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The TCA Awards: Honoring TV's Best
August 6, 2018  | By Roger Catlin

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — The gathering clouds of Russian spying carried over to the TV Critics Association’s 34th TCA Awards ceremony Saturday, with The Americans winning program of the year, outstanding drama, and outstanding individual achievement in drama for Keri Russell.

The sweep came against such strong nominees as last year’s winner The Handmaid’s Tale, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story and newcomer Killing Eve. Game of Thrones didn’t even make the nominations.

Versace and Killing Eve earned their own awards for outstanding miniseries and outstanding new show respectively. (But nothing was left this year for last year’s darling, Handmaid’s).

While much of the cast of Versace turned up for their award, the stars of Killing Eve (right) did not though producer Phoebe Waller-Bridge, the star of her own series Fleabag, was present saying she wished “this show inspires young girls and women everywhere to be more murderous.”

And just one of the two producers of The Americans were on hand, musing that it was only the members of TCA who loved the show the most. Russell for her part did a stream of consciousness thanks from a graveyard in Ireland, shot by her husband (and Americans co-star Matthew Rhys) with a shaky phone video.

John Oliver (below) won his first award for outstanding achievement in sketch/variety shows, also sent in a clip instead — a funny one in which he hoisted an industrial sized bottle of Purell in place of the award, and mused about the CBS executive session to come.

“I was there on the first day when you were all so young!” he teased from afar to the crowd on day 11 of press tour. At least 40 percent of you are dead by now, emotionally if not physically.” He knew his audience.

Rachel Brosnahan of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel didn’t even send a video greeting. Instead, a note was read that ended with the salutation “cheers,” which Good Place creator Michael Schur mock criticized since Ted Danson of his cast (and of Cheers) was present.

Those wins displaced Atlanta from any even though it won two categories last year and, arguably, had a better Season 2.

The recharged Queer Eye won the reality programming award; the HBO Sesame Street the youth programming nod. And there was an emotional acceptance speech for Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown from its producer Morgan Fallon about its star, who died June 8. “It means a lot to us, especially right now,” Fallon said.

No Friends showed up to win their Heritage Award, though its three executive producers did, buoyed by the 10-season series’ current rediscovery by young viewers on Netflix.

But Rita Moreno (top) made a big splash in winning her Lifetime Achievement award, with a documentary crew following her into the event, and Norman Lear, creator of her current One Day at a Time reboot, handing her the award.

Wearing a shirt that said “Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It,” she was typically brash and sharp in accepting the unwieldy addition to her EGOT.

“How much recognition does a person need?” she asked. But then she mentioned being shunned in the Emmy nominations and still felt the rejection she felt as a young Puerto Rican immigrant. “I constantly have to send her to her room,” she said of her inner child.

Robin Thede of the recently canceled BET late night series The Rundown with Robin Thede served as host.

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