LOS ANGELES – The sleek ’60s drama “Mad Men” made Emmy history Sunday as the first basic-cable show to win a top series award, while the sitcom “30 Rock” and its stars Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin also emerged as winners.
“We’re all so very grateful to have jobs in this turkey-burger economy,” Fey said after accepting the best comedy series trophy for her satire about a late-night TV show.
“This is the greatest job I’ve ever had in my life,” Baldwin said of his role as a network executive.
He paid tribute to Fey, the show’s star and creator, as “the Elaine May of her generation.”
“I thank my parents for somehow raising me to have confidence that is disproportionate with my looks and abilities. Well done. That is what all parents should do,” said Fey, who also won for best actress and writing in a comedy series.
Glenn Close of “Damages” and Bryan Cranston of “Breaking Bad” captured drama acting trophies.
Close, honored for her portrayal of a ruthless attorney, complimented her fellow nominees, including Holly Hunter and Sally Field.
“We’re proving that complicated, powerful, mature women are sexy and are high entertainment and can carry a show,” she said. “I call us the sisterhood of the TV drama divas.”
Dianne Wiest of “In Treatment” and Zeljko Ivanek of “Damages” won supporting acting honors for the drama series. Jean Smart of ABC’s “Samantha Who?” was honored as best supporting actress in a comedy series, with Jeremy Piven her actor counterpart for “Entourage.”
Piven took aim at the five reality hosts who helped open the ceremony in what could charitably called a rambling way, saying, “What if I just kept talking for 12 minutes – what would happen? That was the opening.”
The crowd at the 60th annual Primetime Emmy Awards laughed heartily, not a good sign for the hosts, who included Ryan Seacrest of “American Idol.”
Don Rickles was honored for best individual performance in a variety or music program for “Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project.”
Best reality-competition program went to “Amazing Race,” the show’s sixth award.
As the evening progressed, politics went from having a cameo to a co-starring role.
“I really look forward to the next administration, whoever it is,” Jon Stewart said as he accepted the best variety, music or comedy series award for “The Daily Show.”
“I have nothing to follow that. I just really look forward to the next administration.”
Tommy Smothers received a commemorative writing achievement for his work on the cutting-edge and controversial “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” from the late ’60s – and turned serious.
“It’s hard for me to stay silent when I keep hearing that peace is only attainable through war. And there’s nothing more scary than watching ignorance in action,” he said, dedicating his award to “all people who feel compelled to speak out and are not afraid to speak to power and won’t shut up and refuse to be silenced.”
Martin Sheen, who played a president on “The West Wing,” lauded television for giving America a front-row seat to real presidential campaigns. Then he urged viewers to vote for “the candidate of your choice, at least once.”