd annual Emmy Awards while "Modern Family" dethroned "30 Rock" as the best comedy show.
"Mad Men," which tells the story of an advertising agency in the 1960s, won the outstanding drama series award for the third year in a row.
"Modern Family," which makes fun of the everyday life of three American families, emerged as the top winner for outstanding comedy series.
Television movie "Temple Grandin," about a woman who triumphed over autism, also did well, boosting the standing of its producer, the Home Box Office cable television network.
The movie swept three prizes: Claire Danes won for lead actress in a movie or miniseries; Julia Ormond won supporting actress; and David Strathairn won the supporting actor award.
|Actress Edie Falco accepts the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series award onstage at the 62nd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards held at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles, California|
Hollywood's glitterati were out in force Sunday to fete television's finest performances, with actress Edie Falco nabbing one of the first coveted statuettes of the evening.
The evening at Los Angeles' Nokia Theater got underway with Falco, an alumna of the hit show "The Sopranos" winning away top acting honors for her starring turn in the show "Nurse Jackie," a dark comedy in which she depicts a drug-abusing hospital worker.
"This is just the most ridiculous thing that has ever happened in the history of this ceremony," a flabbergasted Falco told the audience. "I'm not funny!"
As the comedy "Modern Family" won the top prize in the genre, Ryan Murphy scooped an Emmy for directing "Glee," another popular situation comedy show.
"Glee," which entered the award season with 19 nominations, picked up a total of only two statuettes. In addition to Murphy, Jane Lynch won for supporting actress for playing in the show a supercompetitive cheerleading coach.
Producer Tom Hanks' and Steven Spielberg's epic World War II miniseries "The Pacific" got the prize for outstanding mini-series. The production made the HBO cable television network the most prominent in the event, with 101 nominations this year.
The show covers the exploits of young American soldiers proudly defending their nation after Japan's surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.
Kyra Sedgwick won her first Emmy, for actress in a drama series, playing a tough Los Angeles policewoman in TNT's drama series "The Closer."
Bryan Cranston for the third year in a row won for lead actor in a drama for "Breaking Bad," where he plays a deranged chemistry professor turned methamphetamine dealer.
Other winners included Adam Mazer for writing the screenplay for the TV movie "You Don't Know Jack."
Jim Parsons took a Grammy for best actor in a comedy series for his performance in CBS's "The Big Bang Theory" while Eric Stonestreet won the best supporting actor award in a comedy for playing half of the gay couple on the ABC hit comedy series "Modern Family."
Al Pacino, who plays the much maligned right-to-die activist in "You Don't Know Jack", won the outstanding best lead actor award in a miniseries or a movie.
In Sunday's award ceremony, George Clooney, who led a galaxy of stars in a January telethon fundraiser for Haiti's earthquake victims, received a special Emmy for his humanitarian efforts.
The 49-year-old Hollywood heartthrob was honored for hosting the "Hope for Haiti Now" special, as well as his efforts to raise funds for victims of Hurricane Katrina and raise awareness of the crisis in Darfur.
"George was an obvious choice for this honor," said John Shaffner, chairman and chief executive of the Television Academy.
"It's important to remember how many good things can be done because we live in such strange times where bad behaviors suck up all the attention in the press, and the people who really need the spotlight -- the Sudanese, people in the Gulf Coast, people in Pakistan -- they can't get any," Clooney told the audience after accepting the award from his former "ER" co-star Julianna Margulies.
The actor expressed regret that many of the current humanitarian efforts become short-lived and fizzle soon after television cameras go away.
"The hard part is seven months later, five years later," he said. "Honestly, we fail at that, most of the time."