Low-rated but critically hailed ran as a theme throughout the 60th annual Primetime Emmy Awards, as AMC’s “Mad Men” and NBC’s “30 Rock” took top acclaim.
In a watershed moment for scripted cable, AMC’s “Mad Men” took home a drama series Emmy, marking the first time a basic-cable show has achieved the honor.
- TVWeek’s Emmy Central 2008, full Emmys coverage here.
Basic cable also swept up awards for lead actor and actress in a drama, with Bryan Cranston of AMC’s “Breaking Bad” and Glenn Close of FX’s “Damages.”
“Men” brought in six awards for AMC this year.
On the comedy side, NBC’s “30 Rock” dominated for yet another year, grabbing several top nods, including Alec Baldwin and Tina Fey for lead actors in a comedy series, as well as Ms. Fey for writing.
Between the Creative Arts and Primetime Emmy Awards, “30 Rock” won seven trophies.
“We are very, very grateful to have jobs in this turkey burger economy,” Ms. Fey said about her comedy series win.
Overall, HBO was the network with the most trophies, taking home 10 on Sunday.
Among the Big Four broadcast networks, NBC brought in four Emmys, ABC grabbed three awards and CBS took two. Fox ended the night with one win.
In an election year, the 60th annual Emmys took on a decidedly political tone, with several winners and presenters urging viewers to vote.
Other comments on the current political climate came from Tommy Smothers, honored with a special Emmy for his work on “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.” “And it’s hard for me to stay silent when I keep hearing that peace is only obtainable through war, and there’s nothing more scary than watching ignorance in action,” Mr. Smothers said.
Also, Kirk Ellis, winner of writing of a miniseries for “John Adams,” was cut off by a commercial during his comments about leaders using words to prove their points.
“Thank you, Tom Hanks, Gary Goetzman, Michael Lombardo, Colin Callender for giving me this amazing opportunity, this amazing opportunity to talk about a period in our history when articulate men articulated complex thoughts in complete sentences. They used
words…,” he said before getting dumped to commercial. (Backstage, Mr. Ellis filled in that thought, saying those men used words instead of swords to make their points.)
HBO’s historical miniseries “John Adams” made its own history during Sunday’s telecast, grabbing 13 statuettes, making it the most decorated miniseries ever.
“Adams” usurps the previous record holder, HBO’s “Angels in America,” which had 11.
Also setting a new record, “The Amazing Race’s” sixth win in reality-competition program takes the most best series wins, beating “Fraiser’s” five-year run in the comedy series category.
In the new category of reality show host, the inaugural award went to Jeff Probst of “Survivor,” one of five co-hosts of the Emmy telecast. “We really feel honored to be a part of this family. Thank you for letting reality in,” he said.
Freshman series “Pushing Daisies” and “In Treatment” were among new shows that won Emmys.
“Daisies'” Barry Sonnenfeld plucked a win in the comedy director category, while “Treatment’s” Dianne Wiest grabbed an Emmy as supporting actress in a drama.
“Damages'” Zeljko Ivanek was a surprise victor as supporting actor in a drama series, besting several Emmy veterans, including William Shatner and his “Damages'” castmate Ted Danson.
Among repeat winners, Jeremy Piven hugged it out with his third consecutive supporting actor Emmy for his performance as Ari Gold on “Entourage.”
Mr. Piven knocked the free-form opening of the show, which saw co-hosts Ryan Seacrest, Mr. Probst, Tom Bergeron and Howie Mandel talking about how they “had nothing” while co-host Heidi Klum looked on.
“What if I kept talking for 12 minutes? That was the opening!” Mr. Piven said.
Jean Smart also received her third trophy as supporting actress in a comedy, this time for her performance as Regina Newly on ABC’s “Samantha Who?”