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The Television Critics Association awards were announced on Saturday night. The nation’s TV critics gave awards to Louie for best comedy, Breaking Bad for best drama; the “Program of the Year” award went to Game of Thrones. The event was hosted by Bad‘s Bryan Cranston.

Cranston’s opening remarks were rife with delightful barbs to warm all cold critics’ hearts. I’ll keep them to one printable example: “The cast of The Killing couldn’t be here tonight,” he said. “They’re on suicide watch.”

The TCA, now meeting in Los Angeles and representing more than 200 print and online critics, gave a “career achievement” award to David Letterman (in a taped message, Letterman sent his not-at-all sorrowful regrets for not being present, but explained, “as my friends know, tonight is the night I eat glass”), and its annual “Heritage Award” to the classic sitcom Cheers (series writer-blogger-author Ken Levine slayed the crowd with quick, sharp jabs at an industry that “always tells me what an influence [Cheers was] and then doesn’t hire me anyway”). All well and good. But since I’m a voting member of the TCA, I feel I can insert my own opinion here to say to my colleagues… So You Think You Can Dance as “Outstanding Achievement in Reality Programming”? Really, critics? I, too, adore Cat Deeley and all, but, sheesh… Also sheesh-worthy: 60 Minutes as winner for the “news and information” category. I end up watching a bit of 60 Minutes many weeks while looking to see if The Good Wife is going to be delayed by some %$#@ football-game overtime, and I can’t say I’ve received any “news and information” from this program that I hadn’t already heard elsewhere; this is not exactly the Golden Age of 60 Minutes.

But back to the good news. Claire Danes and Louie C.K. won for “achievement in drama and comedy,” respectively, and Danes’ Homeland took an award for “Outstanding New Program.” Downton Abbey took the movie/miniseries category (thank goodness, otherwise American Horror Story, now deemed a miniseries by bollixed Emmy rules, might have had a shot.)

The “Career Achievement” award was given to David Letterman, as worthy a candidate for this as anyone, and given for “influence in late-night television.” By that criteria, Letterman is the perfect choice, since his influence can be seen right now in the shows hosted by Craig Ferguson, Jimmy Kimmel (who just yesterday told a TCA panel once again how much he idolized Letterman and his early, NBC shows), and Jimmy Fallon.

Overall, the Television Critics Association award choices are — again, speaking as an interested party as a member — at once mostly worthy if a tad predictable. But if that means giving one more extra boost to Breaking Bad, Louie, and Homeland, I’m proud to be among the predictability-promulgators.

The full list of 2012 TCA Award recipients is:

  • Individual Achievement in Drama: Claire Danes (“Homeland,” Showtime)
  • Individual Achievement in Comedy: Louis C.K. (“Louie,” FX)
  • Outstanding Achievement in News and Information: “60 Minutes” (CBS)
  • Outstanding Achievement in Reality Programming: “So You Think You Can Dance” (Fox)
  • Outstanding Achievement in Youth Programming: “Switched at Birth” (ABC Family)
  • Outstanding New Program: “Homeland” (Showtime)
  • Outstanding Achievement in Movies, Miniseries and Specials: “Masterpiece: Downton Abbey” (PBS)
  • Outstanding Achievement in Drama: “Breaking Bad” (AMC)
  • Outstanding Achievement in Comedy: “Louie” (FX)
  • Career Achievement Award: David Letterman
  • Heritage Award: “Cheers”
  • Program of the Year: “Game of Thrones” (HBO)

What do you think of the TCA award choices?

Twitter: @kentucker

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Breaking Bad

Walter White descends into the criminal underworld.

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