'Empire,' 'Inside Amy Schumer' Top TCA Awards

The night's other winners include 'Last Week Tonight With John Oliver,' 'Better Call Saul' and 'The Americans.'
Courtesy of FOX
The cast and crew of Fox's 'Empire'

Hip-hop drama Empire earned the top honor at the Television Critics Association's 31st annual TCA Awards Saturday evening.

The non-televised event, emceed by CBS’ Late Late Show host James Corden, took place at The Beverly Hilton, home to the TCA’s summer press tour, which is currently underway. Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer, AMC’s Better Call Saul and FX’s The Americans were among the other critically beloved programs honored by the 220-plus members of the media organization.

“This was truly a monumental year for television,” noted TCA president and The Salt Lake Tribune’s TV critic Scott D. Pierce, adding: “We said goodbye to some old favorites, with the final seasons of Mad Men and Late Show With David Letterman, and we were treated to strong new additions like Fox’s Empire and HBO’s Last Week Tonight With John Oliver. There were a lot of difficult choices to be made, but there’s no doubt that the nominees and winners all deserve their accolades.”

The Lee Daniels-Danny Strong Fox drama, which led the pack with four TCA Awards nominations, beat out Amazon’s Transparent, AMC’s Mad Men, HBO’s Game of Thrones and FX’s Americans for the coveted TV Program of the Year award. The news comes just a month or so after the No. 1 series on television was snubbed by the TV Academy in the all-important best drama category.

AMC's Breaking Bad spin-off Better Call Saul, which debuted to strong ratings and reviews in early February, walked away with the award for Outstanding New Program. HBO’s first-year news show, Last Week Tonight With John Oliver, and its crime docuseries The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst won Outstanding Achievement in News and Information and Outstanding Achievement in Movies, Miniseries and Specials, respectively.

But it was Comedy Central breakout Amy Schumer who proved the night’s only two-time winner, earning honors for both Outstanding Achievement in Comedy and Individual Achievement in Comedy for her sketch series Inside Amy Schumer. FX’s beloved spy drama The Americans, which is continually overlooked by Emmy voters, earned the Outstanding Achievement in Drama award; while Mad Men star Jon Hamm won his second Individual Achievement in Drama award for his portrayal of ad man Don Draper. Hamm, whose long-running series bid farewell in May, has yet to win an individual acting Emmy.

Recently retired Late Show host David Letterman was granted the career achievement award for his late-night work on both NBC and, later, CBS. The prestigious nod comes as Stephen Colbert looks to take over his the Late Show franchise in September. Oscar and Emmy-winning writer, producer and director James L. Brooks was honored with a career achievement award for his legendary role in creating some of the most groundbreaking and influential television programs over the course of five decades.

A complete list of 2015 TCA Award recipients follows.

  • Individual Achievement in Drama: Jon Hamm (Mad Men, AMC) 
  • Individual Achievement in Comedy: Amy Schumer (Inside Amy Schumer, Comedy Central)
  • Outstanding Achievement in News and Information: Last Week Tonight With John Oliver (HBO)
  • Outstanding Achievement in Reality Programming: The Chair (Starz)
  • Outstanding Achievement in Youth Programming: The Fosters (ABC Family) — second consecutive year
  • Outstanding New Program: Better Call Saul (AMC)
  • Outstanding Achievement in Movies, Miniseries and Specials: The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst (HBO)
  • Outstanding Achievement in Drama: The Americans (FX)
  • Outstanding Achievement in Comedy: Inside Amy Schumer (Comedy Central)
  • Career Achievement Award: James L. Brooks
  • Heritage Award: Late Show/Late Night with David Letterman (CBS/NBC)
  • Program of the Year: Empire (Fox)