Sopranos, 30 Rock Top Emmys

Two locally filmed shows took top series honors at last night's Emmy Awards. Sign Up For Our Daily Newsletter Sign

Two locally filmed shows took top series honors at last night's Emmy Awards.

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'The Sopranos' took home the Best Drama award, and creator David Chase and director Alan Taylor won for writing and directing.

But in a big upset, favorite James Gandolfini lost to James Spader of 'Boston Legal.'

'30 Rock' took home its single primetime award–but it was a big one: Best Comedy. During their acceptance speech Tina Fey thanked the show's 'dozens' of viewers and thanked NBC's Zucker for sticking with the show.

Altogether the program was its usual mix of bathos and strained humor. But in case you still feel like you missed, something, after the jump is the exhaustive, chronological account put out by the show's organizers. It has a similarly strange, incantatory charm to the show itself.

59th Primetime Emmys Announced

Sopranos, 30 Rock Take Top Series Honors

Los Angeles, September 16, 2007 — An notorious crime family, a fictional sketch-comedy show, an iconic singer, and a female British detective were among the big winners at the 59th Primetime Emmy Awards, which took place at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles and was telecast on the Fox network. Host for the ceremony was American Idol host Ryan Seacrest.

Other highlights included a 30th anniversary tribute to a groundbreaking miniseries and a moving musical send-off to one of the most celebrated series in television history.

Among the twenty-nine categories honored, ABC, NBC and HBO topped the list of winners with six winged statuettes each. Combined with their awards at last Saturday’s Creative Arts Emmys, the three networks led for the year as well: HBO earned twenty-one, NBC nineteen and ABC ten.

The Sopranos, HBO’s acclaimed production about the travails of a New Jersey crime boss and his intertwined biological and criminal families took the prize for Outstanding Drama Series, and 30 Rock, NBC’s look at the backstage activity at a late-night sketch-comedy show, was named Outstanding Comedy Series.

The Sopranos, the HBO movie Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, the AMC miniseries Broken Trail and the PBS Masterpiece Theatre production Prime Suspect: The Final Act led the recipients of multiple awards with three each.

The ABC comedy Ugly Betty took two, including Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for its star, America Ferrera. Ricky Gervais, creator and star of HBO’s Extras, took Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series.

James Spader, of ABC’s law-firm saga Boston Legal, took the award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series and Sally Field, of ABC’s Brothers & Sisters, was named Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series.

In the aftermath of last year’s Primetime Emmys, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ board of governors made adjustments to the voting procedures, most notably a move to give equal weight to the results of the Blue Ribbon judging panels that had been instituted in 2006 and the Academy-wide vote, as opposed to last year, when the results of the panels were given priority.

The changes resulted in what was generally regarded as a broader, more representative list of nominees — including thirty-three first-timers — lending a fresh perspective to this year’s proceedings.

A fresh perspective was also evident Sunday evening at the Shrine courtesy of a circular stage, a Primetime Emmys first, which lent an intimate, theater-in-the-round feel to the proceedings by bringing seats directly to the main presentation and performance area.

Staging a three-hour award show involving dozens of presenters and multiple production numbers without the comfort zone of a conventional proscenium-arch stage configuration was a logistical challenge, but executive producer Ken Ehrlich invested in a blue-chip insurance policy when he hired the unflappable Seacrest. Having hosted Fox’s top-rated American Idol — a nominee for Outstanding Reality Competition Series — since its inception, he is a veteran at guiding a live television show in front of millions of viewers.

The show opened with animated sequence featuring a television-skewering song titled “If You Want It You Can Find It on TV,” performed by Brian the talking dog and conversant infant Stewie Griffin of the Fox comedy Family Guy, prepared for the ceremonies by the show’s executive producer Seth MacFarlane.

Next came the introduction of Seacrest, who emerged from beneath the stage. Adding Emmy hosting to his resume, Seacrest would seem to have inherited the title of “Hardest Working Man in Show Business” from the late music legend James Brown — in addition to his duties with American Idol and as host of the morning show on Los Angeles radio station KIIS, the Atlanta native is both an on-air personality and managing editor of E! Entertainment Television’s news department. (He even hosted part of E!’s red carpet arrivals show before ducking out to prepare for the Emmys telecast.)

