The Emmy telecast wasn't TV; it was HBO.
Or so it seemed, at times, as the premium cable channel racked up the lion's share of the trophies Sunday night, including outstanding dramatic series "The Sopranos," miniseries "Angels in America," movie "Something The Lord Made," lead actor and actress in a movie or miniseries (Al Pacino, Meryl Streep) and best lead actress in a comedy (Sarah Jessica Parker, "Sex and the City").
But there were some shocks. "Sopranos" costars James Gandolfini and Edie Falco, who won outstanding lead actor and actress in a drama series last year, lost to James Spader of "The Practice" and Allison Janney of "The West Wing," respectively. And Fox's "Arrested Development," a critics' darling that Fox hesitated to renew for a second season, was named outstanding comedy, acing out the retiring "Sex and the City."
While "Sex" didn't get a parting gift, NBC's "Frasier" did. Both star Kelsey Grammer and David Hyde Pierce, who played his brother, took home statuettes. It was the fourth win for each.
"Angels in America" also took the awards for outstanding movie or miniseries director (Mike Nichols), outstanding writing (Tony Kushner), supporting actor (Jeffrey Wright) and supporting actress (Mary Louise Parker).
Streep was named best actress in a movie or miniseries for her three-character performance in "Angels in America." "You know, there are some days when I myself think I'm overrated,' she said. "But not today," she added.
Pierce won his fourth Emmy for best supporting actor in a comedy for his role in "Frasier." "Not the way I would have gone, but OK," he said before saluting the other nominees.
Michael Imperioli (Chris on "The Sopranos") won best supporting actor in a drama. It was his third nomination, first win.
"The Daily Show" was a repeat winner for best comedy, variety, music series and also won the writing award.
Cynthia Nixon of "Sex and the City" won best supporting actress in a comedy.
Drea de Matteo, whose last scene showed her crawling from her killer, won for best supporting actress in a drama.
Sarah Jessica Parker of "Sex and the City" won for outstanding lead actress in a comedy. "Oh my God, no way," she said when the music tried to chase her off.
Grammer wins his fourth Emmy for outstanding lead actor in a comedy. "'Frasier' was a gift," he said.
Award for outstanding reality competition were given by two real people who were brought in blindfolded by host Garry Shandling. The award in the category went to "The Amazing Race."
"Something The Lord Made," HBO's movie about a neglected black medical pioneer, won outstanding TV movie.
Pacino was named outstanding lead actor in movie or miniseries for his performance as Roy Cohn in "Angels in America."
Janney had her fourth win in five tries for outstanding actress in a drama series for "The West Wing." She seemed shocked and flustered by the victory and invited the other nominees to come and stand with her on stage.
Shandling did an engaging opening monologue. He got one of his biggest laughs when he took an indirect shot at reality shows. He said when he sees a commercial now, he says, "Thank God, professional actors in a story."
He also told a good joke about Donald Trump, who was in the audience. "We all know what it's like to build 80-story condos and gambling casinos to get his foot in the door in show business."