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‘Breaking Bad’ Wins Emmy for Best TV Drama in Last Season

“Breaking Bad,” the AMC (AMCX) network series about a science teacher turned drug kingpin, won the Emmy for best TV drama as its final season comes to an end.

Vince Gilligan, the show’s creator, credited Netflix Inc. (NFLX), saying an Internet outlet for older episodes of the series helped keep “Breaking Bad” alive past its second season. Netflix itself made history with the first prime-time Emmy for a Web service, for “House of Cards” director David Fincher.

“Breaking Bad” got its award after being nominated three times with no success since its 2008 debut, beating past winner “Homeland” and “House of Cards,” which Gilligan said he thought was going to win. One of the night’s surprises was Jeff Daniels’s award for his lead role as anchor Will McAvoy on HBO’s “The Newsroom,” beating Bryan Cranston from “Breaking Bad” and Jon Hamm in “Mad Men.”

“I didn’t expect this,” Daniels said onstage. “I usually don’t win anything.”

“Breaking Bad,” in its sixth year on TV, concludes its final season on Sept. 29. The show also garnered a supporting actress Emmy for Anna Gunn, while Claire Danes was best actress for the second time for her role as a CIA analyst on the Showtime series “Homeland,” highlighting pay TV’s strength in drama and television movies.

Airing at the start of the TV season, the Emmy telecast showcases programs most admired by the industry and promotes returning hits. Last night’s show on CBS vied for viewers with NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” match-up between the Chicago Bears and Pittsburgh Steelers. Last year’s telecast, also up against a game, drew 13.2 million viewers, to come in second.

‘Modern Family’

Time Warner Inc. (TWX)’s HBO network grabbed seven awards, more than a fourth of 26 handed out in last night’s live telecast. “Behind the Candelabra,” HBO’s made-for-TV feature about pianist Liberace, won three Emmys -- for director Steven Soderbergh, lead actor Michael Douglas and best miniseries or movie.

“Modern Family,” the series on Walt Disney Co.’s ABC, captured the award for best comedy, showing broadcast TV is holding its own with half-hour sitcoms.

Showtime’s awards included an Emmy for Laura Linney for her lead role in “The Big C: Hereafter,” about a suburban mom with cancer. “Homeland,” about a former soldier turned terrorist, won for best drama writing. Merritt Wever won for her supporting role on Showtime’s “Nurse Jackie.”

Not Netflix’s Night

With one prime-time award during the show, Los Gatos, California-based Netflix was mostly shut out. Its nominations included those for “House of Cards” lead actor Kevin Spacey, who played the corrupt congressman in the political thriller, and Robin Wright, his wife. Jason Bateman, a star of the comedy “Arrested Development,” which was resurrected by Netflix, lost in the comedy category to CBS’s Jim Parsons.

Still, the win for Netflix opens the door for other streaming services that are beginning to offer original series. Hulu LLC is increasing production after its owners, Disney, 21st Century Fox Inc. (FOXA) and Comcast, announced plans in July to invest $750 million in the service. Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) is licensing shows from CBS and other outlets and starting production on shows of its own.

HBO also demonstrated strength in comedy. Julia Louis-Dreyfus won the Emmy for leading comedy actress for her portrayal of Vice President Selina Meyer in “Veep.” Tony Hale, a co-star in the series, won for supporting actor.CBS Corp. (CBS)’s Showtime was second with four awards.

“It means a ton,” Louis-Dreyfus told reporters backstage. “I have lost many, many more times than I’ve won. It is delicious to win.”

‘The Colbert Report’

The Emmy was the fourth for Louis-Dreyfus, who has had 15 nominations, including a win for “Seinfeld,” according to the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

Parsons won the Emmy for lead actor in a comedy series for his role as Sheldon Cooper, a socially awkward physicist on “The Big Bang Theory,” which airs on CBS. The show is among the most-watched comedies on TV.

Broadcast networks also dominated reality programming, with Comcast Corp. (CMCSA)’s NBC winning for “The Voice.”

“The Colbert Report,” on Viacom Inc. (VIAB)’s Comedy Central, won best variety series and best writing for a variety series. The program bested “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.” Colbert credited Stewart’s decision to take a hiatus to direct a movie for the win.

“I’m glad Jon took the summer off during the voting period,” Colbert told reporters backstage.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andy Fixmer in Los Angeles at afixmer@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net

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Photographer: Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus, winner of the Best Lead Comedy Actress for "Veep", poses for a photograph in the press room during the 65th Annual Prime-time Emmy Awards held at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live in Los Angeles on Sept. 22, 2013.

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Photographer: Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus, winner of the Best Lead Comedy Actress for "Veep", poses for a photograph in the press room during the 65th Annual Prime-time Emmy Awards held at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live in Los Angeles on Sept. 22, 2013. Close

Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus, winner of the Best Lead Comedy Actress for "Veep", poses for a photograph in the press... Read More

Photographer: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Anna Gunn, second from left, and the cast and crew of "Breaking Bad" during the 65th Annual Emmy Awards. Close

Anna Gunn, second from left, and the cast and crew of "Breaking Bad" during the 65th Annual Emmy Awards.

Photographer: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Winner for Best Lead Actor in a Drama Series, Jeff Daniels. Close

Winner for Best Lead Actor in a Drama Series, Jeff Daniels.

Photographer: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Winner for Best Lead Actress in a Drama Series, Claire Danes. Close

Winner for Best Lead Actress in a Drama Series, Claire Danes.

Photographer: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Winner for Best Lead Actor in a Comedy Series, Jim Parsons. Close

Winner for Best Lead Actor in a Comedy Series, Jim Parsons.

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