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JUN
20
3 YEARS

What the Inaugural Critics Choice TV Awards Got Right and Wrong (Analysis)

The choice of Mike Rowe as best reality show host for Dirty Jobs was another surprise, as he beat out Deeley, Tom Bergeron of Dancing With the Stars and Ryan Seacrest of Idol. It was such a surprise there was little applause when Rowe was announced. He wasn't undeserving but he seemed more appropriate a winner for what he has to put up with on his show than for the brilliance of his work.

There were also two categories in which the critics declared a tie, including splitting the award for best reality series between Hoarders and The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (all of whom seemed to be on hand in Beverly Hills to accept). The other split was between Christina Hendricks of Mad Men and Margo Martindale of Justified. They are both fine performers, but does a group of critics really need to record a tie?

Neil Patrick Harris, who has proven he can sing, dance and host award shows, was a delight when he won his award as best supporting actor in a comedy for How I Met Your Mother. He thanked the critics for "treating our show more like Lost and less like According to Jim."

DeVito was a good choice as the first to win an honorary lifetime achievement "icon" award. He was funny, salty and a bit outrageous when he spoke. He talked about how important it was to have "balls," which he said his wife, Rhea Pearlman, had (yes he said women can be said to have balls in the metaphoric sense), the creators of Philadelphia had and clearly he had. He also praised the critics for pulling off this show in a short time; meaning DeVito thought they had balls too.

It was clear that most of the stars and creators present were from shows based in Los Angeles. A few people did come from New York, but that did not include Tina Fey, who is pregnant. She won best actress in a comedy. That actually was to the credit of the critics, because they refused to tell the nominees who was a winner in advance like, say, the People's Choice Awards, so they probably lost some potential star acceptors. However, they did show some integrity, which is a good thing.

The setting was classy, the program glossy and the event relatively painless, which, compared to most Hollywood award shows, was merciful. They ran a list of the sixty or so members of the newly formed group that voted, many of whom are not critics at all but simply television journalists. I guess calling it the Critics and Journalist's Choice would have been too clumsy, but it would have been accurate.

For the major awards, the critics did get it right choosing Modern Family as best comedy, as well as Mad Men as best drama, and in both cases the shows' executive producers were on hand to gratefully accept.

For the most part, this new group got it right and the audience in Beverly Hills seemed to agree. When actor Adam Scott of Parks & Recreationtook the stage and said, "I wish I was presenting an award for best new awards show," he got some enthusiastic applause. The audience agreed and those who care about these awards when they air on the ReelzChannel are likely to agree as well.

Email: Alex.Benblock@thr.com