There was nothing for the TV critics to criticize at the 32nd annual Television Critics Association Awards, because all the winners were invited to the event that honored the best of the best in broadcasting and across all media platforms.
The big winner was FX’s American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson, honored as Program of the Year. The true crime drama also received an award for Outstanding Achievement in Movies, Miniseries, and Specials. Executive producer Ryan Murphy accepted and said, “I am so thrilled to be back in your good graces,” a reference to some critics’ blasting the final seasons of his musical series Glee.
A delighted Sarah Paulson picked up a trophy for Individual Achievement in Drama for her flawless portrayal of head prosecutor Marcia Clark in The People v. O.J. miniseries, which she said was “the greatest job I’ve ever had.”
Paulson said, “To be acknowledged among such accomplished performers is extremely humbling. In this category there is no distinction of gender. That is refreshing.” She praised the TV critics noting that they watch everything on television “and given the insane volume of content on various platforms of viewing, I want to thank you for your service.”
Enjoying the TCA Awards ceremony, at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills in August, was the huge entourage of the People v. O.J. creative team. In addition to Paulson, among the cast members were Cuba Gooding Jr. (O.J.), and Malcolm-Jamal Warner who played Al Cowlings.
Catching up with the super-talented nice guy, Warner told this reporter he balances his acting gigs with his passion for music and won his first Grammy award last year.
Awards were nothing new for The Americans, another outstanding series on FX. The acclaimed Soviet spy thriller won Best Drama last year and this year. Best Comedy went to ABC’s Black-ish, the ultra-funny sitcom starring Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross. Neither were on hand, so executive producer Jonathan Groff picked up the trophy and noted the irony that “the white guy is accepting for Black-ish. Look how far we’ve come as a people.”
The Individual Achievement in Comedy went to the deserving dynamo Rachel Bloom, who not only writes, produces and stars in the CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, she also helped write over 50 original songs for the first season of the wonderfully engaging show. “This is a musical comedy about a person with anxiety and depression. It is a cultish show and we would not still be on the air if it weren’t for you,” Bloom thanked the critics.
More new programs got the spotlight when USA’s hit cyber drama Mr. Robot was named Outstanding New Program, and TBS’ Full Frontal with Samantha Bee won for Achievement in News and Information—although the satirical comedy show isn’t a real news show. But Samantha Bee was grateful and thanked the TV critics for letting people know about the show. “But please give us a 15-minute warning when you turn on us,” Bee begged.
The legacy of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood was saluted when the PBS animated series Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood won Outstanding Achievement in Youth Programming. And the Reality Programming award went to the controversial Netflix docu-series Making a Murderer.
The TCA Heritage Award honored CBS’ groundbreaking 1970s sitcom The Mary Tyler Moore Show for the cultural and social impact it has had. Co-creator Allan Burns accepted the honor reporting, “Mary was a helluva lot more than spunky.” Co-star Valerie Harper read a letter from Mary Tyler Moore who noted, “A Heritage Award means we’re all getting old.”
Jane Fonda made a surprise appearance to present her Grace and Frankie co-star, Lily Tomlin, with a Career Achievement Award. Lily took a bow for her diverse television legacy that spans over 50 years and includes seven Emmy wins, and unforgettable roles that started with Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In.
The awards were emceed by Jane the Virgin’s Jaime Camil, along with his alter-ego Telenovela superstar Rogelio De La Vega. He was sensational. And kudos should go to Cindy Ronzoni, the media maven with Social Spread Media, who organized the event for the TCA. #