LOS ANGELES - Comedy stars grabbed early prizes at the Emmys Sunday, while the TV world waited to see if Netflix drama "House of Cards" could become the first online-only show to take a major prize.
Jim Parsons of "The Big Bang Theory" took the best comic actor award, while political comedy "Veep" scored two wins with best actress for Julia Louis-Dreyfus and best supporting actor for Tony Hale.
Elton John meanwhile made a moving tribute to Liberace, playing a new song and acknowledging the gay piano icon's influence on his own music "and my dress sense," saying: "This guy played a mean piano."
Emmys host Neil Patrick Harris joked about the television industry's radically changing formats in his opening monologue, saying: "For our younger audiences, that's the thing you watch on your phones."
Kevin Spacey contributed to a hilarious opening skit, as the camera cut away from the stage to him in the audience, deadpanning: "It's all going to my plan," in character as scheming "House of Cards" congressman Francis Underwood.
The Netflix political drama aims to become the first online-only series to win in major categories at the 65th annual Primetime Emmy awards show, the TV world's equivalent of the Oscars.
But it faces stiff competition from critically-acclaimed AMC thriller "Breaking Bad," which many are tipping to win the evening's top prize for best drama on its fifth nomination.
Terror-themed thriller "Homeland" and multiple-Emmy winning "Mad Men" are also in the running for best drama, while "American Horror Story: Asylum" has the most nominations of all, with 17 nods at the awards gala in Los Angeles.