LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- "Mad Men" won just three Emmy Awards this year -- after starting with 16 nominations -- but one of them was the big one, best drama series, at the 61st Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday night.
The AMC show about ad agency executives in early 1960s Manhattan often competed against itself, particularly in the category of episode writing, in which it had four of the five possible nominations.
"Mad Men" also won best drama last year.
"30 Rock" won best comedy at Sunday's awards. The show won five Emmys overall.
"We want to thank our friends at NBC ... for keeping us on the air, even though we are so much more expensive than a talk show," star Tina Fey said in accepting the honor.
Glenn Close won best actress in a drama for her performance in "Damages," but she turned her speech into praise for her colleagues.
"I want to salute what I call my 'category sisters,'" she said. "I respect you, and I'm inspired by your talent."
She also paid tribute to the show's writers.
Bryan Cranston of AMC's "Breaking Bad" won his second straight Emmy as best actor in a drama.
"I don't know what I'm doing up here," he said. "I feel like Cinderfella. ... I stand here a humbled man."
"The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" was honored twice, for its writing in the variety, musical and comedy series category and as the best overall show in that genre.
"The Amazing Race" continued its domination of best reality competition series, winning the category for the seventh straight year.
"Race" producer Bertram Van Munster kept his onstage speech short, but backstage -- with at least a dozen co-workers behind him holding Emmy statuettes -- he had more to say.
He said "Survivor," "Big Brother" and his show "were really the locomotives for network television to make good reality shows. I am proud we have set a very high standard in doing the right thing.
"Van Munster said he would work on the show "until I'm 100 years old. It's no problem."
"The audience will decide when it's over, if we don't get the ratings," he said.
"Survivor's" Jeff Probst took home the award for host of a reality competition.
Alec Baldwin won best actor in a comedy series for his performance in "30 Rock."
Jon Cryer ("Two and a Half Men") won best supporting actor in a comedy, and Toni Collette ("The United States of Tara") won best actress in a comedy. Collette's win was a mild surprise, as Tina Fey, of "30 Rock," was considered a heavy favorite.
"I used to think that awards were just shallow tokens of momentary popularity, but now I realize they are the only true measure of a person's real worth as a human being," Cryer said.
PBS' "Little Dorrit" also surprised observers, taking home Emmys for best miniseries, as well as writing and direction among miniseries and movies -- categories expected to go to HBO programs such as "Grey Gardens" or "Into the Storm." The miniseries topped all programs, with seven Emmys.
"Grey Gardens" did win the made-for-television movie category, and garnered five Emmys total.
The Emmy broadcast featured plenty of absurdist humor, with presenters being introduced with mentions of obscure roles and show announcer John Hodgman, best known as "PC" from the Apple Mac ads, welcoming some winners with non sequiturs.
It also had its share of gallows humor, reflecting the decline in network viewership -- and the decline in Emmy Awards viewership.
Host Neil Patrick Harris, in a rousing opening number and routine called "Don't Touch That Remote," practically begged viewers to hang around. Mentioning several other networks and competing programs, he plaintively asked, "Can't you watch it later?"
Kristin Chenoweth won the first Emmy of the evening for best supporting actress in a comedy series for a show, "Pushing Daisies," that's no longer on the air. "Pushing Daisies" won four honors total.
"I'm unemployed now, so I'd like to be on 'Mad Men,'" she said. "I'd also like to be on 'The Office' and '24.'"
Presenters Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Amy Poehler perhaps summed up the mood best. Introducing a category early in the show, Louis-Dreyfus pulled no punches.
"Amy and I are honored to be presenting on the last official year of network broadcast television," she said.
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