True to his statements in pre-show interviews, Seacrest, who is neither a comedian nor a singer, kept the proceedings moving smoothly, introducing presenters and comporting himself throughout the evening with the assuredness of one of his avowed role models, Dick Clark.

After a brief welcome, Seacrest introduced Ray Romano, a three-time Emmy winner during his ten years as star and executive producer of the CBS sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond. Romano, in a dark suit and bright yellow necktie, got the audience laughing with jokes about what he has done in the two years before presenting the evening’s first award, for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series.

The winner was Jeremy Piven for his performance as manic talent agent Ari Gold on the HBO series Entourage. “What an embarrassment of riches to even be able to play this role,” began Piven, who also won in this category last year. After thanking various colleagues, he wrapped up by saying, “Last year I impaled myself kissing this [Emmy] up to my father, and I’m going to do it again because I love him, and I miss him and I do it for him.”

Next came Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, presented by Ugly Betty costars (and nominees) Vanessa Williams and America Ferrera. The Emmy went to Terry O’Quinn for his performance as intense castaway John Locke on ABC’s Lost.

Referring to the arduous conditions he endures on the show, O’Quinn, in a bright pink shirt and shimmering tie, said, “Sometimes when we’re hitting each other and stabbing each other and shooting each other and they’re pouring blood and turning on the sprinklers, I wonder what it would be like to bake a sheet of cookies on Wisteria Lane [the fictional setting of ABC’s Desperate Housewives] and get one of their checks. But then I think about my cast mates and crew mates represented here by the glorious [co-nominee] Michael Emerson, and I realize why I have the best job in the world.”

Seacrest returned to introduce Tina Fey and Julia Louis-Dreyfus — both nominees for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for their work in 30 Rock and The New Adventures of Old Christine, respectively — to present the award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series.

The winner, taking home her first Emmy, was Jaime Pressly for her performance as Joy, the trash-talking ex-wife of the title character of NBC’s My Name Is Earl.

Pressly, who was nominated in the same category last year, gave a heartfelt acceptance speech in which she thanks her show’s creator, Greg Garcia, her fiancé and new son, her manager and attorney, and ended with, “Here’s to our little engine that could that finally did.”

Presenting the award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie were ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy costar, and a nominee for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series, Katherine Heigl, and Kyle Chandler, star of the NBC drama Friday Night Lights.

The honor went to Thomas Haden Church for AMC’s Western miniseries Broken Trail. In his speech, Church thanked his co-star Robert Duvall and director Walter Hill, then joked about the Emmy statuette: “this is probably going to be my daughter’s favorite toy when I get home, next to Sponge Bob — product placement!” he concluded by thanking his father, “who taught me to love Westerns when I was a little kid.”

Following a commercial break, the show resumed with Ellen DeGeneres kneeling beside Hugh Laurie, the curmudgeonly physician of the Fox drama House, pretending to seek medical advice: “I know you’re not really a doctor, but should I have it removed?”

DeGeneres then introduced a humorous video compilation of the year in review as chronicled through one-liners from late-night variety and comedy shows, including Jay Leno, David Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel, Conan O’Brien, Craig Ferguson, Bill Maher, Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert. The sequence included moving testimonials to Tom Snyder, the former late-night host who passed away this summer.

Next, Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria came to the stage accompanied by Kevin Connolly, Kevin Dillon, Jerry Ferrara, Adrien Grenier and Jeremy Piven of the HBO comedy Entourage to present the award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series.

The award went to Katherine Heigl, who plays Dr. Izzie Stevens on ABC’s medical drama Grey’s Anatomy. Heigl, who won for her first-ever Emmy nomination, joked that she did not prepare a speech because “My own mother told me that I didn’t have a shot in hell of winning tonight.” She then laughed and added, “She’s a really big supporter. She does love me.” In closing, eliminating any doubt as to her true feelings, she addressed her mother, who was in the audience, and said, “This is for you, this is because of you. I wouldn’t want to be here without you.”

