Jim Parsons accepts the award for Outstanding Lead Actor In A Comedy Series for his role in The Big Bang Theory as presenters Julia-Louis Dreyfus and Bryan Cranston look on during the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, California, on August 25, 2014. Picture: Mario Anzuoni

Los Angeles - Actors Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Jim Parsons were repeat winners at the annual Primetime Emmy Awards on Monday by taking the top comedy acting honours and defeating a slew of newcomer nominees at television's biggest night.

Louis-Dreyfus won her third consecutive Emmy for her role as the ambitious and foul-mouthed US Vice-President Selina Meyer on HBO's political satire Veep.

Parsons won his fourth lead acting Emmy for playing the pedantic nerd Sheldon in CBS comedy The Big Bang Theory.

“There's no accounting for taste, and through a lot of good fortune I stand up here tonight,” said Parsons.

In a year in which newcomers and cable and streaming company Netflix have dominated the conversation about television's top honours, the big broadcast networks fared well in the early comedy awards.

Ty Burrell won best supporting actor in a comedy for his role as the hapless father Phil Dunphy on ABC's hit show Modern Family, while Allison Janney won best supporting actress in a comedy as the ditsy mother on the CBS series Mom.

Louis C.K. won his second Emmy for best writing for a comedy series for his FX Networks show Louie, in which he plays himself, an insecure middle-aged stand-up comic and single dad struggling to find love.

The evening's host, late-night talk show comedian Seth Meyers opened the show with knocks to the industry about the threat of online-streaming service Netflix to cable networks and the submission of its jailhouse series Orange Is The New Black as a comedy rather than a drama.

“We had comedies that make you laugh, and comedies that make you cry. Because they're dramas submitted as comedies,” said Meyers in his opening monologue at the Nokia Theatre in downtown Los Angeles.

Orange Is The New Black, featuring a diverse group of characters in a women's prison, has helped cement Netflix's reputation at a quality producer of original comment and will challenge the best comedy series reign of ABC's Modern Family.

Orange is one of the three television upstarts that could shake up the Emmys in a validation of the industry's move toward sophisticated, long-form storytelling.

Led by Oscar-winner Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson from HBO's murder mystery True Detective, a new breed of TV backed by film stars and cinematic vision will square off against Emmy stalwarts Breaking Bad and Mad Men for the night's top honour, best drama series.

FX's snowy psychological miniseries Fargo - starring Billy Bob Thornton and Martin Freeman and based on the Coen brothers' 1996 Oscar-winning film - is also a favourite to sweep the miniseries categories.

“We are in a time when television is the best that it's ever been, so just look around and realise that everyone who's here deserves an award,” said Beau Willimon, the creator of Netflix's Emmy-nominated political thriller House Of Cards.

The Emmys are handed out by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

With big broadcast networks again shut out from the best drama series race, AMC's drug tale Breaking Bad will defend its title against House Of Cards, AMC ad world portrait Mad Men, PBS British period series Downton Abbey, HBO's fantasy epic Game Of Thrones and True Detective. - Reuters