Kiefer Sutherland won his first Emmy for best actor in a drama series for "24." It was his eighth Emmy nomination.
The third nomination was the charm for new mother Mariska Hargitay, who won best lead actress in a drama for NBC's "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit."
Julia Louis-Dreyfus broke the so-called "Seinfeld curse," winning lead actress in a comedy series for her CBS show, "The New Adventures of Old Christine."
"Curse this," she said referring to the failures of most TV attempts from the former "Seinfeld" crew.
In addition to a best supporting actor Emmy for Jeremy Irons', HBO's "Elizabeth I" added Emmys for best miniseries, lead actress and directing.
In accepting her trophy for portraying the British queen, Helen Mirren saluted the writers, who minutes earlier lost in their category to HBO's "Girl in the Cafe."
At the end of the telecast Bob Newhart was freed from his airtight container to present the award for best comedy series -- after show host Conan O'Brien told him 52 percent of "thousands of callers" wanted him to live.
O'Brien had joked at the beginning of the show that Newhart would run out of air and die if acceptance speeches -- and the show -- ran too long.