By Amy Ryan
Updated August 21, 2006 at 12:00 PM EDT
Credit: Lewis Jacobs/NBC

It’s good to be Cloris Leachman. The 80-year-old became the most honored actress in Emmy history on Saturday when she won her eighth Emmy (ninth if you count her Daytime Emmy) at the annual Creative Arts Emmys (a.k.a. the Not Ready for Prime Time Awards, mostly given to the behind-the-scenes folk and guest performers they won’t have time for at the main Emmy show next week). Leachman outdid her old boss, seven-time winner Mary Tyler Moore, winning a guest trophy for her role as Grandma Ida on Malcolm in the Middle (pictured), a role that also won her an Emmy four years ago. Leachman could even extend her winning streak next week if she wins the prize for Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie, defeating her Mrs. Harris costar Ellen Burstyn’s now-notorious 14-second performance in the HBO film. (Karma note: Leachman also won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar 35 years ago for The Last Picture Show, beating her then-costar Burstyn.) Oh, and Leachman also has a big part in this weekend’s new movie Beerfest, in which she’s pretty freakin’ hilarious.

Most of the attention for the Creative Arts Emmys has focused on the fact that an episode of The Simpsons beat South Park‘s infamous ”Trapped in the Closet” episode for Best Animated Show. ”This is what happens when you don’t mock Scientology,” said Simpsons executive producer Al Jean. Actually, this is what happens when an established favorite (it was The Simpsons‘ ninth win in the category) takes on an Emmy upstart. It’s a pattern you can expect to repeat itself at the main Emmys next Sunday, where HBO (which outdid all the other outlets on Saturday with 17 trophies) should be the most-honored network, as usual.

The nearly four-hour Creative Arts ceremony, hosted by Penn and Teller, will be whittled down to two hours for broadcast this Saturday on E! If only the magicians could saw the main show’s running time in half as well.