The night belonged to 1960s-era drama Mad Men and new comedy romp Modern Family at the Emmy Awards, but worldwide sensation Glee was dramatically snubbed in a host of categories.
Modern Family won the best comedy series award and also captured an acting gong for Eric Stonestreet and a best writing trophy.
The best drama series award for Mad Men was its third consecutive one. Series creator Matthew Weiner seemed to take the night in his stride.
"I knew one day I would run somewhere and win a trophy," Weiner joked earlier in the Los Angeles ceremony when he dashed to the stage to claim the Emmy for best drama series writing with Erin Levy.
Musical-comedy Glee started the night as the most-nominated series in 19 categories -- but earned just four awards, including a best supporting actress trophy for Jane Lynch and a directing prize for creator Ryan Murphy.
"Glee is about the importance of arts education, so I would like to dedicate this to all my teachers who taught me to sing and finger-paint," Murphy said of his award.
But the show was still the flavour of the night on yesterday's Emmy telecast. Host Jimmy Fallon opened the show with a skit that roped actresses Tina Fey, Betty White, reality TV star Kate Gosselin and Hamm into a Glee-style cover version of the Bruce Springsteen classic Born To Run.
Jim Parsons, the geeky physicist of The Big Bang Theory, won the best comedy actor Emmy, ending the two-year reign of 30 Rock star Alec Baldwin.
And Edie Falco of Sopranos fame took home her first Emmy for comedy for her role as the pill-popping Nurse Jackie, while Kyra Sedgwick won her first Emmy in five tries for playing a tough police detective in drama series The Closer.
"You think you don't have a chance in hell of winning after five times ... today I'm beyond my wildest dreams," Sedgwick said afterwards.
And Falco felt: "Oh, this is the most ridiculous thing that has ever, ever happened in the history of this lovely awards show. I'm not funny!"
Archie Panjabi of The Good Wife was honoured as best supporting actress.
Seven of the eight major acting Emmys went to newcomers or first-time Emmy winners, injecting new life into an industry that is fighting with social networking and videogames for dwindling audiences.
The sweeping World War Two epic HBO mini-series The Pacific won eight Emmys, but was almost upstaged by HBO's biopic Temple Grandin, which won seven, including a best actress award for Claire Danes.
Al Pacino won an Emmy for playing controversial assisted suicide doctor Jack Kevorkian in the HBO film You Don't Know Jack.
Kevorkian was in the Emmy audience and stood to acknowledge the applause.