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TCA Awards: Jon Hamm, ‘Empire’ Thank the Critics

The Television Critics Association Awards were held Saturday at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, or as host James Corden called it, the ceremony that celebrates “the dramas, the comedies and whatever category ‘Orange is the New Black’ is now calling itself.”

Exec producers and stars accepted awards for categories like individual achievement in comedy (which went to Amy Schumer), outstanding achievement in comedy (which went to her Comedy Central show) and outstanding achievement in youth programming (which went to ABC Family’s “The Fosters”).

“Are you giving this award to us sarcastically?” asked John Oliver via prerecorded message when his HBO show “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” won outstanding achievement in news and Information over more traditional choices like PBS’ “Frontline” and CBS’ “60 Minutes.”

Winners were informed ahead of time, which Corden joked would allow more time for speech preparation.

“I thought I was supposed to fake surprise,” said “Better Call Saul’s” Peter Gould, who accepted the show’s win for outstanding new program. He added that they were grateful that fans were paying so close attention to the show given how crowded the “golden age of television” has made the landscape.

“The very best job a writer can have is to create a series that works,” said James L. Brooks, who accepted the career achievement award by also mentioning he started out getting coffee for Edward R. Murrow.

“Mad Men’s” Jon Hamm also accepted an award for his role as Don Draper. “Literally no one wanted to cast me but one person, Matthew Weiner. Those of you who know him know he can be persuasive,” Hamm said.

The event was marked by serious notes. Andrew Jarecki, whose HBO documentary “The Jinx” on Robert Durst won for outstanding achievement in movies, miniseries and specials, made sure to mention the family of Kathy Durst. Christine Nangle who accepted the awards for Schumer, joking that the star was apparently absent because she was suffering from a case of overexposure, found an amusing way to discuss the importance of women comedy writers.

“For you to like me is everything that my father told me would not happen to me in my life,” said “Empire” co-creator Lee Daniels. He also thanked partner Danny Strong and Fox — “What are they? F—–g stupid?” — when he and fellow exec producer Brian Grazer accepted the award for program of the year.

Corden drew a strong reaction from the audience with a Bill Cosby joke that “Amy Schumer has been blogged about so many times you would think she has been accused of sexual assault of 38 women.”

The last award of the night was the heritage award, which went to “Late Show/Late Night with David Letterman.”

“Today’s the day I eat glass,” Letterman said in a prerecorded message.

(Pictured: Jon Hamm, James L. Brooks and Matthew Weiner at the TCA Awards)

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