A funny thing happened on the way to the Emmys. The expected coronation of 30 Rock and Mad Men as the winners of every category under the sun did not quite come to pass.

Those two shows did win the two biggest awards on Sunday night at the 61st annual Primetime Emmy Awards. 30 Rock, which led all shows with 22 nominations, was named best comedy for the third straight year. Tina Fey, the creator of the series thanked the executives of NBC for keeping the show on the air despite its relatively low viewership.

AMC’s Mad Men, which garnered 16 nominations, won best drama for the second straight year.

Toni Collette, who portrays a woman with multiple personalities on Showtime’s United States of Tara, won the Emmy for best actor in a comedy. Kristin Chenoweth, who played Olive Snook in ABC’s Pushing Daisies,won best woman supporting actor in a comedy. Jon Cryer, who plays the Felix Unger to Charlie Sheen’s Oscar Madison on CBS’ Two and a Half Men, won best supporting actor in a comedy.

In drama, Glenn Close won her second straight Emmy for best actress for her role in Damages, the FX drama, and Bryan Cranston similarly repeated as best actor for Breaking Bad. Michael Emerson won the award for best supporting actor for his turn as Benjamin Linus in ABC’s Lost, while Cherry Jones won for best supporting actress for her role as the U.S. President on Fox’s 24.

30 Rock and Mad Men did win a few other statues. Alec Baldwin won the Emmy for best actor in a comedy for the second consecutive year for 30 Rock, and Matt Hubbard took home the award for writing for a comedy series for the episode “Reunion” -- although in that category, 30 Rock had garnered four of the five nominations for the award.

Mad Men similarly dominated the nominations in the writing category for a drama series, and Kater Gordon and Weiner won the Emmy for the show, for the episode “Meditations in an Emergency.”

Among reality shows, Jeff Probst of CBS’s Survivor won the award for best reality host for the second straight year, and The Amazing Race, also on CBS, won the award for best reality competition show for the seventh consecutive year -- every year that the award has existed. “Upsets at every turn,” ad-libbed Neil Patrick Harris, the show’s host, himself a loser in the best supporting actor in a comedy category. American Idol, which has lost the award to The Amazing Race for so many years, did win one long-awaited Emmy. The Daily Show With Jon Stewart won two big awards in its category, for outstanding variety, music or comedy series and for outstanding writing in the genre. — © 2009 The New York Times News