'Transparent,' 'Black-ish' Feted at TV Academy Honors

Beth Dubber

Four other television shows that have "shifted cultural acceptance" were lauded at the annual TV Academy event held at the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills.

The Boston Marathon bombing. The grim reality of poverty in the U.S. Inside the life of a suburban black family. A father's journey to accepting his transgender identity. The plight of the African gorilla. The AIDS crisis in 1980's New York City.

These small-screen snapshots of contemporary culture were all feted at this year's Television Academy Honors event, held on the terrace at the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills.

The annual event — emceed by Emmy-winning actor Dana Delany, who hosted for the seventh straight year — celebrated six programs that exemplify "TV with a conscience," including ABC’s Black-ish, ESPN’s E:60's Dream On: Stories of Boston’s Strongest, HBO’s The Normal Heart, HBO’s Paycheck to Paycheck: The Life & Times of Katrina Gilbert, Amazon’s Transparent and Netflix’s Virunga. 

"All of these programs seek to answer: How do we become our best selves?" Delaney told the crowd.

The honorees offered speeches that ranged from the light-hearted to the heart-wrenching. "Katrina represents the 44 million women who live on the brink of poverty," said Paycheck executive producer Maria Shriver of her single-mom doc subject.

"I'd like to thank my mom, Florence Henderson, for being here," said Golden Globe-winning Transparent creator Jill Soloway of the Brady Bunch star who also attended the event. "You raised me!"

Henderson shouted back amidst laughs: "Look how well you turned out!" 

Other guests at the affair included Transparent actors Jay Duplass, Judith Light and Bradley Whitford, Black-ish creator Kenya Barris and stars Laurence Fishburne and Tracee Ellis Ross, ABC news reporter Bob Woodruff, producer of ESPN's Stories of Boston's Strongest, who infused his acceptance speech with echoes of his own challenges recovering from injuries sustained after an explosion in Iraq in 2006.

"The Boston bombing devastated our country," he said. "They caused the same wounds as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, ones that I myself have also survived. This award is for the people of Boston."