Mad Men won the outstanding drama series for the third consecutive year on Sunday night, while Modern Family was named outstanding comedy series.
A 14-time nominee, ABC's ensemble comedy netted an early win for supporting actor Eric Stonestreet, who plays the loveable Cameron Tucker.
"All I wanted to be was a clown in the circus when I was a kid growing up," the first-time winner, who called the gig "the most amazing job ever," said onstage.
Another freshman series, Glee, collected an award for director Ryan Murphy and Jane Lynch, who won outstanding supporting actress in a comedy for her role as the scheming Sue Sylvester.
In a shout-out to the ensemble cast, she joked, "I love you. You're young and you're wonderful. You're fresh-faced, and when I'm not seething with jealousy, I'm so proud of you."
First-Time WinnersIt was a recurring theme during the three-hour telecast from L.A.'s Nokia Theatre: Many first-time nominees were rewarded with Emmys, especially on the dramatic front, where a fleet of new faces won.
Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul nabbed outstanding supporting actor in a drama, while The Good Wife's Archie Panjabi picked up outstanding supporting actress in a drama. And The Closer's Kyra Sedgwick won outstanding leading actress in a drama after four previous nominations.
One exception: Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston, who took home the outstanding actor in a drama trophy for the third consecutive year. Noting his esteemed fellow nominees, he expressed his gratitude, saying, "I'm so humbled and amazed to be in your company."
Edie Falco claimed outstanding actress in a comedy for Nurse Jackie and Jim Parsons won outstanding actor in a comedy for The Big Bang Theory.
Kate Dances ... AgainEmmy host Jimmy Fallon kicked things off with little help from Glee and Kate Gosselin, who laced up her dancing shoes once again after a less-than-lauded turn on Dancing with the Stars.
In addition, the host recruited an A-list team – including Tina Fey, Gosselin, Jon Hamm and Betty White – for a zippy musical number. The group performed Bruce Springsteen's propulsive hit "Born to Run" after a short skit in which the Glee kids said they couldn't afford tickets to the awards show.
Gosselin, who famously earned low marks on DWTS, poked fun at herself, teasing with Fallon and his crew, "I can help [with the performance]; I'm a great dancer."