"Mad Men" was honored as Best Drama Series and "Modern Family" as Best Comedy Series at the first-ever Critics' Choice Television Awards. "Mad Men" star Jon Hamm walked away with Best Actor in a Drama Series; the show's Christina Hendricks tied with "Justified's" Margo Martindale" for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series.
Also among the winners: Tina Fey, Neil Patrick Harris, Jim Parsons and Julianna Margulies.
Created earlier this year as a precursor to the Television Critics Awards and the Emmy Awards themselves, the Critics' Choice Television Awards is made up of 15 categories and voted on by members who write primarily about TV.
Its top selections in both the drama and comedy series categories are also the reigning Emmy champs.
Also honored: "The Daily Show" took the prize as Best Talk Show, and "Amerian Idol" as best competition reality show. Top reality show was a tie between "Hoarders" and "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills."
There were 10 nominees for the category "Best New Series," but no winner was named.
Danny DeVito was awarded the Television Icon Award.
The awards were handed out at a luncheon at the Beverly Hills Hotel, hosted by "So You Think You Can Dance's" Cat Deely. They will be broadcast on Reelz Channel on June 22 at 8 p.m., with rebroadcasts that night and throughout the week.
The timing of the awards could be critical, with Emmy nomination ballots due on Friday.
TV personalities seemed to enjoy the new addition to the awards season. "Parks and Recreation" star Adam Scott introduced a clip of "Falling Skies" by joking, "I wish I was presenting the award for the most exciting new award show."
But others couldn't resist taking even more explicit (though humorous) swipes at the critics. Jon Hamm began his speech with a deadpan, "to be honored by people who ostensibly do this for a living is thrilling," while DeVito concluded his remarks with, "People might think that the TV critics are mindless parasites, but this proves you're not."
Winner Neil Patrick Harris, on the other hand, delivered what he promised were "only partly ass-kissy" thanks to the critics, saluting them for taking "How I Met Your Mother" seriously and treating the show "more like 'Lost' and less like 'The World According to Jim.'"
The Beverly Hills Hotel ballroom was filled for the show, with numerous shows and networks buying full tables and showing up with showrunners and stars. "At first everybody was uncertain about it, but there was a tipping point when suddenly everybody wanted tables," said one rep for a basic-cable network.
The most enthusiastic of the 50-odd tables belonged to "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills," cast members from which screeched wildly when the show tied with "Hoarders" in the Best Reality Show category.
Presenters included Zooey Deschanel, Elijah Wood, Scott Bakula and Sarah Michelle Gellar.
The complete list of winners:
Best Drama Series: "Mad Men"
Best Comedy Series: "Modern Family"
Best Actor in a Drama Series: Jon Hamm, "Mad Men"
Best Actress in a Drama Series: Julianna Marguiles, "The Good Wife"
Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series: John Noble, "Fringe"
Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series: (tie) Christina Hendricks, "Mad Men," Margo Martindale, "Justified"
Best Actor in a Comedy Series: Jim Parsons, "Big Bang Theory"
Best Actress in a Comedy Series: Tina Fey, "30 Rock"
Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series: Neil Patrick Harris, "How I Met Your Mother"
Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series: Busy Phillips, "Cougar Town"
Best Reality Series: (tie) "Hoarders," "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills"
Best Reality Series – Competition: "American Idol"
Best Reality Show Host: Mike Rowe, "Dirty Jobs"
Best Talk Show: "The Daily Show"
Television Icon Award: Danny DeVito