Legwork: '24,' 'Office' get their due
EmptyFox's "24" and NBC's "The Office" were both close to cancellation after their first seasons, but on Sunday night each walked away with the top award in their category.
After waiting out shaky Nielsen starts, the networks stuck with the shows, and Sunday "24" went home with the best drama series and best actor in a drama series Emmys, while "The Office" was named best comedy series.
"24" executive producer Howard Gordon noted in his onstage remarks the show's unsteady beginnings in terms of viewership.
"I want to thank Bob (Cochran) and Joel (Surnow) for creating a show that most people didn't think would last for one year, let alone six. But here we are," he said.
In addition to its accolades and making it to a sixth season, which premieres in January, "24" has become so successful that there is a feature film version in the works, which co-creator/executive producer Robert Cochran noted backstage could be set in Afghanistan or Washington.
Star Kiefer Sutherland, who also serves as co-executive producer, said backstage that taking home two Emmys -- his first ever -- for the series was an "incredibly humbling experience."
"I'm very grateful to have the opportunity to do the show and very lucky to have run into this character, and I'm glad people are enjoying it," he said.
"The Office" -- created by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant -- was a hit in the U.K. before making its way to the U.S. with an all-new cast. In his remarks to reporters backstage, Greg Daniels, executive producer of the U.S. version, addressed the skeptics who originally thought the show couldn't live up to its predecessor .
"People thought it was going to be hard to adapt an English show, but I speak English, so I had a little leg up," he joked, adding that "it was such a good show in the first place that I don't think it was as hard as people actually thought it would be to adapt. A lot of it came from making good hires."
The show came back stronger during its second season, helped by its exposure on iTunes, with viewers able to download and watch episodes, as well as its "My Name Is Earl" lead-in.
Star Steve Carell addressed the U.S. show's modest start in terms of the ratings backstage.
"That's how it felt at first -- that we were doing the show in a bubble and doing it just for us," he said. "But ultimately it seems to be catching on, which is great."