60th Primetime Emmys: a night of firsts

'John Adams' sets trophies record; win streak bar raised

It was a record-breaking night at the 60th Primetime Emmy Awards, with HBO's "John Adams" establishing a new standard for most wins for a program in a single year and CBS' "The Amazing Race" and Comedy Central's "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" posting unprecedented sixth consecutive best series wins.

Overall, there were few surprises as the three most nominated programs, "John Adams" (23 noms), NBC's "30 Rock" (17) and AMC's "Mad Men" (16) dominated the longform, comedy and drama fields.

With its best drama series trophy, "Mad Men" became the first basic cable program to win a major series category. In addition to the "30 Rock" repeat as best comedy series, its creator/star Tina Fey also won Emmys for lead comedy actress and comedy series writing, while "Mad" walked away with a drama writing Emmy for creator Matthew Weiner.

The haul for "John Adams" included wins for best miniseries, for stars Paul Giamatti, Laura Linney and Tom Wilkinson and for writer Kirk Ellis. Combined with eight wins at the Creative Arts Emmy ceremony earlier this month, the mini walked away with a total of 13 Emmys, two more than the previous record held by HBO's "Angels In America" and ABC's "Eleanor and Franklin."

HBO was the top winner for the night with 10 Emmys, followed by NBC with four and ABC and AMC with three apiece.

Following a season in which broadcast networks' schedules were heavily disrupted by the writers strike while the cable nets enjoyed critical and ratings resurgence, cable dominated the Emmys.

Cable series swept the drama acting categories, with FX's "Damages" nabbing two nods, including a leading actress one for star Glenn Close and a supporting actor one for first-time nominee Zeljko Ivanek. In a surprise win, Bryan Cranston, star of AMC's "Breaking Bad," beat out Golden Globe winner and "Mad Men" star Jon Hamm for lead actor in a drama series. Supporting actress honors went to Dianne Wiest for HBO's "In Treatment."

Overall, all main series honors went to critically acclaimed but ratings-challenged series: "Mad Men," "30 Rock," "Damages" and "Breaking Bad."

"We're all just grateful to have jobs in this turkey-burger economy," said Fey.

In the lead comedy acting field, Fey shared honors with her "30 Rock" co-star Alec Baldwin who was named best actor. Turning to Fey, Baldwin annointed her as "the Elaine May of her generation."

The TV Academy can't heap enough praise on Jeremy Piven's portrayal of an abrasive Hollywood agent. The actor's role on HBO's comedy "Entourage" earned him a third consecutive supporting trophy. On the distaff side, Jean Smart won for her role in ABC's "Samantha Who?"

Speaking of streaks, both "Daily Show" and "Amazing Race" posted sixth consecutive wins in the best variety/music/comedy series and best reality competition series, respectively, breaking the record of five wins in a row held by NBC's "Frasier" (best comedy series) and CBS' "The Late Show with David Letterman" (variety/music/comedy).

The star of another CBS reality show, "Survivor" host Jeff Probst took home the first-ever trophy for best reality show host for CBS' "Survivor."

Sunday marked the 60th anniversary of the Primetime Emmy Awards, and producers celebrated throughout the show with tributes to iconic TV phrases, sets, shows, including "Laugh-In" and "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," and theme songs. A game Josh Groban performed several of the latter, including "South Park," "Happy Days" and "Cops," and even rapped his way through the "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" theme.

During the show, Tommy Smothers was presented a 60th-anniversary commemorative Emmy for writing achievement after having removed himself from consideration for the 1960s show "The Smother Brothers Comedy Hour." But he turned serious in his remarks.

"Freedom of writing and freedom of speech aren't really important unless they're heard, so the freedom of hearing is just about as important as the freedom of speaking," he said.

Barry Sonnenfeld, who won for directing ABC's "Pushing Daisies," made his own statement at the end of his acceptance speech.

"Love TV and fear the Internet," he said.

The ceremony was hosted by the five reality show host nominees -- Probst, Tom Bergeron, Heidi Klum, Howie Mandel and Ryan Seacrest -- who joked in their opening that they were completely unscripted in their remarks. And it showed.

Piven said onstage: "What if I just kept talking for 12 minutes? What would happen?"

One of the night's highlights was a bit between "Extras'" Ricky Gervais and "The Office" star Steve Carell, the latter of whom accepted Gervais' lead actor Emmy last year in his absence, where Gervais accused Carell of keeping Gervais' statuette.

"I made you what you are and I get nothing back?" joked Gervais, who co-created the original British "Office" and originated the character played in the U.S. version by Carell. "I sat through 'Evan Almighty,' so give me my Emmy."

