Mark J. Terrill, Associated Press
LOS ANGELES — The Emmys keep buying what "Mad Men" is selling. The 1960s Madison Avenue saga won its fourth consecutive best drama series award Sunday, while big-hearted romp "Modern Family" claimed its second best comedy trophy.
"Modern Family" producer Steve Levitan, whose picture of the American family today includes gay couples and interracial families, told of being approached during shooting by a real-life gay couple who wanted to say thanks.
"They said, 'You're not just making people laugh, you're making them more tolerant,'" said Levitan, whose show received a total of five awards.
While "Mad Men" gained the top drama award, it couldn't pull honors for stars Jon Hamm or Elisabeth Moss.
Kyle Chandler was the surprise winner in the best drama actor category for the last season of Texas football drama "Friday Night Lights," blocking odds-on favorites among his fellow nominees, including Hamm.
"I knew for a fact I would not be standing here. I did not write anything and now I'm starting to worry," said Chandler, who also beat out Steve Buscemi of "Boardwalk Empire."
It was a fitting victory for Chandler and "Friday Night Lights," which was critically acclaimed but struggled for an audience, and whose high school football team's motto was, "clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose."
Julianna Margulies won top drama acting honors for "The Good Wife." Margulies, who navigates politics, law and family in the show, added to her Emmy stash. As part of the "ER" medical drama cast, she won a supporting actress Emmy in 1995.
Melissa McCarthy of "Mike & Molly" was honored as best lead actress in a comedy series with an Emmy and a glitzy prom queen's crown, while Jim Parsons of "The Big Bang Theory" earned his second trophy in the best actor category.
"Holy smokes. Wow, it's my first and best pageant ever," said a beaming McCarthy. "I'm from Plainfield, Ill., and I'm standing here and it's kind of amazing."
Moments earlier, she and her fellow nominees had broken with tradition by jumping up on stage as their names were called, led by Amy Poehler of "Parks and Recreation."
They earned a standing ovation from many in the audience, which seemed fitting in a year in which TV shows and movies are giving women edgier leading roles. Among them is the box-office hit "Bridesmaids," which featured McCarthy.
Parsons looked genuinely surprised at his victory. "This is so odd for so many reasons. I was assured by many people in my life that this wasn't happening," he said.
The first awards in the drama category went to Jason Katims of "Friday Night Lights" for outstanding writing, and Margo Martindale, named best supporting actress for the show "Justified."
"Sometimes, things just take time. But with time comes great appreciation," said the veteran actress.
Peter Dinklage, the winning actor in the category for sci-fi fantasy "Game of Thrones," was awed by another winner, filmmaker Martin Scorsese, who received a directing trophy for "Boardwalk Empire."
"Thanks. Wow. Wow. I followed Martin Scorsese. My heart is pounding. You are a legend," Dinklage said.
The directing trophy was the sole award Sunday for "Boardwalk Empire," HBO's lavishly produced tale of Prohibition-era mobsters and crooked politicos on the make in freewheeling Atlantic City, N.J.
The ceremony aired by Fox opened with a pre-taped comedy sketch that generated controversy because Alec Baldwin's part was cut after he included a joke about the News Corp. phone hacking scandal. Fox is a unit of News Corp.
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