“Empire” Wins Program of the Year at Television Critics Association Awards

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Taraji P. Henson as Cookie Lyon in “Empire” (Photo Courtesy Fox)

“Empire” may have been snubbed by the Television Academy for this season’s Emmy Awards, but it won redemption from the Television Critics Association, winning the organization’s top prize, Program of the Year.

In winning program of the year, “Empire” edged out “Game of Thrones,” “Mad Men,” “The Americans” and “Transparent.” Amazon’s family dramedy had been nominated for four TCA awards, but ultimately won none.

The evening’s other big winner was pop culture’s “it” girl of the moment, Amy Schumer, who took home two prizes: for her Comedy Central series “Inside Amy Schumer” as Outstanding Achievement in Comedy as well as for Individual Achievement in Comedy.

AMC earned two wins, too: its highly praised freshman series “Better Call Saul,” the prequel to “Breaking Bad,” was crowned Outstanding New Program, and “Mad Men” star Jon Hamm claimed his second Individual Achievement in Drama award for his portrayal of adman Don Draper. (Will this bode well for his quest for that long-elusive Emmy?)

HBO also notched two awards. Andrew Jarecki and Marc Smerling’s compelling documentary “The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst” won for Outstanding Achievement in Movies, Miniseries and Specials. And the cable network’s news show “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” earned the award for Outstanding Achievement in News and Information.

The critics also bestowed a top prize on one of their favorites: FX’s spy thriller “The Americans” won Outstanding Achievement in Drama.

In TCA tradition, a “Heritage Award” was given to a show in recognition of its cultural and social impact. And this year, the recipient was late-night staple “Late Show/Late Night with David Letterman,” which ended its run in May after 33 years.

Oscar and Emmy-winning writer, producer and director James L. Brooks (“The Simpsons,” “Taxi,” “Mary Tyler Moore”) was given the Career Achievement Award for his role in creating some of the most groundbreaking and influential television programs.

The critics organization handed out its annual awards at the Beverly Hilton hotel in Los Angeles Saturday night, in a ceremony hosted by James Corden, host of CBS’ “The Late Late Show.”

article by Debra Birnbaum via Variety.com

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