Beverly Hills, Calif. • For the first time in the 34-year history of the Television Critics Association Awards, a Utahn has been honored.
Well, the trophy for Best Reality Show went to Netflix’s “Queer Eye,” and Salt Laker Tan France is one of the stars of that show. France — the son of Pakistani immigrants who grew up in London — immigrated to the United States. And he’s lived in Utah’s capital city for nearly a decade.
France and the other members of the Fab Five — Bobby Berk, Karamo Brown, Antoni Porowski and Jonathan Van Ness — were unable to attend the ceremonies at the Beverly Hilton Hotel because they’re in production on Season 3 of “Queer Eye.” Which might have made the evening run more smoothly, according to executive producer Rob Eric.
“This show is a beast to produce — five gay guys with big personalities,” Eric said. “It’s like wrangling kittens at any time.”
The big winner at the 2018 TCA Awards was “The Americans,” which wrapped up a six-season run on FX in May. The series about a pair of Soviet spies posing as an American couple and operating in the United States at the height of the Cold War was named best drama and program of the year — and series star Keri Russell won the award for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Drama.
“I'm pretty sure the ideal audience for 'The Americans' was you guys,” executive producer Joe Weisberg told the critics. “This is the award that really means something to us.
“You don’t have to repeat that to the Emmy voters.”
Robin Thede, the host of the BET series “The Rundown With Robin Thede,” opened the evening with 10 minutes of comedy poking fun at both TV and TV critics — and “Queer Eye.” She thanked Porowski for his “super-simple recipes like avocado slices and biting an apple.”
And she bemoaned the fact that her show wasn’t nominated, “It did a lot of ratings like a Netflix show — meaning none.”
The awards were presented by members of the TCA, including this reporter, with the exception of the Career Achievement award, which legendary producer Norman Lear (“All in the Family,” “Sanford and Son,” “Maude,” “Good Times,” “The Jeffersons”) presented to Rita Moreno — the Oscar, Grammy, Emmy and Tony winner is starring in the Netflix revival of another Lear sitcom, “One Day at a Time.”
“How much recognition does a person need, and what value should be placed on an honor like this?” Moreno said, recalling that — in answer to a question about the possibility she'd be nominated for an Emmy this year — she said it was less important than family, health, friendship and faith. Until she wasn't nominated.
“I lied,” she said, adding she was “astonished” when she was “actually hurt” by that. “Still learning at 86.” But she attributed it to the child she once was “still looking for her break. I constantly have to send her to her room.”
In addition to the three awards for “The Americans,” FX took home a fourth when “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” was named Outstanding Miniseries or Movie.
Cable series dominated the evening. BBC America's “Killing Eve,” a drama about two women — a psychopathic assassin and the a drama about a psychopathic assassin and the MI5 agents hunting her, who become obsessed with each other, won best new series.
“From the bottom of my heart, I just really, really hope that, at the end of the day, this show inspires young girls and women everywhere to be more murderous,” joked executive producer Sally Woodward.
CNN’s “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown” was honored for Outstanding Achievement in News and Information two months after Bourdain’s death.
“I loved Tony,” said executive producer Morgan Fallon. “He could walk through any door, sit at any table with the same humilty, the same respect no matter who was sitting across from. Obviously, we need that now more than ever before. It’s a tremendous loss.”
HBO won two honors: “Sesame Street” won the award for Outstanding Achievement in Youth Programming, and “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver” won the TCA Award in a new category — Outstanding Achievement in Sketch/Variety Shows.In addition to the “Queer Eye” win, a second streaming service series was honored when Rachel Brosnahan, the star of Amazon Prime’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” won for individual achievement in comedy.
NBC represented for the broadcast networks — its sitcom “The Good Place” was named Best Comedy. And the TCA’s Heritage Award — which is sort of a career achievement award for a series — went to “Friends” for its enduring cultural significance, 14 years after it ended its 10-season run on NBC.
“When we started 'Friends,' our goal was to not get canceled before 13 episodes,” said co-creator and executive producer Marta Kauffman. “Our bar was very, very low.”
“So the idea that we're actually standing here, almost 25 years later,” said co-creator/executive producer David Crane, “and that kids are still discovering the show ...”
“God bless Netflix,” said executive producer Kevin Bright.
The nominees and winners were voted on by members of the TCA — more than 200 journalism professionals from across the United States and Canada.
The 2018 TCA Award winners are:
Individual Achievement in Drama: Keri Russell (“The Americans,” FX).
Individual Achievement in Comedy: Rachel Brosnahan (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” Amazon Prime).
Outstanding Achievement in News and Information • “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown" (CNN).
Outstanding Achievement in Reality Programming • “Queer Eye” (Netflix).
Outstanding Achievement in Youth Programming: “Sesame Street” (HBO).
Outstanding Achievement in Sketch/Variety Shows: “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver” (HBO).
Outstanding New Program • “Killing Eve” (BBC America).
Outstanding Achievement in Movies And Miniseries • “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” (FX).
Outstanding Achievement in Drama • “The Americans” (FX).
Outstanding Achievement in Comedy • “The Good Place” (NBC).
Program of the Year • “The Americans” (FX).
Lifetime Achievement • Rita Moreno.
Heritage Award • “Friends” (NBC).