Los Angeles, CA (USAT) - Homeland, Showtime's series about a former POW and the CIA analyst who suspects him of being a terrorist, won quick kudos from Emmy voters for its first season: The series won best drama, denying Mad Men a record fifth consecutive win, and stars Damian Lewis and Claire Danes won top acting awards at Sunday's 64th annual Primetime Emmy Awards.
It was a milestone for the pay-cable network, which also claimed a writing award for the show's creators. Homeland returns Sunday for a second season.
Elsewhere, it was a thoroughly Modern night for Emmy voters, as ABC's hit Modern Family won its third straight best comedy Emmy. Eric Stonestreet and Julie Bowen repeated as best supporting actor and actress for their roles as flamboyant Cam and frazzled Claire, and show co-creator Steve Levitan picked up a trophy for directing.
Voters also spread the love to other shows and networks: Julia Louis-Dreyfus won lead comedy actress for HBO's freshman Veep. Jon Cryer was a surprise winner as best comedy actor for his role as nebbishy Alan in CBS' Charlie Sheen-less Two and a Half Men.
MORE: Complete list of winners
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Among other drama winners, Aaron Paul took his second Emmy as supporting actor for playing No. 2 meth man Jesse Pinkman on AMC's Breaking Bad, while Maggie Smith of PBS' Downton Abbey won as supporting actress.
The movie and miniseries category was dominated by HBO's Game Change, which won the top award and honors for actress Julianne Moore and its writer and director; and History's Hatfields and McCoys, for actors Kevin Costner and Tom Berenger.
Louis CK won for comedy writing -- twice -- for FX's shoestring-budget comedy series Louie and a pay-per-view variety special.
Two more winners were entirely familiar: Comedy Central's The Daily Show With Jon Stewart won its 10th consecutive Emmy as outstanding variety series. And CBS' The Amazing Race took home its ninth award as best reality-competition series, a nearly uninterrupted run since the category was introduced in 2003. Tom Bergeron of ABC's Dancing With the Stars won for top reality host, his first prime-time Emmy.
Lewis had the last word on the 26 trophies handed out Sunday night on ABC: "I don't really believe in judging art, but I thought I'd show up just in case," he said. "Turned out all right."