July 19, 2008–AMC's Mad Men dominated at the Television Critics Awards Saturday night, winning program of the year and top new drama. Last week, Mad Men garnered 16 Emmy noms, the most of any drama series. NBCs 30 Rock drew the comedy series nod as voted by the Television Critics Association (TCA). It was first time an AMC series has won a TCA Award.
Receiving the drama honors with castmate Jon Hamm, Mad Men actor John Slattery said, Obviously, the message of smoking, drinking and whoring has resonated with the TCA.
John Adams was named top movie, miniseries or special, with Paul Giamatti chosen as individual achievement in a drama.
Tina Fey, star of 30 Rock, took comedy honors. Fey expressed appreciation over the fact that the TCA doesnt divide its comedy and drama awards by male and female performances. I like that this category isnt separated by gender, she said. Its not weightlifting.
Ken Burns and Lynn Novick PBS documentary series The War won for achievement in news and information, while PBS WordGirl drew kudos for childrens programming.
Fey apologized for being the only person from her show to attend. The rest of the cast couldnt be here tonight because NBC is broke, she said. Fey also quipped that 30 Rock, earning high marks at a time when cable is dominating the awards circuit, is the most successful cable show in broadcast history. Its as exciting as being the best vaudeville act in the 60s.
HBOs The Wire was the winner of the Heritage Award, which recognizes a program that has had a lasting cultural or social impact. Saturday Night Live exec producer Lorne Michaels won the career achievement award.
After lamenting how a storyline in the final season of The Wire explored how newspapers often place such high regard on awards that the rest of its coverage can suffer, exec producer David Simon joked, I was completely wrong. It is all about the awards. He went on to say that if not for critics support, HBO mightve canceled the series after the third and fourth season.
The ceremony opened with a slaute to the Smothers Brothers for their 1960s CBS variety show, which explored many social issues.
The TCA comprises about 200 reporters and columnists in print and online media from the U.S. and Canada.