LOS ANGELES (AP) - Melissa McCarthy of “Mike & Molly” was honored Sunday as best lead actress in a comedy series with an Emmy and a glitzy prom queen’s crown, while Jim Parsons of “The Big Bang Theory” earned his second trophy in the best actor category.
“Holy smokes. Wow, it’s my first and best pageant ever,” said a beaming McCarthy. “I’m from Plainfield, Ill., and I’m standing here and it’s kind of amazing.”
Moments earlier, she and her fellow nominees had broken with tradition by jumping up on stage as their names were called, led by Amy Poehler of “Parks and Recreation.”
They earned a standing ovation from many in the audience, which seemed fitting in a year in which TV shows and movies are giving women edgier leading roles. Among them is the box-office hit “Bridesmaids,” which featured McCarthy.
Parsons looked genuinely surprised at his victory. “This is so odd for so many reasons. I was assured by many people in my life that this wasn’t happening,” he said.
The first awards in the drama category went to Jason Katims of “Friday Night Lights” for outstanding writing, and Margo Martindale, named best supporting actress for the show “Justified.”
The ceremony aired by Fox opened with a pre-taped comedy sketch that generated controversy because Alec Baldwin’s part was cut after he included a joke about the News Corp. phone hacking scandal. Fox is a unit of News Corp.
Baldwin tweeted that Fox killed the joke about the hacking scandal in Britain involving the now-closed News of the World tabloid. Fox said it believed the joke was inappropriate to make light of an issue being taken very seriously by the company.
Leonard Nimoy stepped in and the bit was retaped. It featured host Jane Lynch celebrating television in a musical number, singing about TV as “a vast wonderland, a kingdom of joy in a box.”
Charlie Sheen presented the lead actor award, using his time onstage to make nice with his former “Two and a Half Men” colleagues. He was fired from the show after bitterly clashing with its producer and studio and replaced by Ashton Kutcher.
“From the bottom of my heart, I wish you nothing but the best for this upcoming season,” he said. “I know you will continue to make great television.”
“Modern Family” won the first four Emmys, capturing best supporting comedy actress, best supporting comedy actor, best writing for a comedy and best direction for a comedy series.
Julie Bowen and Ty Burrell, who play husband and wife on the series, won best supporting actor honors for a comedy series.
“Oh, my God, I don’t know what I’m going to talk about in therapy next week,” said a shocked-looking Bowen. “I won something.”
Burrell spoke of his own father in accepting his best supporting actor award.