The evening’s first writing honor, Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program, was presented by two CBS stars — Two and a Half Men’s Jon Cryer (a nominee for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series) and Jennifer Love Hewitt of the supernatural drama Ghost Whisper. The winner was the team from NBC’s Late Night With Conan O’Brien.

Writer Mike Sweeney, picking up on Heigl’s remarks, said, “I do have a speech because Katherine Heigl’s mother said we would win.” Wrapping up, he said, “I especially wasn’t to thank Connan O’Brien…the genuinely funniest guy I’ve ever known, and I’m not just saying that because his eyes are boring through the back of my skull right now.”

When the show returned from a break, Seacrest, as he does each week on American Idol, introduced a musical number. But instead of aspiring unknowns, the singers were Grammy-winning icons: Tony Bennett and Christina Aguilera, who performed the song “Steppin’ Out,” which provided viewers the sight of a pregnant Aguilera singing an apt lyric: “Steppin’ out with my baby.”

Alec Baldwin, a nominee for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for his work on the NBC comedy 30 Rock, then came to the stage to present the award for Outstanding Directing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program.

Fittingly, given the performance it followed, the Emmy was presented to Rob Marshall for his work on the NBC special Tony Bennett: An American Classic.

“I loved every second of working on this with the great Tony Bennett,” said Marshall, who went on to thank his collaborators on the special and ended with a special thank you to his family.

Heroes star Ali Larter, joined by 24 star Kiefer Sutherland — last year’s winner for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series, and a nominee this year as well — were then introduced to present the award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie. The honor went to Robert Duvall for his performance as Prentice “Print” Ritter in AMC’s Broken Trail. The honor marked Duvall’s first Emmy among four career nominations.

“I never knew an actor in my lifetime or anybody else’s lifetime who didn’t to do a Western,” said Duvall, who was also part of the iconic Western miniseries Lonesome Dove, for which he earned an Emmy nomination in 1989. He then went on to add, “The Western is here to stay, and I’m very glad I could be part of it.”

When the show resumed, Queen Latifah, a nominee for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie for the HBO production Life Support, introduced a tribute to 30th-anniversary salute to the monumental miniseries Roots. In 1977, the year after the nation’s bicentennial, “came a new American revolution — and this one was definitely televised,” she said.

Roots was nominated for thirty-seven Primetime Emmy Awards and won nine. It also received a Golden Globe and a Peabody Award. It was based on the novel by Alex Haley, which was inspired by the author’s family history, beginning in Gambia, Africa, and continuing in the United States, where Haley’s ancestor, a teenage boy named Kunta Kinte, was sold into slavery and renamed Toby. The ABC production premiered on January 23, 1977, and aired over the course of eight consecutive nights. An estimated 130 million viewers watched during that time, and the final episode ranks as the third most watched telecast of all time, after the final episode of M*A*S*H and the “Who Shot J.R.?” episode of Dallas.

Following Queen Latifah’s remarks, seven original cast members took the stage: John Amos, Edward Asner, Levar Burton, Louis Gossett, Jr., Cicely Tyson, Leslie Uggams, Ben Vereen, they remained to present the award for Outstanding Miniseries, which went to Broken Trail.

In a recap of the acting honors handed out at last Saturday’s Creative Arts Emmy Awards, Neil Patrick Harris, a nominee for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for CBS’s How I Met Your Mother, and Hayden Panettiere of NBC’s Heroes, announced the winners for Outstanding Guest Actor and Actress in a Drama Series: John Goodman as a folksy but firm Nevada judge in NBC’s Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, and Leslie Caron as an emotionally frayed rape victim in an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

Caron took the stage to present the award for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series to Alan Taylor, for his work helming the “Kennedy and Heidi” episode of The Sopranos.

Harris and Panettiere returned to present Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series to David Chase for the final episode of The Sopranos, “Made in America.”