The ceremony was held at a new venue this year, the Nokia Theatre in downtown Los Angeles. Many attendees seemed pleased with the new venue, citing the eight big screens and functional decor. The only major hitch Sunday was that, earlier in the day, the vehicle checkpoints for the media and other non-celebrity attendees were held up for several minutes after police found an aerosol rifle in the trunk of one car and detained three people.

The complete list of winners can be found on the next page.


Jeremy Piven, supporting actor in a comedy series: Jean Smart, supporting actress in a comedy series; Zeljko Ivanek, supporting actor in a drama series; Dianne Wiest, supporting actress in a drama series; "The Colbert Report," writing for variety, music or comedy series; Laura Linney, lead actress in a miniseries or movie; "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart," outstanding variety, music or comedy series; Tina Fey, outstanding writing in a comedy series, "30 Rock"; "Recount," outstanding made-for-television movie; Tom Wilkinson, supporting actor in a miniseries or movie; Eileen Atkins, supporting actress in a miniseries or movie; "The Amazing Race," reality competition program; Barry Sonnenfeld, directing for a comedy series; "John Adams," miniseries; Don Rickles, individual performance in a variety or music program; Greg Yaitanes ("House"), directing for a drama series; Paul Giamatti, lead actor in a miniseries or movie; Alec Baldwin, lead actor in a comedy series; Glenn Close, lead actress in a drama series; Bryan Cranston, lead actor in a drama series; Tina Fey, lead actress in a comedy series; Jeff Probst, host for a reality or reality-competition program; "30 Rock," outstanding comedy series; "Mad Men," outstanding drama series

Nominees (winners in bold):

Outstanding drama series

Boston Legal (ABC)
Damages (FX)
Dexter (Showtime)
House (Fox)
Lost (ABC)
Mad Men (AMC)

Outstanding comedy series

Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO)
Entourage (HBO)
The Office (NBC)
30 Rock (NBC)
Two and a Half Men (CBS)

Outstanding miniseries

The Andromeda Strain (A&E)
Cranford (PBS)
John Adams (HBO)
Tin Man (Sci Fi Channel)

Outstanding made-for-television movie

Bernard and Doris (HBO)
Extras: The Extra Special Series Finale (HBO)
The Memory Keeper's Daughter (Lifetime)
A Raisin in the Sun (ABC)
Recount (HBO)

Outstanding variety, music or comedy series

The Colbert Report (Comedy Central)
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart (Comedy Central)
Late Show With David Letterman (CBS)
Real Time With Bill Maher (HBO)
Saturday Night Live (NBC)

Lead actor in a comedy series

Tony Shalhoub, Monk (USA)
Steve Carell, The Office (NBC)
Lee Pace, Pushing Daisies (ABC)
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock (NBC)
Charlie Sheen, Two and a Half Men (CBS)

Lead actor in a drama series

James Spader, Boston Legal (ABC)
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad (AMC)
Michael C. Hall, Dexter (Showtime)
Hugh Laurie, House (Fox)
Gabriel Byrne, In Treatment (HBO)
Jon Hamm, Mad Men (AMC)

Lead actor in a miniseries or movie

Ralph Fiennes, Bernard and Doris (HBO)
Ricky Gervais, Extras: The Extra Special Series Finale (HBO)
Paul Giamatti, John Adams (HBO)
Kevin Spacey, Recount (HBO)
Tom Wilkinson, Recount (HBO)

Lead actress in a comedy series

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, The New Adventures of Old Christine (CBS)
Christina Applegate, Samantha Who? (ABC)
Tina Fey, 30 Rock (NBC)
America Ferrera, Ugly Betty (ABC)
Mary-Louise Parker, Weeds (Showtime)

Lead actress in a drama series

Sally Field, Brothers & Sisters (ABC)
Kyra Sedgwick, The Closer (TNT)
Glenn Close, Damages (FX)
Mariska Hargitay, Law & Order: SVU (NBC)
Holly Hunter, Saving Grace (TNT)

Lead actress in a miniseries or movie

Catherine Keener, An American Crime (Showtime)
Susan Sarandon, Bernard and Doris (HBO)
Judi Dench, Cranford (PBS)
Laura Linney, John Adams (HBO)
Phylicia Rashad, A Raisin in the Sun (ABC)

Supporting actor in a comedy series

Jeremy Piven, Entourage (HBO)
Kevin Dillon, Entourage (HBO)
Neil Patrick Harris, How I Met Your Mother (CBS)
Rainn Wilson, The Office (NBC)
Jon Cryer, Two and a Half Men (CBS)

