Big Bang Theory leads Critics Choice winners

The hit TV show about a group of nerdy scientists was an early winner on the night.

Cast members of The Big Bang Theory Johnny Galecki, Melissa Rauch and Kunal Nayyar attend CBS 2013 Upfront Presentation at The Tent at Lincoln Center on May 15, 2013 in New York City. Ben Gabbe/Getty Images/AFP

LOS ANGELES - BS sitcom The Big Bang Theory led comedy winners at the Critics Choice television awards on Monday, while AMC series Breaking Bad and HBO's fantasy epic Game of Thrones won top prizes for drama, edging out _Mad Men _and Homeland.

The Big Bang Theory - about a group of nerdy scientists - was an early winner on the night, with co-stars Kaley Cuoco and Simon Helberg also winning Best Comedy Supporting Actor awards.

Cuoco's win was tied with Eden Sher of ABC family comedy The Middle.

The Big Bang Theory, in its sixth season beat Louis, New Girl, Veep, The Middle and Parks and Recreation.

Game of Thrones, a medieval fantasy war epic, and Breaking Bad, about a chemistry teacher-turned-drug king, tied for the Best Drama Series prize.

Breaking Bad lead star Bryan Cranston won Best Actor in a Drama Series for the second year running, thanking the critics, saying "if you were not a conduit, we would not be anywhere".

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, star of HBO's political comedy Veep, won best comedy series actress, while Louis C.K. of FX's Louie picked up best comedy series actor for the second year running.

"I've spent my entire career making sure to ignore what critics say and what critics write. Tonight that strategy has changed," Louis-Dreyfuss quipped as she accepted her award.

One of the big surprises of the night came from little-known Tatiana Maslany from BBC America drama Orphan Black, in which she plays a woman with several identities. She won best drama actress, beating last year's Homeland winner Claire Danes.

Winners of the third annual Critics Choice Television Awards were chosen by members of the Broadcast Television Journalists Association, and handed out at a gala dinner in Beverly Hills, hosted by Parks and Recreation actress Retta.

FX's psychological horror mini-series American Horror Story: Asylum, with six nominations, came away with two wins for its stars Sarah Paulson and Zachary Quinto.

Hollywood comedian Bob Newhart was recognized with the Critics Choice Television Icon award, with actor Henry Winkler, best known as The Fonz in Happy Days, paying homage to Newhart's long-running career in television.