- Associated Press - Sunday, September 18, 2011

LOS ANGELES (AP) - “Modern Family” won the first four Emmy Awards on Sunday, capturing best supporting comedy actress, best supporting comedy actor, best writing for a comedy and best direction for a comedy series.

Julie Bowen was named best supporting actress in a comedy series and Ty Burrell, who plays her husband on the show, won as best actor in the category. Jim Parsons of “The Big Bang Theory” won as best lead actor in a comedy.

The awards began on a controversial note when it was revealed that a taped comedy routine by Alec Baldwin for the show was cut from the telecast because it contained a joke about the News Corp. phone hacking scandal.

The actor was to be part of an opening video for Sunday night’s ceremony airing on Fox, a News Corp.-owned network. But he tweeted before the awards that the network had killed his 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.

First-time Emmy producer Mark Burnett, whose string of reality TV hits includes “Survivor,” was in charge of the ceremony, but kept mum when asked about Baldwin.

“There’s nonstop drama, but everything is fine,” he said cryptically on the red carpet before the show.

The last-minute controversy was emerging even as stars such as Christine Hendricks of “Mad Men” and Julia Stiles of “Dexter” were arriving for the show.

“She looks awesome, as always,” said fan Jessica Steiner, 26, of Hendricks, who was wearing a rhinestone-encrusted gown with a plunging neckline.

“Modern Family” nominee Sofia Vergara wore an ultra-glam, one-shouldered peach goddess gown and chandelier earrings. Gwyneth Paltrow stood by her, in a sleek black gown with cut-outs.

“Gwyneth is classy, and Sofia is sexy,” said fan Vanessa Baeza, 27. “But I think Sofia looks better. Her dress is more flattering.”

Inside the Nokia Theatre, Hendricks’ show is facing a threat from the mobsters and crooked politicians of “Boardwalk Empire.”

AMC’s 1960s Madison Avenue saga, which has earned three consecutive Emmy Awards as best drama series, is competing Sunday with HBO’s tale of Atlantic City, N.J, schemers making the most of the wild days of Prohibition in the 1920s.

“The Sopranos,” another HBO show about New Jersey hoodlums, was an Emmy magnet for the cable TV channel that earned 21 trophies during its six seasons.

HBO and AMC’s leading men are in a showdown as well. “Mad Men” star Jon Hamm, shut out three times by Bryan Cranston of “Breaking Bad,” caught a break when Cranston’s series didn’t air within the Emmy eligibility period.

Story Continues →