LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - It was out with the old and in with the new at the Primetime Emmy awards on Sunday, with a slew of first-timers and new shows shaking up the U.S. television industry’s highest honors.
Period advertising drama “Mad Men” and actor Bryan Cranston who plays a teacher turned drug dealer in “Breaking Bad” were among a handful of repeat winners at a three-hour ceremony broadcast live from Los Angeles.
“It was completely unexpected. The quality of the nominees this year was phenomenal,” said “Mad Men” star Jon Hamm, as the show won the best drama Emmy for the third straight year.
“I feel gluttonous. It’s more than I can take in,” Cranston also a third-time winner, said backstage.
Seven of the eight major acting Emmys went to newcomers or first-time Emmy winners, injecting new life into an industry that is fighting with social networking and videogames for dwindling audiences.
The 2009 Emmys had produced virtually the same winners in the leading categories as the previous year.
Comedies got the biggest shake-up. “Modern Family” — an affectionate ABC mockumentary — walked off with the coveted best comedy series, and the best comedy writing Emmy after one season, beating popular Fox rival “Glee,” which had gone into Sunday with a leading 19 nominations.
Jim Parsons, the geeky physicist of “The Big Bang Theory,” won the best comedy actor Emmy, ending the two-year reign of “30 Rock” star Alec Baldwin.
Edie Falco took home her first Emmy for comedy for her role as the pill-popping “Nurse Jackie,” while Jane Lynch, the scheming cheerleader coach of “Glee” was a first-time winner as best supporting actress.
Kyra Sedgwick won her first Emmy in five tries for playing a tough police detective in drama series “The Closer.”
“You think you don’t have a chance in hell of winning after five times ... today I’m beyond my wildest dreams,” Sedgwick said afterward.
Even the reality competition slot had a new champion, with “Top Chef” ending the six-year reign of “The Amazing Race.”
Ryan Murphy, creator of musical comedy “Glee,” won his first Emmy for directing the Fox series about a struggling high school choir.
“‘Glee’ is about the importance of arts education, so I would like to dedicate this to all my teachers who taught me to sing and finger-paint,” Murphy said of his award.
“Glee” won just four Emmys, despite having taken popular culture and the music world by storm this year.
But the show was still the flavor of the night on Sunday’s Emmy telecast. Host Jimmy Fallon opened the show with a skit that roped actresses Tina Fey, Betty White, reality TV star Kate Gosselin and Hamm into an impromptu “Glee”-style cover version of the Bruce Springsteen classic “Born to Run.”
The sweeping World War Two epic HBO mini-series “The Pacific” won eight Emmys, but was almost upstaged by HBO’s biopic “Temple Grandin,” which won seven, including a best actress award for Claire Danes.
Al Pacino won an Emmy for playing controversial assisted suicide doctor Jack Kevorkian in the HBO film “You Don’t Know Jack.” Kevorkian was in the Emmy audience and stood to acknowledge the applause. (Editing by Eric Walsh)