Television Critics Association Tour and Awards

battlestarWhile the rest of us are dreaming about summer vacations or watching our favourite summer reality shows wind down, journalists who cover television programming are attending the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour.  The Television Critics Association (or TCA) is a group of approximately 200 American and Canadian journalists who write about television in print and online outlets.  Each January and July they participate in a biannual Press Tour in Los Angeles, which takes place over two or three weeks and allows the major television networks and cable networks to present their upcoming programming to press writers through panels and interviews.

Each year, as part of the Summer Press Tour, the Television Critics Association Awards are presented.  Last Saturday the awards celebrated 25 years of honouring excellence in television in a ceremony at the Langham Huntington Hotel & Spa, which was introduced by Chelsea Handler, host of E!’s “Chelsea Lately.”  Although the awards do not indicate who will take home the trophies in September at the Emmy Awards, they do recognize shows sometimes snubbed by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, providing vindication for the creative team and cast.

This year SyFy’s Battlestar Galactica, which ended in March, was named Program of the Year, despite being snubbed by the Emmys.  The award should placate executive producer Ron Moore, who used the Battlestar Comic-Con panel to express his disapproval. The TCA continued to disagree with this year’s Emmy nominations, presenting the award for Outstanding Achievement in Comedy to deserving CBS series The Big Bang Theory, which was not among the seven(!) nominated comedies for this years Emmy Awards.  Similarly, snubbed HBO drama True Blood was named Outstanding New Program.

Yet there were some similarities, with Big Bang Theory star Jim Parsons, a first time Emmy nominee this year, taking home a trophy for Individual Achievement in Comedy, and AMC’s Mad Men named Outstanding Achievement in Drama.  This TV enthusiast hopes that this is the only the first of many trophies to come for Parsons.

Also awarded were Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) for Individual Achievement in Drama, HBO mini-series Grey Gardens for Outstanding Achievement in Movies, Mini-series & Specials, and departing NBC drama ER, which received the Heritage Award recognizing “a long-standing program that has had a lasting cultural or social impact”.

For any interested parties, there’s a great article on the significance of the TCA Awards here.

With the awards handed out, it’s onto the broadcast portion of the Summer Press Tour.  This TV enthusiast will be getting her news by way of twitter, and following the blogs of members of the TCA, unfortunately, but I’ll post any interesting tidbits I come across here.

According to EW’s Ausiello, the schedule for the major network panels looks like this:

Today: CBS
Tuesday: The CW
Wednesday: NBC
Thursday: Fox
Friday: FX
Saturday: ABC

Anyone interested in getting the latest scoop right from the critic’s pen should bookmark The Live Feed, keep an eye on The Ausiello Files, and prepare to be flooded if you subscribe to TV Squad’s twitter stream.

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