After the jump, a list of the winners, and a rundown of some of this year's award ceremony highlights:
"Mad Men" was the big champ, winning Outstanding New Program, Outstanding Achievement in Drama and Program of the Year. As the winners know in advance what's going to happen (the losers don't come), Matt Weiner made sure to share the wealth with the acceptance speeches. He took Program of the Year, but let fellow producer Scott Hornbacher handle New Program, and sent John Slattery and Jon Hamm up on stage for the drama series award. Hamm thanked the creators of shows like "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" for creating a niche on the opposite end of the quality spectrum for them to thrive, while Slattery noted, "I would like to say how glad I am that the show's message of drinking and smoking and whoring has resonated with the TCA."
"30 Rock" swept our two comedy categories, for both series and individual achievement. Tina Fey, wearing a snazzy gown that somehow had room for pockets, cracked a "Bosom Buddies" joke during one of her speeches in the direction of Tom Hanks (more on him in a minute), and referred to "30 Rock" as "the highest-rated cable show on broadcast TV. It's a great time to be in broadcast television! It's like being in vaudeville in the '60s!"
HBO's "John Adams" miniseries was our other multiple winner, for best miniseries and for Individual Achievement in Drama for Paul Giamatti. Giamatti was particularly frenetic as he gave his speech, admitting that he just quit smoking after picking the habit back up after having kicked it for 10 years (got all that?) while filming "John Adams," which he described as a real, um, buster of a certain piece of his anatomy. Hanks, one of the executive producers, accepted the miniseries award and, after thanking Tina Fey for once again reminding us all that he starred in "Bosom Buddies," mocked us for doing such a low-frills, untelevised ceremony.
As Hanks was, with Garry Shandling, involved in the second-funniest moment in the history of the TCA Awards(*), and as he was really funny again tonight I'll let him slide. Also, after the ceremony was over, I went over to tell him that many of us in the room genuinely, unironically enjoyed "Bosom Buddies" -- particularly the second, cross-dressing-lite season -- as he laughed, then buried his face in his hands. I assured him that it was okay, that he had two Oscars and all these other awards, and he reflected on how he and Peter Scolari knew the show was doomed by the third or fourth week, and yet kept working on it for two years.
(*) The funniest moment of all-time was Sid Caesar's acceptance speech for Career Achievement, which I described in a post that has since been lost to time and the NJ.com servers, and which I'll rehash some other time. The second funniest moment was the year the Hanks-produced "From the Earth to the Moon" won the miniseries award. The award was being presented by one of our more veteran members, who very quickly lost her place in the prepared introductory remarks she had written, and so Hanks and Shandling came to her rescue and took turns reading what she had written while ad-libbing about how weird this all was. I doubt I'm doing it justice; when I retell the Sid Caesar story, you'll appreciate that one.
Other winners: Ken Burns' "The War" for Outstanding Achievement in News and Information, "WordGirl" for children's programming, the Career Achievement Award to Lorne Michaels, and the Heritage Award (sort of a Career Achievement for shows) to "The Wire." That's the one and only TCA Award the show has ever won, and while I'm not happy about that -- see last year -- at least it's one more than it'll get from the Emmys. David Simon got up and noted that a big part of the final season's newspaper storyline was about the uselessness of awards and prizes. Then he looked at his new translucent TCA Award, put on a big fake grin and said that clearly, he was wrong.
In other entertaining developments from the night:
- The Smothers Brothers were our opening act, and after 50 years of working together, Tom and Dick still had the old patter down. As an added treat, Dick narrated an extensive slideshow and highlight reel of the best and most controversial moments from their '60s variety series, maybe, as TCA co-founder David Bianculli put it, the only series in TV history to get fired rather than canceled. By the time they were done, every person in the room -- be they critic or celebrity -- seemed to want to run out and pre-order the DVD set featuring the best of their third and final season on CBS.
- Some years, the winners bolt as soon as the show is over. (Or, in the case of last year with both Alec Baldwin and David Chase, as soon as they've accepted their final award.) While Hanks and Fey and Michaels all left fairly quickly, everybody else stuck around for the rest of the night, so I got to both pay homage to some of my favorite actors (Bryan "Salvatore" Batt from "Mad Men," Andre "Bubbs" Royo from "The Wire") and to pay witness to bizarre scenes like Vincent Kartheiser (Pete from "Mad Men") and Jamie Hector (Marlo from "The Wire") swapping cell phone numbers. I had to really fight the urge to interrupt their tete-a-tete with my best, loudest impression of Lester Freamon screaming, "That's the cell number of the mother-****er who dropped 22 bodies on us!"
- When I mentioned to Jon Hamm that I thought he'd be a natural for Greg Berlanti's in-the-works "Green Lantern" movie, he said I was far from the first person to mention that, and claimed that he was a comic book geek once upon a time himself. I must have looked suspicious, so he invoked the name of Hal Jordan. Still not sure I buy it, but it'd be cool if true -- and cooler if Hamm somehow wound up in the movie.