Steve Carell, a nominee for Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series for his performance as ineffectual paper-company boss Michael Scott on NBC’s The Office, appeared to present the statuette for Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series. The winner, for the fifth time in this category, was a program where Carell made his first major television impression: Comedy Central’s The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, where just a few years ago he was a correspondent.

Alluding to the association, Stewart started his speech with, “I’ve heard such terrible things about that guy Carell…”

Carell remained on stage to present the award for Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Special, which went to NBC’s Tony Bennett: An American Classic. Speaking on behalf of the production, Tony Bennett’s son Danny, one of the executive producers, paid tribute to his father: “My original intention was to create a show that would be a tremendous docu-musical to really chronicle this man’s tremendous legacy; also, a gift from me to him on his eightieth birthday. But really, how it ended up, is it was a gift to me from him and everyone who is part of this show.”

After a brief introduction by Seacrest of the Ernst & Young accountants responsible for tabulating and maintaining the integrity of the votes, Desperate Housewives star Marcia Cross, accompanied by Mark Harmon, star of the CBS drama NCIS, came forward to present Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie. The winner, Judy Davis, of the USA miniseries The Starter Wife, was not present to receive her award — the third Emmy of her career among ten nominations.

Dick Askin, Chairman and CEO of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, spoke on behalf of Fox’s “Idol Gives Back” campaign and HBO’s “The Addiction Project,” both of which were honored with this year’s Governors Award, a special distinction given to individuals or organizations committed to important social causes.

“Idol Gives Back” was a star-studded gala and public service campaign that helped raise more than $75 million to benefit relief programs for children and young people in extreme poverty in America and Africa.

An extension of HBO’s acclaimed fourteen-part documentary series Addiction, “The Addiction Project” was an unprecedented multi-platform and outreach campaign with events in over 100 cities aimed at helping Americans understand addiction as a chronic but treatable brain disease.

When the show returned from a break, three powerhouse actresses — Glenn Close of the FX legal drama Damages, Kyra Sedgwick, star of the TNT drama The Closer and Mary-Louise Parker, star of the Showtime comedy Weeds — appeared to announce Outstanding Made for Television Movie, which went to the HBO production Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.

Joe Mantegna, a nominee for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie for USA’s The Starter Wife, introduced one of the evening’s highlights when two legendary groups from New Jersey — the cast of Jersey Boys, the 2006 Tony Award winner for Best Musical, based on the lives and music of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, and the cast of the HBO drama The Sopranos, which aired its final episode earlier this year — came together for a show-stopping moment of song, sentiment and celebration.

The Sopranos, one of the most honored shows in television history, entered the evening as the top nominee among series, with fifteen — and a total of 104 nominations and eighteen wins since its premiere in 1999.

In full Garden State glory, the Jersey Boys singers performed a medley of three Four Seasons hits — “Walk Like a Man,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You” and “Who Loves You?” — accompanied by a video montage of highlights from the series. When the performance ended, more than twenty Sopranos cast members took the stage.

The Sopranos was the evening’s top nominee among series, with fifteen. Its eighty-sixth and final episode — which ended by cutting to black at the culmination of a suspenseful sequence in which it appeared that beleaguered anti-hero Tony Soprano, played by James Gandolfini, may have been about to meet his demise — sparked praise for its willful ambiguity as well as frustration over its lack of a clear-cut resolution.

But whatever one’s opinion of the finale, the effusive response to the Jersey Boys tribute and the reunion of more than twenty key cast members on the Shrine Auditorium stage, made it clear that the show’s legions of fans will never, to borrow a familiar expression from Tony and his crooked cronies, fuhggedaboudit.

When the show resumed, a pair of ABC stars — Patrick Dempsey of Grey’s Anatomy and Sally Field of Brothers & Sisters, a nominee for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series — stepped forward to present the award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie, which went to Helen Mirren for her swansong as Inspector Jane Tennison in the PBS Masterpiece Theatre drama Prime Suspect: The Final Act.

