BEVERLY HILLS — Old and new, rookies and veterans, dark, dangerous drama and loopy, lovable comedy, attention-grabbing reality TV and provocative historical documentaries — the very best of this year’s TV crop were celebrated Saturday night at a Television Critics Association Awards gala that produced the most diverse collection of winners in the annual TV trophyfest’s history.
Breaking Bad, the always-shocking Bryan Cranston-led drama that begins its final eight-episode run next week on AMC, was named program of the year, while Saskatchewan-born newcomer Tatiana Maslany of the Space/CTV sci-fi series Orphan Black was a surprise (but not to the critics who voted) winner of the TCA Award for individual achievement in drama.
For the first time in recent memory, there were no repeat winners in the field of recipients. The TCA Awards, which recognize the best in TV programming each year, are voted by more than 220 members of the Television Critics Association, which represents journalists who cover television for print and online publications in the U.S. and Canada.
The awards were handed out Saturday at the historic Beverly Hilton Hotel during the U.S. networks’ semi-annual press tour in Los Angeles. Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele of the Comedy Network series Key & Peele served as guest hosts of the ceremony.
Louis C.K., writer/producer/director/star of the FX series Louie, received the TCA Award for individual achievement in comedy, while two long-running sitcoms, Parks and Recreation and The Big Bang Theory, shared the award for outstanding achievment in comedy.
The sweeping HBO epic Game of Thrones was recognized for outstanding achievement in drama, and FX’s period-piece spy drama The Americans got the nod for outstanding new program. The ABC Family series Bunheads received the award for outstanding children’s program, and ABC’s Shark Tank was named outstanding reality program.
The Ken Burns-produced PBS documentary The Central Park Five got the TCA’s vote for outstanding achievement in news and information, and the HBO film Behind the Candelabra topped the category for movies, miniseries and specials.
The TCA’s Heritage Award, bestowed each year on a program or person that has had a lasting social or cultural impact on society, was given to the groundbreaking CBS comedy All in the Family. Series creator Norman Lear and cast member Rob Reiner accepted the award on the show’s behalf.
The TCA presented Barbara Walters with its career achievement award.