(Recasts, adds quotes, details)
By Mary Milliken and Eric Kelsey
LOS ANGELES Aug 25 For all the talk about
newcomers raising the game of television, the industry on Monday
chose to bestow its top Emmys on the long-running shows
"Breaking Bad" and "Modern Family" and long-time television
actors who held off challenges from film stars.
"Breaking Bad," AMC's unlikely tale of a teacher-turned-drug
kingpin Walter White, won the night's biggest honor, the Emmy
for best drama series, for the second year in a row while lead
Bryan Cranston took best drama actor for the fourth time in that
It was a nostalgic vote of sorts for the series after it
ended on the fifth season with widespread acclaim and devoted
binge-watching fans. It held off the ballyhooed HBO anthology,
"True Detective," the bayou thriller starring Oscar winner
Matthew McConaughey and fellow film star Woody Harrelson, who
"Thank you so much for this wonderful farewell to our show,"
said "Breaking Bad" creator Vince Gilligan, who also celebrated
Emmy wins in best supporting actor and actress categories for
Aaron Paul and Anna Gunn.
"This is indeed a wonderful time to be working in
television," Gilligan added. "I think you all know that."
"Modern Family," ABC's light-hearted take on contemporary
family dynamics, won its fifth consecutive Emmy for best comedy
series, leaving Netflix Inc's dark jailhouse comedy "Orange Is
the New Black" as one of the big losers of the night.
The 66th annual Primetime Emmys took a somber turn toward
the end to remember Robin Williams, the versatile actor and
comedian who died two weeks ago in an apparent suicide at the
age of 63.
With a lump in his throat and a tremble in his voice, actor
Billy Crystal remembered the madcap performer as "the brightest
star in a comedy galaxy" and concluded: "Robin Williams - what a
BROADCASTERS DEFY PREDICTIONS
There were plenty of laughs in television's biggest night,
from Julia Louis-Dreyfus passionately locking lips with
"Seinfeld" guest star Cranston to Melissa McCarthy asking if her
car would be towed.
When asked about the prolonged smooch later, Cranston
quipped: "I think it's not a question of 'why?,' more a question
of 'why not?'"
First-time Emmys host, comedian Seth Meyers, took early
pokes at the stalwart broadcasters facing edgy competition from
Netflix, the first outlet to win acclaim for original content
streamed online with political thriller "House of Cards."
But this year's Emmys, handed out by the Academy of
Television Arts and Sciences, signalled that there was still
plenty of love for the likes of ABC and CBS, particularly in the
realm of comedy.
ABC's "Modern Family" made history by tying 1990s NBC sitcom
"Frasier" for the most comedy victories.
"'Modern Family' has been a big, beautiful dream for the
last five years and we thank you for not waking us up," said
series co-creator Steven Levitan.
Although the big broadcasters did not have a horse in the
race for best drama, Julianna Margulies won best drama actress
for her role as lawyer Alicia Florrick in CBS's "The Good Wife."
"I feel like this is the golden age of television, but it's
also the time for women in television," said Margulies. "I feel
very grateful to be here."
Jim Parsons won his fourth lead acting Emmy for playing the
pedantic nerd Sheldon in the CBS comedy "The Big Bang Theory,"
and Louis-Dreyfus won her third consecutive Emmy for her role as
the foul-mouthed, gaffe-prone U.S. Vice President Selina Meyer
on HBO's political satire "Veep."
"I love the idea of being powerful and powerless at the same
time, it mirrors Hollywood in some ways," said Louis-Dreyfus of
her Selina character.
In other comedy awards, comedian Louis C.K. won his second
writing award for his FX show "Louie," and Stephen Colbert's
Comedy Central fake news show "The Colbert Report" won the Emmy
for best variety program for the second consecutive year.
The miniseries "Fargo," based on the cult film from the Coen
brothers, gave FX Networks its first Emmy for a program, but
actors from the critically acclaimed miniseries lost out on
awards despite being heavy favorites, especially lead actor
Billy Bob Thornton.
HBO's "The Normal Heart" earned best TV movie honors for its
depiction of the early fight against AIDS.
The premium cable outlet HBO, owned by Time Warner Inc,
scored more Emmys than any other network with 19 wins out of its
99 nominations. But it failed to win big in top-line categories
and its fan favorite, the medieval fantasy "Game of Thrones,"
lost out again in the drama race.
One of the big surprises of the night was "Sherlock: His
Last Vow," which won a total of seven Emmys for the U.S. public
broadcaster PBS, more than any other show.
For the first time in some 40 years, the Emmys were moved up
from their usual Sunday night spot in September so as not to
conflict with NBC's ratings-powerhouse "Sunday Night Football"
and MTV's Video Music Awards.
(Additional reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy and Lisa Richwine;
Editing by Ken Wills)