‘People v. O.J. Simpson,’ ‘Mr. Robot’ Lead TCA Awards

“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” “Full Frontal” also dominate as women sweep performance categories

Sarah Paulson and Sterling K. Brown from "The People v. O.J. Simpson" at a finale screening in LA on April 4, 2016.
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 04: Actors Sarah Paulson and Sterling K. Brown attend the FX's For Your Consideration Event for "The People v. O.J. Simpson – American Crime Story" at The Theatre at Ace Hotel on April 4, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

FX’s miniseries “The People v. O.J. Simpson” was the big winner at the Television Critics Association Awards Saturday in Beverly Hills, taking home three prizes for the docudrama that became a critics’ favorite earlier this year.

USA’s hacker drama “Mr. Robot” won as best new program, while Rachel Bloom of The CW’s quirky musical comedy “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” won for her lead role, capping a year in which women dominated the performance categories.

The 32nd annual TCA Awards show is, as of this writing, being held at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills. The same room that’s packed with A-listers in January for the Golden Globes is housing more than a hundred critics and guests on Saturday night, with a sprinkling of celebrities including Cuba Gooding Jr., Sarah Paulson, Lily Tomlin and Valerie Harper. An embargoed list of the winners was supplied shortly before the program started at 8 p.m. Los Angeles time.

The awards, arriving in the middle of the bi-annual TCA TV press tour, was set to feature critics presenting a dozen trophies in pairs. “Jane the Virgin” star Jaime Camil also served as the night’s host, performing an intricate monologue that involved both himself and his on-screen alter-ego, Rogelio de la Vega, as they poked fun at the #PeakTV phenomenon.

“Jane the Virgin” narrator Anthony Mendez also pre-recorded some introductory bits as a surprise to guests.

“The People v. O.J. Simpson” walked away as the evening’s big winner, securing both Program of the Year and Outstanding Achievement in Movies, Miniseries and Specials. Sarah Paulson, also walked away with a trophy for Individual Achievement in Drama for her performance as Marcia Clark.

The award for Individual Achievement in Comedy went to Rachel Bloom for her role on “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” which meant both of those categories effectively shut out men in the race for individual performances (the TCA does not split the performance categories along gender lines).

The female-empowerment theme continued with the freshman season of “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” taking home the award for Outstanding Achievement in News and Information, and with Lily Tomlin accepting an award for Career Achievement. In another surprise move, Jane Fonda came out to present the award to her “Grace and Frankie” co-star, marking the first time a celebrity has doled out that award rather than a critic.

“The Mary Tyler Moore Show” was also honored with a Heritage Award, with co-creator Alan Burns and series star Valerie Harper showing up to accept. Moore was unable to attend, but she did write a few notes, which Burns was expected to read to the crowd. Meanwhile the women behind Netflix’s water-cooler series “Making a Murderer” – Moira Demos and Laura Ricciardi – showed up to accept the award of Outstanding Achievement in Reality Programming.

Rounding out the night’s big winners were ABC’s “black-ish” for Outstanding Achievement in Comedy and FX’s “The Americans” for Outstanding Achievement in Drama. Creator Joe Weisberg was due to accept on the latter show’s behalf.

Last but not least, “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” also won for Outstanding Achievement in Youth Programming, while USA’s “Mr. Robot” took home the prize for Outstanding New Program. The whole cast, including Rami Malek and Christian Slater, were expected to be on hand to accept alongside series creator Sam Esmail.

The complete list of winners:

Individual Achievement in Drama: Sarah Paulson (“THE PEOPLE V. O.J. SIMPSON: AMERICAN CRIME STORY”, FX)
Individual Achievement in Comedy: Rachel Bloom (“CRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND,” The CW)
Outstanding Achievement in News and Information: “FULL FRONTAL WITH SAMANTHA BEE” (TBS)
Outstanding Achievement in Reality Programming: “MAKING A MURDERER” (Netflix)
Outstanding Achievement in Youth Programming: “DANIEL TIGER’S NEIGHBORHOOD” (PBS)
Outstanding New Program:MR. ROBOT” (USA)
Outstanding Achievement in Movies, Miniseries and Specials: “THE PEOPLE V. O.J. SIMPSON: AMERICAN CRIME STORY” (FX)
Outstanding Achievement in Drama: “THE AMERICANS” (FX) – second consecutive year
Outstanding Achievement in Comedy: “BLACK-ISH” (ABC)
Career Achievement Award: Lily Tomlin


Editor’s Note: Dowling is the current TCA President and helped organize the awards.