‘Breaking Bad’ and ‘Modern Family’ win Emmy Awards

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — “Modern Family” and “Breaking Bad” triumphed at Monday’s Emmy Awards, proving that established broadcast and cable fare retains the power to fend off challenges from upstart online series such as “Orange Is the New Black.”

The ceremony’s emotional high point came with Billy Crystal’s restrained and graceful remembrance of Robin Williams, who was found dead Aug. 11, an apparent suicide.

“He made us laugh. Hard. Every time you saw him,” Crystal said of Williams at the conclusion of a tribute to industry members who died within the past 12 months. “Robin Williams, what a concept.”

ABC’s “Modern Family” won a fifth best comedy series Emmy, tying the record set by “Frasier,” while the final season of AMC’s “Breaking Bad” captured the top drama award and a trio of acting honors for its stars.

Sofía Vergara, Sarah Hyland

Sofia Vergara, left, and Sarah Hyland pose with the award for Outstanding Comedy Series in the press room at the 66th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on Monday, Aug. 25, 2014, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Netflix’s freshman “Orange Is the New Black,” which competed for best comedy series despite its dark prison setting, failed to sway Emmy voters, as did Netflix’s sophomore series “House of Cards.”

Bryan Cranston was honored as best actor in a drama for “Breaking Bad,” proving that “True Detective” nominee Matthew McConaughey’s movie-star appeal couldn’t conquer all.

“I have gratitude for everything that has happened,” Cranston said. His victory ties him with four-time best drama actor champ Dennis Franz. Cranston’s co-stars Aaron Paul and Anna Gunn were honored in categories for best drama supporting acting — he for the third time and she for the second straight year — and the series won its second consecutive best drama award.

“Thank you for this wonderful farewell to our show,” ”Breaking Bad” creator Vince Gilligan said of the series about a teacher-turned-drug kingpin that ended with a bang.

2014 Primetime Emmy Awards - Press Room

Julianna Margulies poses in the press room at the 66th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on Monday, Aug. 25, 2014, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

A broadcast win was scored by ABC’s “The Good Wife” star Julianna Margulies, honored as best lead actress in a drama series. “What a wonderful time for women on television,” Margulies said.

McConaughey was the object of too-handsome jokes by presenter Jimmy Kimmel and adoration by winner Gail Mancuso, honored as best director for an episode of “Modern Family.” It was one of the better gags of the night.

“If you don’t mind, Matthew McConaughey, I’m gonna make eye contact with you right now,” she said from the stage, making good by holding the actor’s gaze for much of her speech.

The ceremony honoring the best of TV wasn’t shy about playing the movie-star card. “Six minutes to Woody Harrelson” flashed on screen during Colin Bucksey’s acceptance speech for best miniseries direction for “Fargo.”

Harrelson and his “True Detective” co-star were given time to banter before announcing that Benedict Cumberbatch of “Sherlock: His Last Vow” was the winner of the best miniseries actor award.

“So you won Oscar, (People magazine’s) Sexiest Man Alive and now you want an Emmy, too. Isn’t that a little bit greedy?” Harrelson teased his fellow nominee.

Joe Morton, Josh Charles

Joe Morton, left, an Emmy winner for guest actor in a drama series for “Scandal,” mingles with Josh Charles, an Emmy nominee for supporting actor in a drama series for “”The Good Wife,” at the 66th Emmy Awards Performers Nominee Reception on Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014, in West Hollywood, Calif. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

“Fargo” was named best miniseries, and the award for best miniseries actress went to Jessica Lange of “American Horror Story: Coven.”

Buffering the miniseries awards was a parody routine about top nominees by “Weird Al” Yankovic. Musical numbers usually look out of place at the Emmys, and this one was no different. Other scripted banter fell flat, although host Seth Meyers kept soldiering on.

CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory” star Jim Parsons was crowned as best comedy series actor, giving him his fourth Emmy and putting him in company with all-time sitcom winners Carroll O’Connor, Kelsey Grammer and Michael J. Fox.

“Modern Family” also captured a best comedy supporting actor trophy for Ty Burrell. Allison Janney was honored as best supporting comedy actress for CBS’ “Mom,” adding to the trophy she’d already picked up as guest actress on “Masters of Sex.”

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who received her third consecutive best comedy actress Emmy for the political comedy “Veep,” drew big laughs as she stopped to exchange faux heated kisses with Cranston, who earlier was her co-presenter and who appeared with her on “Seinfeld.”

“The Colbert Report” was honored as best variety series for its farewell season, with its star departing to take over for David Letterman on CBS’ “Late Show.”

Uzo Aduba

Uzo Aduba poses in the press room with the award for outstanding guest actress in a comedy series for “Orange Is the New Black” at the 2014 Creative Arts Emmys at Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE on Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

Meyers kicked off the ceremony by tweaking his home network, NBC, and other broadcasters for being eclipsed in the awards by cable series and online newcomers like “Orange Is the New Black.”

Noting that the Emmys moved to Monday night to avoid a conflict with Sunday’s MTV Video Music Awards, he said that MTV doesn’t really specialize in videos anymore.

“That’s like network TV holding an awards show and giving all the trophies to cable and Netflix. That would be crazy,” Meyers joked — but the outcome proved him wrong.

Besides “Orange Is the New Black,” other shows that didn’t benefit from tactical category choices included “Shameless,” which moved from drama to comedy consideration, and “True Detective,” with its close-ended story that smacked of a miniseries.

Ruby Dee

This Feb. 14, 2008 file photo shows Ruby Dee backstage with the Chairman’s award at the 39th NAACP Image Awards, in Los Angeles. Dee, an acclaimed actor and civil rights activist whose versatile career spanned stage, radio television and film, died at age 91, on June 12, 2014 at her home in New Rochelle, New York. (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian, file)

The ceremony’s traditional “in memoriam” tribute to industry members who have died in the past year flashed images of stars including James Garner, Ruby Dee, Sid Caesar, Carmen Zapata and Elaine Stritch as singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles sang “Smile.” It concluded with the tribute to Williams.

Another touching moment Monday: Director-producer Ryan Murphy dedicating the outstanding TV movie Emmy won by “The Normal Heart” to the many artists felled by the HIV virus and AIDS.

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Online: http://www.emmys.com

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AP Entertainment Writers Anthony McCartney and Beth Harris contributed to this report.

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