Seen and heard at the 5th annual TV Land Awards

What was Masi Oka and the rest of the cast of the hip young cast of NBC’s Heroes doing at the TV Land Awards?

The stars of Heroes were there to pick up the “Future Classic” honor at the gala that hands out kudos to vintage shows and stars that have achieved pop culture status such as I Love Lucy, Hee Haw, Taxi and The Brady Bunch.

Oka said, “It’s just amazing to be part of this. I’m seeing stars that I grew up watching, and idolized. I don’t consider myself a TV icon yet. Maybe in the future. My time-traveling character would know for sure.”


On the red carpet, Oka got a big “cuchi, cuchi” embrace from the high-energy entertainer Charo, who was a frequent guest on The Love Boat series in the ’70s. Little “hero” Noah Gray-Cabey was thrilled to get a motherly hug from Florence Henderson, a.k.a “Mama Brady.”

Jack Coleman, a.k.a. HRG on Heroes, has been in showbiz long enough not to get star-struck, since he was in glitz epic Dynasty in the ’80s. But he revealed, “Seeing Ben Vereen tonight was amazing for me. He looks fantastic. He was the star of Pippin, which was the very first Broadway show I saw. I was so blown away by his incredible performance, it inspired me as an actor.”

Ben Vereen was a member of the impressive Roots cast being honored for the 30th anniversary of the landmark miniseries. Also from Roots,  Louis Gossett, Jr. said he’s headed to Broadway to play “Big Daddy” in a revival of Cat On a Hot Tin Roof. But before he heads to the Big Apple, he’ll go to New Orleans to help out with the clean up in the Katrina aftermath.

Todd Bridges, the once troubled child actor– Willis from Diff’rent Strokes, was in Roots and is now a regular on Everybody Hates Chris. Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs became part of the classic TV sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter, and has established himself as a director.

Cicely Tyson was wearing an elegant skirt made of feathers! And Leslie Uggams looked as lovely as she did 30 years ago playing the unforgettable Kizzie. When she was starting in the business, Uggams recalled that her career got a boost from a glowing review in The Hollywood Reporter, which helped land her a stint on Broadway. That review was written by yours truly. 


Also seen were young Kunta Kinte himself, LeVar Burton, who went on to become the beloved host of the PBS kids show Reading Rainbow; plus John Amos, who played the older Kunta Kinte, can now be seen on ABC’s Men In Trees.

Backstage Creations hosted the backstage gift tent where the stars where thanked for their time and talent with treats from The Margarita King, Royal Accessories, Beanpod Candles, home furnishings, Country Girl Apparel and the Supersmile line of oral care products, among others. The gift tent also had a display of English Leather aftershave, which added to the nostalgic scent in the air at the TV Land Awards. John Amos took a whiff of the cologne and recalled, “I used to bathe in this when I was young.”

Frank Barron is the former editor of The Hollywood Reporter, having served twice in that capacity. In between, he was West Coast news director for Billboard Publications, supervising their five magazines. Barron also created the western TV series “The Man From Blackhawk” for the ABC network. For more than three decades he and writer-wife Margie Barron have covered Hollywood for Production Update magazine, and they currently contribute to numerous publications. Frank started in showbiz as publicity director for the KHJ radio and television station. Before moving to California, he was a sports editor in New Jersey.