The TV Land Icon Awards, held on Sunday, celebrated some of the biggest names in the industry, including Norman Lear and John Stamos. To celebrate the small-screen occasion, EW asked stars walking the purple carpet at the event what they’re most excited about on the small screen right now. Sensational showrunners, myriad platforms, niche shows, and more made the cut. Read on for more of what’s top of mind.
Crossover talent: Sutton Foster (Younger)
“I think TV’s where it’s at. There’s so [many] exciting things happening, so much inventive storytelling. TV has sort of become this place where everyone is welcome and that’s exciting especially for someone like me. Everyone is like ‘Crossing over from theater to TV is so hard’ and I’m like ‘Why? I don’t get it.’ It doesn’t feel that way right now. It feels like people are crossing over left and right. It’s coming from the film side too, so it’s neat.”
Sensational showrunners: Jane Lynch (Glee)
“Really good showrunners are having their say. There’s so many platforms now with Netflix and Hulu, subscription things like Showtime and HBO, that allow the show to live and breathe and really trust the showrunner, so you end up with shows like House of Cards, Episodes, Mad Men, which I know is off now, The People v. O.J. [Simpson], just really great television.”
Myriad platforms: Lori Loughlin (Fuller House)
“What’s interesting about TV right now is it’s not just on TV anymore. [Between] broadcasting, Netflix, Hulu, [there are] so many ways to watch shows. In fact, I do a show, When Calls the Heart, and tonight is our season finale and when I posted that on Instagram people write ‘Oh yay, I’m so glad because it will be coming on Netflix soon.’ Some people aren’t even watching it on Hallmark, but they’re picking it up and watching it on Netflix a little bit later.”
All things reality: Josh Peck (Grandfathered)
“The most interesting, other than like Naked and Afraid? Or what else do I watch? Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives? I love it. I’m a reality TV junkie. Shahs of Sunset is back. I’m in. The trashier the better.
Niche shows: Dan Amboyer (Younger)
“Cable shows are really great. Darren [Star] has said that he has such artistic freedom with [Younger] and he can do whatever he wants. I think there’s a great freedom with TV shows and cable networks where you don’t have to appeal to a huge base and you can be more niche and let people find you and get some great super fans instead of like, ‘meh, we kind of like it.'”
More opportunity: Katy Colloton (Teachers)
“I think just the amount of platforms there are is so cool. There’s so much content, so much opportunity for people to create their own shows. I don’t know that we would have been able to sell Teachers 10, 15, 20 years ago because we wouldn’t have had the platform to be discovered. Now with YouTube and all these places and web series being more prominent, artists can get their work out there and then have an audience watch it.”
Risk taking: Kathryn Renée Thomas (Teachers)
“With [what Katy said] comes unheard voices and different niches and different types of people and comedy and drama and all kinds of art that the mainstream wouldn’t necessarily see if it was just NBC, CBS, [and other networks]. [They] develop wonderful shows, but they can’t take as many risks as they can on Hulu and Amazon and these cable stations, so I agree that for me that is the most exciting thing that’s happening because that content is so rich with interesting things we’ve never seen before.”
New voices: Cate Freedman (Teachers)
“The sheer volume of stuff that’s being produced, with at least 600 shows on the air right now, the stories that come out of that volume is really what’s moving because you’re hearing from voices that were silenced before, and that’s something really, really cool.”
The TV Land Icon Awards (held in celebration with Entertainment Weekly) air Sunday, April 17 at 9 p.m. on TV Land.