By Ron Wynn

NASHVILLE, TN — Though they aren’t necessarily predictors for the Emmys,  the Television Critics Awards (TCA) do reflect what those who are paid to critique the broadcast, cable and streaming worlds think constitute quality, and this year Regina King and HBO’s “Watchmen” were big winners at the TCA’s 36th annual awards. They were presented for the first time without a ceremony, a continuation of changes forced by the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic also negated the usual summer in-person tour for critics regarding new shows and productions.

King received the Outstanding Achievement in Drama award for her starring role in “Watchmen.” The series won Outstanding Program of the Year, Outstanding New Program and Outstanding Miniseries honors. 

But those weren’t the only awards HBO received. They led all platforms with 16 total nominations. The network won the Outstanding Sketch/Variety category award thanks to Robin Thede’s “A Black Lady Sketch Show.” The program “Succession” received the award for Outstanding Achievement in Drama. Pop TV’s “Schitt’s Creek,” in its final season, captured awards for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Comedy for Catherine O’Hara and for Outstanding Comedy Series. Alex Trebek was recognized as the TCA’s prestigious Career Achievement honoree, while “Star Trek” received the Heritage Award. It was a rougher night for Netflix, which was the second-most nominated outlet with 10. They only won one award, for Outstanding Achievement in Reality Programming, for “Cheer.”

“Entertainment and culture are intertwined and in this challenging year, never has that intersection been more crucial as both a mirror to examine tough reflections and a rabbit hole to escape the noise and scares outside our homes. The 2019-2020 television season was both a challenge and a balm,” Sarah Rodman, TCA president and executive editor at Entertainment Weekly said. “This year offered up many high-quality options appealing to a wide swath of audiences with eclectic subjects ranging from sports and superheroes, to side-splitting sitcoms, darkly fascinating dramas, insightful documentaries, kid-friendly series, and more. We are excited to see what the future of television has in store, and we look forward to celebrating in-person next year as we come together to honor this medium that means so much to all of us.”

The awards were voted on by more than 250 television critics and journalists from the U.S. and Canada. Some other winners included ESPN’s “The Last Dance,” which was voted the Outstanding Achievement in News and Information Award; and PBS Kids’ “Molly of Denali,” which won Outstanding Achievement in Youth Programming,