Key differences between TCA Awards and Emmy Awards


The Emmys and TCAs were not created equally

Few would ever confuse the Television Critics Assn.'s lesser-hyped annual awards ceremony with the juggernaut of the Primetime Emmys. For one thing, perhaps most ironic, the TCA ceremony is never televised. For another, there are only 11 total TCA award categories, compared with the Emmys' gargantuan 100. Here are other key differences that make the TCAs -- held this year on Saturday July 31 at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills -- completely distinct.

Battle of the sexes

Ladies are pitted against gentlemen in three TCA categories, including: individual achievement in drama, individual achievement in comedy and the career achievement award. This year, for example, that means "Breaking Bad's" Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul (both of whom also have Emmy noms this year), plus "Dexter's" Emmy-nominated guest star John Lithgow, will go head-to-head against veteran actresses Julianna Margulies (an Emmy nominee for "The Good Wife") and Katey Sagal ("Sons of Anarchy") for individual achievement in drama.
More awards coverage  

Equal opportunity

TCA voters pay no attention to whether a performer is a lead, support or guest. In this year's individual achievement in comedy category, for example, actor Jim Parsons of "The Big Bang Theory" is up against Eric Stonestreet and Ty Burrell from "Modern Family." Over at the Emmys, Parsons has a lead nomination, while Stonestreet and Burrell are in supporting slots.

Best in show

Emmy night typically heaps its greatest prestige on the winner for drama series. Not so at the TCA awards, which combines dramas and comedies into a collective category called program of the year. This year, it'll be a tough one: Perennial critics' favorites "Breaking Bad" and "Friday Night Lights" are up against such crowd pleasers as "Glee," "Lost" and "Modern Family."

New kid on the DVR

If pitting a musical against a football drama weren't polarizing enough, the TCAs also include a category for outstanding new program. This means "Glee" and "Modern Family" each has another shot at taking home a prize, but they'll have to defeat breakout hit "The Good Wife" and likable newcomers "Parenthood" and "Justified."

Complementary angles

The TV Academy's nomination breadth is vast, which might make it seem as if the TCA is barely skimming the surface of the television landscape, with only 11 categories. But in two of those, the TCAs go beyond Emmy's reach: outstanding achievements in news and information -- which pits Jon Stewart and Rachel Maddow against offerings from the Discovery Channel, ESPN and History Channel; and in youth programming, where Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, PBS and Nick Jr. will duke it out for the top prize in kids' shows.