AMC drama wins program of the year

“Mad Men” dominated at the TCA Awards Saturday night, capturing program of the year plus honors for top new program and drama.

Wins are just the latest coups for AMC’s “Mad Men,” which last week garnered 16 Emmy noms, the most of any drama series. Another Emmy darling, NBC’s “30 Rock,” drew the comedy series nod as voted by the Television Critics Assn.

It was first time an AMC series has won a TCA Award.

At the podium picking up the drama honors with castmate Jon Hamm, “Mad Men” thesp John Slattery quipped, “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 selected for individual achievement in a drama. Tina Fey, star of “30 Rock,” took comedy honors.

Fey expressed appreciation over the fact that the TCA doesn’t divide its comedy and drama awards by male and female performances.

“I like that this category isn’t separated by gender,” she said. “It’s not weightlifting.”

Ken Burns and Lynn Novick docu series “The War” won for achievement in news and information, while “WordGirl” drew kudos for children’s programming. Both are from PBS.

As usual, the atmosphere at the kudofest was much more casual than at most award ceremonies. Fey was especially funny, apologizing for being the only person from her show to attend.

“The rest of the cast couldn’t 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. It’s as exciting as being the best vaudeville act in the ‘60s.”

HBO’s “The Wire” was the winner of the Heritage Award, which recognizes a longstanding program that has had a lasting cultural or social impact. “Saturday Night Live” exec producer Lorne Michaels picked up 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 might’ve canceled the series after the third and fourth season.

The ceremony was opened by the Smothers Brothers, who were saluted for their 1960s CBS variety show, which explored many social and political issues.

TCA comprises more than 200 reporters and columnists in print and online media from the U.S. and Canada.

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