It was all pats on the back and light-hearted jokes at the Paley Center for Media’s annual Benefit Gala, this year honoring FX with the Paley Prize for Innovation and Excellence on the Fox Lot on Oct. 16.
Showrunners, including Ryan Murphy and Kurt Sutter, were in attendance, as were stars of FX shows such as “Sons of Anarchy,” “American Horror Story” and “The League.” Paley Center prexy Pat Mitchell started the evening with a look back at FX’s inaugural original drama, “The Shield,” and read a scene from the pilot.
“It helped establish FX as a home: the network for truly fearless television,” she said of the hit.
Also at the event was Rupert Murdoch, and Mitchell made a point to poke fun at the power he holds.
“As he told me earlier tonight, he did arrange the perfect weather, the perfect moon, the perfect setting,” she joked.
Speaking for FX’s comedies were Paul Scheer of “The League” and Aisha Tyler of “Archer,” who introduced themselves as Jessica Lange and Charlie Hunnam, respectively. Tyler pointed out that FXX’s “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” is the longest running half-hour sitcom in basic cable history, which impressed Scheer.
“AMC, do you have that?” he yelled. “No, you don’t! Shove it, AMC! Who’s the best? We are! We got three networks. You only got one!”
“I think the words you’re looking for are ‘suck it,’” corrected Tyler.
Walton Goggins, who took the stage with “American Horror Story: Coven’s” Kathy Bates, comes from two FX shows: “The Shield” and “Justified,” which, according to “Justified” star Timothy Olyphant, gets in the way on set.
“Tim always gets mad at me because I only talk about ‘The Shield’ on ‘Justified,’” he laughed.
When Bates congratulated him on the success of his current show, Goggins threw humility out of the window.
“It is mine!” he riffed. “Tim Olyphant doesn’t really do anything expect look beautiful on a poster.”
A special honoree that night was John Landgraf, the president of FX Network, who accepted the award on behalf of FX and got deep when reflecting on the network’s journey.
“Would anyone doubt this thesis?” he began. “Every society on this planet and every human life could be improved if everywhere in our world, there existed an economically and intellectually free market, like the one that has allowed the quality and diversity of television we enjoy in America thrive.”
Along with dinner and the program, attendees enjoyed a special performance by “Sons of Anarchy” star Katey Sagal, who sang two songs.