The 58th Annual Emmy Awards marked a very good night for counterterrorism agents on a tight schedule, virginal British monarchs and slackers with bad karma. Freakishly attractive medical types, on the other hand, did not fare as well.
Fox's 24 clocked in with three Emmys Sunday, including Outstanding Drama Series and Lead Actor, Drama for Kiefer Sutherland.
"Every once in a while you'll have an evening that just reminds you that you're given too much, and this is that evening," said Sutherland--who, as one of the show's producers, collected bookend Emmys.
The action show picked up two additional awards at the Creative Arts ceremony earlier in the month for a grand total of five--tops among all series.
Meanwhile, NBC had reason to smile after The Office won Outstanding Comedy Series and My Name Is Earl picked up four awards in all, boosting the network to a total of 14 wins, second to HBO's 26.
In what is becoming something of an Emmy tradition, Monk star Tony Shalhoub took home the trophy for Lead Actor in a Comedy--for a third time.
"There's been a terrible mistake. I never win anything," Shalhoub said. "I just want to say it's gratifying to be chosen from such a distinguished group of losers--actors. Comedy, comedic performing actors, you know, whatever."
Julia Louis-Dreyfus won her second career Emmy, accepting Lead Actress, Comedy for CBS' The New Adventures of Old Christine.
"I'm not really somebody who believes in curses, but curse this, baby!" Louis-Dreyfus said, shaking her trophy in reference to the notorious Seinfeld curse.
First-time Emmy winner Mariska Hargitay won the award for Lead Actress, Drama for her work on the long-running Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. She thanked her costar, Chris Meloni, an Emmy also-ran, for making "everyone around him better."
HBO's Elizabeth I was the biggest winner of the night, with a total of four Emmys, adding to the five it earned at the Creative Arts ceremony. Helen Mirren was named Lead Actress, Miniseries or Movie, and her costar, Jeremy Irons, won Supporting Actor.
"My greatest triumph is not falling ass over tit as I came up those stairs," the preternaturally high-heeled Mirren said upon taking the stage to accept her award. Backstage, she cracked to reporters, "Do I have to pay the IRS for this?"THE BIG WINNERS
My Name Is Earl
78th Annual Academy Awards
(includes Creative Arts Emmys)
Conversely, ABC's Grey's Anatomy was the night's most notable loser, shut out in all 11 categories in which it was nominated. The series' snubbing was just another blow for the Alphabet network after its ratings powerhouses--Lost and Desperate Housewives--were overlooked entirely in the top races.
A number of actors were repeat winners for their work on shows that have since been canceled. Blythe Danner won Supporting Actress, Drama for Huff, late of Showtime, an award she also accepted last year. Alan Alda earned his sixth career Emmy, winning Supporting Actor, Drama for his toils on The West Wing, since departed from NBC. And Megan Mullally picked up her second Emmy for Supporting Actress, Comedy for Will & Grace, also recently discharged from NBC.
"We had eight great years of happy employment, and that's more than most people could ever hope for," Mullally said as she accepted her award.
Ellen Burstyn (Mrs. Harris) was denied the chance to go down as possibly the most dubious winner in Emmy history for her 14-second role, and Cloris Leachman (Mrs. Harris) lost her bid to add another Emmy to her already record-breaking collection of eight trophies. Both were trumped by Kelly Macdonald (The Girl in the Café, HBO) in the Supporting Actress, Miniseries or Movie category.
The Girl in the Café tallied three Emmys, also winning Outstanding Made-for-TV Movie and Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries. Mrs. Harris, on the other hand, lost in all 12 categories in which it was nominated.
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart claimed two awards, including Outstanding Variety, Musical or Comedy program.
"I think this year you actually made a terrible mistake," Stewart said in apparent reference to compadre Stephen Colbert's Daily Show spinoff, The Colbert Report. "But thank you."
In an unexpected victory, Barry Manilow beat out his fellow nominees Stephen Colbert, Craig Ferguson, David Letterman and last year's winner, Hugh Jackman in the Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program for his PBS special, Barry Manilow: Music and Passion.
"I can't be more surprised," Manilow said.
"I can't believe I lost to Barry Manilow," Colbert cried in mock anguish when he took the stage afterward to present an award. (The fake news commentator did get a consolation prize, winning a trophy as one of the writers for The Daily Show.)
Less surprising was The Amazing Race's continued domination of the Reality Competition category, crushing American Idol's hopes for Emmy victory for a fourth consecutive year. TV's top-rated talent search had gone into the awards ceremony with eight nominations--a reality show record--and left with a big, fat zero.
Father and son pair Martin and Charlie Sheen both walked away from the ceremony empty-handed. The elder Sheen was passed over for his West Wing role and his guest appearance on his son's show, Two and a Half Men, which was overlooked entirely.
Both Dick Clark and the late Aaron Spelling were honored in tributes at the ceremony. Clark, who's kept a low profile since suffering a stroke in 2004, made an appearance onstage and struggled to get through his remarks.
"I have accomplished my childhood dream, to be in show business. Everybody should be so lucky, to have their dreams come true. I've been truly blessed," Clark said.
Spelling was remembered by a number of the stars of his shows, including Joan Collins, Stephen Collins, Heather Locklear and a surprise Charlie's Angels reunion of Kate Jackson, Jaclyn Smith and Farrah Fawcett. During the tribute, Tori Spelling was shown sitting apart from brother Randy and estranged mother Candy.
Host Conan O'Brien made a valiant attempt to keep the show from running over its time slot by wheeling Bob Newhart onstage in a sealed glass cylinder that, he announced to the audience, contained only enough air to survive for three hours.
"Yes. It's very simple. If the Emmys run one second over, Bob Newhart dies," O'Brien said. "So keep those speeches short, ladies and gentlemen. Bob Newhart's life in your hands."
Luckily, the awards wound down two minutes early, and Newhart was freed to breathe another day.
Get the complete list of winners.