Supporting actor in a drama series

William Shatner, Boston Legal (ABC)
Ted Danson, Damages (FX)
Zeljko Ivanek, Damages (FX)
Michael Emerson, Lost (ABC)
John Slattery, Mad Men (AMC)

Supporting actor in a miniseries or movie

David Morse, John Adams (HBO)
Stephen Dillane, John Adams (HBO)
Tom Wilkinson, John Adams (HBO)
Denis Leary, Recount (HBO)
Bob Balaban, Recount (HBO)

Supporting actress in a comedy series

Kristin Chenoweth, Pushing Daisies (ABC)
Jean Smart, Samantha Who? (ABC)
Amy Poehler, Saturday Night Live (NBC)
Holland Taylor, Two and a Half Men (CBS)
Vanessa Williams, Ugly Betty (ABC)

Supporting actress in a drama series

Candice Bergen, Boston Legal (ABC)
Rachel Griffiths, Brothers & Sisters (ABC)
Chandra Wilson, Grey's Anatomy (ABC)
Sandra Oh, Grey's Anatomy (ABC)
Dianne Wiest, In Treatment (HBO)

Supporting actress in a miniseries or movie

Eileen Atkins, Cranford (PBS)
Ashley Jensen, Extras: The Extra Special Series Finale (HBO)
Alfre Woodard, Pictures of Hollis Woods (CBS)
Audra McDonald, A Raisin in the Sun (ABC)
Laura Dern, Recount (HBO)

Guest actor in a comedy series

Shelley Berman, Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO)
Rip Torn, 30 Rock (NBC)
Will Arnett, 30 Rock (NBC)
Steve Buscemi, 30 Rock (NBC)
Tim Conway, 30 Rock (NBC)

Guest actor in a drama series

Stanley Tucci, ER (NBC)
Glynn Turman, In Treatment (HBO)
Robin Williams, Law & Order: SVU (NBC)
Robert Morse, Mad Men (AMC)
Oliver Platt, Nip/Tuck (FX)
Charles Durning, Rescue Me (FX)

Guest actress in a comedy series

Polly Bergen, Desperate Housewives (ABC)
Kathryn Joosten, Desperate Housewives (ABC)
Sarah Silverman, Monk (USA)
Carrie Fisher, 30 Rock (NBC)
Edie Falco, 30 Rock (NBC)
Elaine Stritch, 30 Rock (NBC)

Guest actress in a drama series

Ellen Burstyn, Big Love (HBO)
Diahann Carroll, Grey's Anatomy (ABC)
Cynthia Nixon, Law & Order: SVU (NBC)
Anjelica Huston, Medium (NBC)
Sharon Gless, Nip/Tuck (FX)

Individual performance in a variety or music program

Jon Stewart, 80th Annual Academy Awards (ABC)
Stephen Colbert, The Colbert Report (Comedy Central)
David Letterman, Late Show With David Letterman (CBS)
Don Rickles, Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project (HBO)
Tina Fey, Saturday Night Live (NBC)

Host for a reality or reality-competition program

Ryan Seacrest, American Idol (Fox)
Tom Bergeron, Dancing With the Stars (ABC)
Howie Mandel, Deal or No Deal (NBC)
Heidi Klum, Project Runway (Bravo)
Jeff Probst, Survivor (CBS)

Directing for a comedy series

Entourage -- No Cannes Do; Dan Attias, director
Flight of the Conchords -- Sally Returns; James Bobin, director
The Office -- Money (Parts 1 & 2); Paul Lieberstein, director
The Office -- Goodbye, Toby; Paul Feig, director
Pushing Daisies -- Pie-Lette; Barry Sonnenfeld, director
30 Rock -- Rosemary's Baby; Michael Engler, director

Directing for a drama series

Boston Legal -- The Mighty Rogues; Arlene Sanford, director
Breaking Bad -- Pilot; Vince Gilligan, director
Damages -- Pilot; Allen Coulter, director
House -- House's Head; Greg Yaitanes, director
Mad Men -- Smoke Gets in Your Eyes (Pilot); Alan Taylor, director

Outstanding animated program (less than one hour)

Creature Comforts America (CBS)
King of the Hill (Fox)
Robot Chicken (Cartoon Network)
SpongeBob SquarePants (Nickelodeon)
The Simpsons (Fox)

Outstanding animated program (one hour or more)

Blue Harvest (Fox)
Imaginationland (Comedy Central)
Justice League: The New Frontier (Warner Bros. on Demand)