TCA Awards fill Emmy nom voids

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It wasn't planned that way, but the annual TCA Awards on Saturday at the Beverly Hilton filled in several gaps created when Emmy nominations were announced two days earlier.

"Friday Night Lights," shut out of the drama and actor Emmy noms, came away with a trophy for outstanding new program. Michael C. Hall, star of "Dexter," won for individual achievement in drama. He didn't crack the list of Emmy noms for lead actor.

In all, NBC picked up four of the nine awards designated for current programs handed out by the 220-member organization. In addition to "Lights," the peacock also won for program of the year ("Heroes"), comedy ("The Office") and individual achievement in comedy (Alec Baldwin for "30 Rock").

Baldwin praised Tina Fey, exec producer and star of "30 Rock" as "the funniest person I ever met in my life." He also expressed sorrow that "The Sopranos" had ended. "You have no idea how badly I wanted to be on (the series)," he said.

"Heroes" creator Tim Kring said "a lot of people wanted to dismiss this show as too sci fi and simply fantasy, but we set out to do something unique and something bold."

The Discovery network won two TCA Awards, for news and information and for movies, miniseries and specials, with its "Planet Earth" mini. Rounding out the rest of the current program awards were HBO's "Sopranos" for drama and ABC Family's "Kyle XY" for children's program.

Although "Sopranos" ended last month, the controversial finale remained a subject for jokes. Said exec producer David Chase, "Here's another clue for you all: The walrus was Pauly."

Mary Tyler Moore got a TCA Award for career achievement. Moore sent a note to critics, hinting at the occasional drubbing she received. "Love to all of you mostly," she concluded.

The Heritage Award, given to a program which had a major impact on television, went to "Sopranos."

Earlier in the day, TCA members elected Dave Walker of the New Orleans Times-Picayune as president. Also elected were Rick Kushman (the Sacramento Bee) as vp, Susan Young (Oakland Tribune) as secretary, Kathy Tracy (Video Age/KidScreen) as treasurer and new board members Candy Havens (FYI Television), Roger (the Hartford Courant) and Rob Salem (the Toronto Star).
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