The award marked the second consecutive year Mirren prevailed in this category. Last year she won for her performance in title role of HBO’s Elizabeth I.

“So much to say, so little time,” Mirren began. “I’m going to keep talking until that very dramatic music comes on – I love that.” She then thanked he companies involved, as well as various colleagues before segueing into a comment about the United States and the highly touted Prime Suspect series. “You Americans are wonderfully generous people. You are a lot of other things as well — some good, some bad. But, you know, of I was to categorize your natures, it’s generosity above all. And you took our piece of work to your hearts, and you made what it became — a piece of iconic television.”

Following Mirren, cantankerous comic Lewis Black a nominee in the category of Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Special for the HBO special Lewis Black: Red, White & Screwed, came to the stage and launched into one of his signature rants in which he excoriated short-sighted television executives, sensationalistic cable news outlets and other TV targets. He

“Look for Lewis Black this fall on Valium,” joked Seacrest at the end of Black’s diatribe.

Seacrest then introduced Cold Case costars Kathryn Morris and Danny Pino, presenters of the award for Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special. In a second straight victory for Prime Suspect: The Final Act, the winner was director Philip Martin.

The next category, also presented by Morris and Pino, marked three in a row for Prime Suspect: The Final Act, with the award going to production’s writer Frank Deasy.

Seacrest then introduced Heroes stars Masi Oka, a nominee in the category of Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, who sat at a laptop computer, which he used to contact Tom Anderson, president of the social networking website, who announced the winner for Outstanding Creative Achievement in Interactive Television: the television network Current, which makes significant use of user-generated content.

Accepting the award were Current partners Joel Hyatt, along with former Vice President of the United States Al Gore. On a night in which the Television Academy and Fox were touting their efforts to produce the first-ever carbon-neutral Emmys, Gore, who has led a passionate campaign to raise awareness about global climate change, was a crowd favorite, and received a standing ovation as he took the stage.

“We are tying to open up the television medium so that viewers can help to make television and join the conversation of democracy and reclaim American democracy by talking about the choices we have to make.”

Brad Garrett and Joely Fisher, costars of the Fox sitcom ’Til Death, stepped to the stage to introduce the award for Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program. The winner was Tony Bennett for Tony Bennett, Performer Tony Bennett: An American Classic. In his brief speech, Bennett thanked the retailer Target, which sponsored the production, and his children for their support.

In the second recap of the acting honors from last Saturday’s Creative Arts Emmy Awards, Anthony Anderson, of the new Fox drama K-Ville, and Teri Hatcher, of ABC’s Desperate Housewives, announced the winners for Outstanding Guest Actor and Actress in a Comedy Series: Stanley Tucci, who appeared in an episode of Monk, and Elaine Stritch, a winner for her performance as Colleen Donaghy, the mother of Alec Baldwin’s puffed-up network executive on NBC’s 30 Rock.

Tucci and Stritch then remained to present Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series as she did at the Creative Arts ceremony a week ago, albeit with slightly less profanity, Stritch veered from the script to the audience’s delight. The winner was Richard Shepard for his direction of the Ugly Betty pilot.

Hatcher and Anderson returned for another presentation, this one for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series, which went to Greg Daniels for the “Gay Witch Hunt” episode of The Office.

In a toss to another musical performance, Seacrest, dressed in garb from Showtime’s The Tudors, introduced Wayne Brady, host of the Fox game show Don’t Forget the Lyrics, along with Grammy-winning musical sensation Kanye West and Rainn Wilson, a nominee for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for his work on NBC’s The Office, who competed in a mock version of Brady’s show.

West and Wilson then presented the award for Outstanding Reality-Competition Program to The Amazing Race. The honor marked the fifth consecutive Emmy in this category for The Amazing Race, tying it with Frasier for most consecutive wins in a row.

Comedy Central duo — Daily Show host Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, host of The Colbert Report — stepped to the stage to present Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. Colbert, armed with a leaf blower, which led to mock-serious banter about the veracity of global warming.

