AMC’s ‘Mad Men’ won best drama.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — “Mad Men” and “30 Rock” aren’t ratings winners, but viewers don’t bring Emmys glory.
The AMC show “Mad Men” became the first basic cable show to win the best-drama Emmy on Sunday night. Moments before, the NBC sitcom “30 Rock” won for best comedy.
Despite taking its second comedy series Emmy in a row, “30 Rock” is struggling in the ratings to the degree that its star, Tina Fey, did everything she could to promote it during her acceptance speech.
“Mad Men,” which won in its first season, is a major critical hit for AMC, but its viewership has been modest at best.
Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin of “30 Rock” won top comedy acting honors, while Glenn Close of “Damages” and Bryan Cranston of “Breaking Bad” captured drama awards at Sunday’s Emmy Awards, where presidential politics were a recurring theme.
“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 a trophy for best writing in a comedy series.
“This is the greatest job I’ve ever had in my life,” Baldwin said of the satire about a late-night TV show. He paid tribute to Fey, the show’s star and creator, as “the Elaine May of her generation.”
Close, honored for her portrayal of a ruthless attorney, complimented her fellow nominees, including Holly Hunter and Sally Field.
Cranston won the trophy for his role of a desperate man who turns to making drugs.
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.”
“It’s a mistake,” Rickles said. “I’ve been in the business 55 years and the biggest award I got was an ashtray from the Friar’s in New York.”
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.”
Later, Stewart and Stephen Colbert, whose “The Colbert Report” won a writing trophy, teamed to present an award — and exchange banter in which they used a package of prunes as a metaphor for the upcoming presidential election.
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.”