Will the Critics' Choice TV Awards Matter?

23 FEA AMC Boardwalk Empire
Abbot Genser/HBO

The series is a first-time Emmy hopeful for HBO.

The journalist group aims to become the indispensable Emmy forecaster.

Broadcast Film Critics Association president Joey Berlin thinks the Critics' Choice awards of his new offshoot group, the Broadcast Television Journalists Association, will do for the Emmy race what the BFCA's Critics' Choice Movie Awards have done for the Oscar race: shape it by predicting it. The Critics' Choice movie awards are by some measures among the most accurate precursor of the Oscars -- better than the Golden Globes or the Screen Actors Guild Awards. "Since 1995, only two movies were ever nominated for best picture without getting a Critics' Choice nomination first," says Berlin. "The best thing you can do if you want an Oscar is to get a Critics' Choice nomination. Now the Emmys have a precursor too."

There are 15 awards, including most exciting new series. The first BTJA nominees for best drama are Justified, The Killing, Mad Men, The Walking Dead, Boardwalk Empire, Dexter, Friday Night Lights, Fringe, Game of Thrones, and The Good Wife. One of them will win the award on June 20 at the Beverly Hills Hotel. The event will be streamed live on VH1.com and telecast June 22 on ReelzChannel. Emmy ballots are due June 24.

"It helps the Emmy voter focus their attention," says Berlin. "It's logical to think that will happen. The TV business is bigger than the movie business." The only other major TV kudos-fest, the Television Critics Association Awards, occur in July, after the Emmys. The Paley Center has plans for televised TV awards in 2012.

In March, Berlin thought it would take years to find a telecast partner, but ReelzChannel soon stepped
in. "That was a big surprise to us," says Berlin. "We didn't think that was likely. But it seems like there's an itch for this show." 

Berlin hopes people will call the BTJA Critics Choice TV Awards "the Betchas." Most will probably call it the Critics' Choice Awards. But will all Hollywood watch to see who wins? You betcha.