Heart-pounding spy thriller 24 finally broke through at the Emmy Awards on Sunday, winning the prize as best drama series in its fifth try, while new workplace satire The Office was crowned best comedy.
Emmy voters also decisively broke the so-called Seinfeld curse as Julia Louis-Dreyfus was named best comedy actress for her new CBS sitcom, The New Adventures of Old Christine.
But the big winner was 24, which finished the night with the most Emmys for a series, five in all, including best lead actor in a drama for its Canadian-bred star Kiefer Sutherland.
“Tonight has been an honour, but it’s also an incredibly humbling experience,” Sutherland, who battles terrorism on the show as government agent Jack Bauer, said backstage. ABC’s hot doctor show Grey’s Anatomy, came away empty-handed from a ceremony closely watched as a test of new Emmy rules aimed at giving a better shot to newcomers.
The experiment proved at least a partial success, as evidenced by the victory for Louis-Dreyfus, who plays a divorced mom looking for new love. “I’m not somebody who really believes in curses, but curse this, baby!” an exultant Louis-Dreyfus said on stage. As expected, NBC’s The Office was named best TV comedy in its first nomination.
But Office star Steve Carell, widely expected to win as best comedy actor for playing a clueless boss, was upset by Tony Shalhoub, for his role as an obsessive-compulsive detective on the USA cable network’s Monk.
The winner for best actress in a drama was also a surprise. Mariska Hargitay, star of NBC’s Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, triumphed on her third nomination over presumed front-runners Allison Janney for NBC’s The West Wing and Kyra Sedgwick for TNT cop show The Closer.