September 23, 2008

‘Mad Men’ Emmy Win Turns Tide to Cable


HOLLYWOOD - Freshman television cable series showed up their more established broadcast brethren at the 60th Emmy Awards, underscoring cable's expanding role as the home of critically acclaimed programming.

Amid a ceremony intent on casting back nostalgically - with salutes to classic programs such as "Laugh-In,""M.A.S.H." and "Dragnet" - were constant reminders of the growing prestige of basic cable networks, once the purveyors of reruns.

"Mad Men," AMC's stylish, moody period drama about 1960s Madison Avenue, beat out such popular network shows as "Lost,""House" and "Boston Legal" for best dramatic series - the first basic cable show to win in that category. FX's "Damages" took home two plum awards, including one for Glenn Close for best lead actress in a dramatic series, and "Breaking Bad's" Bryan Cranston was the surprise winner for best lead actor in the same category.

A quirky drama about a man dying of cancer who makes and sells methamphetamine so he won't leave his family destitute, "Breaking Bad" ran only seven episodes last season, cut short because of the writers' strike.

"Oh, my goodness, oh, man. I'm so proud of this show," Cranston said as he held his statuette.

The night belonged to HBO, which continued its dominance by scoring 26 awards, including 13 for its meticulous historical drama, "John Adams," a record for a miniseries.

"I'm living proof to kids at home watching that anybody can play the president," Paul Giamatti joked in accepting the award for portraying the second U.S. president.

Laura Linney won for her role as Abigail Adams, the stalwart wife, and Tom Wilkinson won for supporting actor as Ben Franklin. Rounding out the winners was Kirk Ellis, who won for writing the miniseries, which was produced by Tom Hanks.

Comedy remained largely the domain of the broadcast networks, however. NBC's "30 Rock" nabbed seven awards, the second highest tally of any program, with stars Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin taking home Emmys.

Overall, cable channels won 59 Emmys while the broadcast networks took home 38. PBS scored 10.

This year's crop of winners spotlighted the growing gap between critically honored television and series most popular with the viewers. While "Amazing Race" scored another win for best reality series, top 10 shows "CSI,""American Idol" and "Grey's Anatomy" were largely overlooked.

Producers of this year's ceremony sought to spotlight much- watched reality shows by inviting hosts of nominated programs to emcee Sunday's telecast. Ryan Seacrest from "American Idol," Tom Bergeron from ABC's "Dancing with the Stars," Heidi Klum of Bravo's "Project Runway," Howie Mandel of NBC's "Deal or No Deal" and Jeff Probst of CBS' "Survivor" - dressed alike in black suits - opened the show with a rambling bit about how they had nothing to say.

(c) 2008 Charleston Daily Mail. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.