It’s all in the chemistry. Congratulations to the entire #BreakingBad cast and crew for taking home the Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series!
The 66th Primetime Emmy Awards was a win for broadcast and cable television, which earned numerous awards as the digital gate-crasher Netflix was nearly shut out.
AMC’s “Breaking Bad” scored big on Monday night, winning a total of five awards, including its second consecutive prize for outstanding drama series. The crime drama, about a high school teacher who receives a diagnosis of lung cancer and starts selling crystal meth with a former student, concluded its final season.
Bryan Cranston, who starred in the series as the teacher, Walter White, won the award for best lead actor in a drama series, his fifth Emmy win. The award for outstanding supporting actor in a drama series went to Aaron Paul for his role as the former student. Anna Gunn, who played Walter’s wife, Skyler, won the award for outstanding supporting actress.
The Emmy Awards ceremony has gained popularity in recent years. About 17.8 million viewers tuned into the broadcast last year, when Neil Patrick Harris hosted. That was up 34 percent from 2012 and the highest since 2005, according to Nielsen.
The three-hour show set the stage on Monday for a number of battles. Broadcasters tried to defend their turf against being completely shut out of the top series categories. HBO, the perennial leader, with 99 nominations this year, fought to hold on to its claim of winning more Emmys than any broadcast network. And the streaming service Netflix posed a growing threat to the industry establishment with its 31 nominations.
The late-night wars also took center stage. Mr. Meyers, known for his longtime “Weekend Update” segment on “Saturday Night Live,” took over as host on NBC’s “Late Night” in February after Jimmy Fallon left to host “The Tonight Show.”
Mr. Meyers called on a parade of other late-night hosts to present during the ceremony, including Mr. Fallon; Jimmy Kimmel, host of ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live”; and Stephen Colbert, who will succeed David Letterman as host of CBS’s “The Late Show” in 2015. His Comedy Central show, “The Colbert Report,” won the award for outstanding variety series.
Though the evening’s focus was on comedy, the ceremony also took on a more somber note. Billy Crystal paid tribute during the show’s in memoriam segment to Robin Williams, the Oscar- and Emmy-winning actor and comedian, who died this month.
“As genius as he was onstage, he was the greatest friend you could ever imagine,” Mr. Crystal said.
“It is very hard to talk about him in the past because he was so present in all of our lives. For almost 40 years, he was the brightest star in the comedy galaxy.”
Monday’s awards showed how the lines between television and film had been blurring, especially as Hollywood stars increasingly took on television projects.
Matthew McConaughey, who won an Academy Award for best actor this year (for “Dallas Buyers Club”), was nominated for his performance in HBO’s “True Detective.”
The Oscar winner Julia Roberts was also nominated, for her role as a pioneering doctor in HBO’s television movie “The Normal Heart,” about the AIDS crisis. (Neither Mr. McConaughey nor Ms. Roberts won.
Taking home the prize for Ms. Roberts’s category was Kathy Bates for FX’s “American Horror Story.” “The Normal Heart,” based on Larry Kramer’s award-winning play, was named best television movie.
Mr. McConaughey was the butt of several jokes on Monday night.
Mr. Kimmel poked fun at him, saying he probably didn’t even own a television.
“That is not a television face. That is a movie star face,” he said, telling the audience to look instead at Ricky Gervais, who was nominated for best actor in a comedy series for his Netflix show “Derek.” “That is not even really a television face,” Mr. Kimmel said. “That is a Netflix face.”
Mr. McConaughey presented the award for lead actor in a mini-series or movie with his “True Detective” co-star Woody Harrelson. Mr. Harrelson mocked Mr. McConaughey’s “all right, all right, all right” catchphrase before saying, “You won an Oscar, sexiest man alive, and now you want an Emmy too?”
Mr. McConaughey responded, “I think you should have gratitude for what you have and not envy what I do.”
The award for outstanding writing for a comedy series went to Louis CK for the “So Did the Fat Lady” episode of “Louie” on the FX network.