'Veep,' 'Game of Thrones' sweep fresh air into TV's Emmys

Mon Sep 21, 2015 1:02am EDT
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By Jill Serjeant and Piya Sinha-Roy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - HBO shows "Game of Thrones" and "Veep" won the top prizes at the Emmy Awards for the first time on Sunday, bringing a breath of fresh air to television's biggest night on an evening that also made history for black actresses.

Jon Hamm finally snared an Emmy for his lead role as Don Draper in AMC's 1960s advertising drama "Mad Men," winning a standing ovation from the audience.

"There's been a terrible mistake clearly," said Hamm, who clambered onto the stage rather than walking up the stairs. "It's incredible and impossible for me to be standing here."

Hamm said playing a character like the secretive Draper for so long had been both a blessing and a curse.

"It doesn't come without a cost and a lot of mental and emotional baggage that gets torn through and weighs on you after a while," he told reporters backstage.

But "Mad Men," a four-time best drama series winner, was shut out of all the other categories and had to be content with just Hamm's Emmy after closing its final season earlier this year.

Instead, the 18,000 voters of the Television Academy threw their support behind the HBO medieval fantasy series "Game of Thrones," which was the night's biggest winner with 12 Emmys.

The top Emmy prize had always eluded the series, which is based on George R.R. Martin's books about blood-thirsty nobles and warring kingdoms, despite its 20 million viewers in the United States. On Sunday, it also won awards for writing, directing and for supporting actor Peter Dinklage.   Continued...

Cast members of HBO's "Veep," from left, Sufe Bradshaw, Matt Walsh, Sam Richardson, Reid Scott, Kevin Dunn, Timothy Simons, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tony Hale and Anna Chlumsky, pose backstage after the show won the award for Outstanding Comedy Series during the 67th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, California September 20, 2015.  REUTERS/Mike Blake