LOS ANGELES — The 1960s-era drama "Mad Men" and the comedy romp "Modern Family" were the top honorees at Sunday's Emmy Awards as American life past and present proved a winning formula.
"To our fans, we are so grateful, we are so thrilled that families are sitting down together to watch a television show, and we're so happy that you have let us into your families," said Steven Levitan, "Modern Family" executive producer.
The best comedy series award was the first for the freshman sitcom, which also captured an acting award for Eric Stonestreet and a best writing trophy.
The best drama series award for "Mad Men" was its third consecutive one. Series creator Matthew Weiner seemed to take the night in stride.
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"I knew one day I would run somewhere and win a trophy," Weiner joked earlier in the ceremony when he dashed to the stage to claim the Emmy for best drama series writing with Erin Levy.
"Glee," the musical-comedy that started the night as the most-nominated series, earned an acting trophy for Jane Lynch and a directing award for creator Ryan Murphy.
Bryan Cranston's portrayal of a meth dealer in "Breaking Bad" and Kyra Sedgwick's role as a brassy deputy police chief in "The Closer" earned the pair top drama series acting awards.
Cranston's honor was his third, while his co-star, Aaron Paul, earned his first award as best supporting actor for playing his partner-in-crime.
"During the time it took me to walk up here, I venture there were 200 text messages to the other nominees saying, 'You were robbed.' I cannot argue with that," Cranston
Archie Panjabi of "The Good Wife" was honored as best supporting actress in a drama for her part as a law firm's in-house private investigator, as Emmy voters spread the riches widely among veterans and fresh faces.
Edie Falco of "Nurse Jackie" and Jim Parsons of "The Big Bang Theory" were honored for their comedy series lead roles.
"Oh, this is the most ridiculous thing that has ever, ever happened in the history of this lovely awards show. I'm not funny!" Falco said.
Stonestreet of "Modern Family" and Lynch of "Glee" were honored for their comedy-series supporting roles.
"All I wanted to be was a clown in the circus when I was a kid growing up," said Stonestreet, who plays a boisterous gay dad and partner. He thanked his parents for their support and promised to send his trophy home with them.
Lynch also thanked her folks along with her wife, Lara Embry. The pair married in Massachusetts in May.
"Top Chef" won best reality series, ending the seven-year winning streak of "The Amazing Race."
Jon Stewart's "The Daily Show" won its eighth consecutive Emmy Award for best variety, music or comedy series. The victory kept Conan O'Brien from claiming an Emmy for his short-lived stint as "Tonight" host.
George Clooney accepted the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award from his former "ER" co-star, Julianna Margulies, who lauded his fundraising efforts for victims of this year's earthquake in Haiti, the 2004 tsunami in Indonesia and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
"Temple Grandin," based on the life of the gifted, autistic animal sciences expert, was honored as best TV movie and earned Emmys for its star, Claire Danes, and supporting acting trophies for Julia Ormond and David Strathairn. The film's director, Mick Jackson, also was honored.
Al Pacino was honored as best lead actor in a miniseries or movie for "You Don't Know Jack," about euthanasia advocate Dr. Jack Kevorkian, who was in the audience and stood, smiling, at Pacino's request. The controversial physician received scattered applause.
Host Jimmy Fallon opened the 62nd Primetime Emmy Awards on a musical note, performing a song-and-dance number with the cast of "Glee" and a wildly mismatched group of celebrities including Betty White, Jon Hamm, Kate Gosselin and Randy Jackson.