Of his leaf blower, Colbert said, “This baby runs on alternative fuel.”

“What?” asked Stewart.

The two men then announced British performer Ricky Gervais as the winner for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. When Stewart and Colbert determined that Gervais was not present top receive the award, they announced that in his absence they would give the award to “our good friend Steve Carell!” Carell then ran to the stage from his seat and the three men, hooting with enthusiasm, shared a group hug.

Next, presenting the honor for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, were Hugh Laurie, star of the Fox series House, and a nominee for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, and Felicity Huffman, of ABC’s Desperate Housewives, and a nominee for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.

The winner was Sally Field of ABC’s Brothers & Sisters. It was the third Emmy among seventh nominations for Field, who previously won in 2001, for an episode of ER, and in 1977, for her performance in the dramatic special Sybil.

Field began what would ultimately prove to be the most controversial speech of the night somewhat innocuously by thanking the show’s creators, cast and crew. She then shifted gears to discuss her character, Nora Walker, the widowed mother of five children.

“At the heart of Nora Walker, she is a mother, so surely this beloings to all the mothers of the world. May they be seen, may their work be valued and raised, and to especially the mothers who stand with open heart and wait for their children to come home from danger, harm’s way and from war….” After a momentary lapse during which she lost her train of thought, Field resumed: “I am proud to be one of those women. Let’s face it, if the mothers rules the world, there would be no goddamn wars in the first place. Thank you for everything.”

An “In Memoriam” video montage followed, featuring clips of some of the noted television figures who passed away over the past year, including one of host Ryan Seacrest’s heroes and mentors, Merv Griffin.

Debra Messing, a nominee for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie for her performance in the USA miniseries The Starter Wife, was joined on stage by William Shatner, a nominee for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for his work on ABC’s Boston Legal. They presented the award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series to America Ferrera of ABC’s Ugly Betty.

“It is truly an amazing, wonderful thing that happens when your dreams come true,” she said.

Stars of two new fall series — Jimmy Smits, star of the CBS drama Cane, and Kate Walsh, of ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy spin-off Private Practice — appeared to present Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series.

Thwarting the expectations of many who of those who had anticipated seeing James Gandolfini take home his fourth Emmy for playing Tony Soprano, the award went to James Spader for Boston Legal. The award represented Spader’s third Emmy in as many nominations, all for playing the character of ethically challenged attorney Alan Shore — first for the Practice, and two subsequent honors for that show’s spin-off, Boston Legal.

Alluding to Gandolfini, Spader said, “Oh my goodness, I feel like I just stole a pile of money from the Mob.”

A pair of familiar TV faces, Kelsey Grammer and Patricia Heaton, stars of the new Fox comedy Back to You, came to the stage to present an award they would no doubt like to be nominated for next year: Outstanding Comedy Series. The winner, a critical favorite that could use the potential ratings boost an Emmy could bring, was NBC’s 30 Rock.

Creator, head writer and start Tina Fey, speaking for the assembled team, thanked NBC executive Jeff Zucker and former NBC exec Kevin Reilly “for believing in us enough to keep us on the air.” She then preemptively thanked newly installed NBC entertainment chief Ben Silverman for “doing the same for the next six years,” and, in a joking reference to the ratings, “our dozens and dozens of viewers.”

Presenting the final award of the evening, Outstanding Drama Series, was Helen Mirren — three-time Emmy winner, including one earlier in the evening for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie. This time, The Sopranos prevailed, making it the first regular U.S. drama series has won the top Emmy prize in its final season.

In his speech, creator David Chase thanked his cast, and staff, as well as the many musicians who licensed their music to the show over the years. Then, in closing comments that seemed t pick up on Sally Field’s phrasing and sentiments — and which Seacrest latched onto as an apt closing to the entire evening — he said, “In essence, this is a story about a gangster, and gangsters are out there taking their kids to college and taking their kids to school and outing food on the table, and, hell, let’s face it, if this world and this nation were run by gangsters — maybe it is.”

Sopranos, 30 Rock Top Emmys