Tom Hanks and "From the Earth to the Moon" were the big winners at the 14 annual Television Critics Association awards, taking home the prizes as the outstanding movie, miniseries and special and as the program of the year.
Other awards went to a group of repeat winners - including "Homicide: Life on the Street," "The Larry Sanders Show," "The American Experience," David Hyde Pierce and Andre Braugher - at ceremonies at the Ritz-Carlton Huntington Hotel.The nominations and final voting were done by the approximately 150 members of the Television Critics Association, which is the midst of its July press tour.
Hanks was the executive producer and driving force behind "From the Earth to the Moon," the 12-part series that chronicled America's efforts to land a man on the moon. He was also a writer, director, actor and the narrator of the series.
"I get far too much credit for the end results of `From the Earth to the Moon,' " said Hanks. "I know my name is in it in far too many places. Because I have the most recognizable name, it seems that this was a one-man band of megalomaniacal insanity, but I must tell you that over the three years, I worked every day with the hardest-working group of people I know."
He thanked his fellow producers, writers, directors, special effects people, cast and crew as well as HBO executives who put up some $40 million to produce the series.
"You guys have been the greatest friends and the greatest allies and, good heavens, let's do some more television together," Hanks told them.
"Homicide," which has yet to win an Emmy and has never been a big hit in the ratings, was honored as the outstanding drama series for the third consecutive time.
"It's amazing to us that you've honored us three times in a row," said executive producer Tom Fontana. "I've told you before that we wouldn't be here if it wasn't for you."
Shandling was equally appreciative - if somewhat more humorous - when accepting the award as outstanding comedy series for his HBO series "The Larry Sanders Show."
"What an honor to get the Television Critics' award, because, seriously, you make up 94 percent of the viewing audience of our show," Shandling said. "And the other 6 percent of the people gave me nothing."
The two individual awards both went to repeat winners - Pierce of "Frasier" won for comedy and Braugher of "Homicide" won for drama.
And the career achievement award went to longtime ABC News president (now chairman) Roone Arledge, who was also lauded for his long tenure as president of ABC Sports.
THE LOCAL VOTE: Yours truly voted for most - but not all - of the winners at the TCA Awards. Actually, I agreed on seven of the 10 awards the TCA presented.
The difference were in the categories of comedy series (I voted for "Frasier," not "Larry Sanders"); drama series (I voted for "The Practice," not "Homicide"); and career achievement (I voted for "60 Minutes" producer Don Hewitt, not Arledge).
But I can't complain much about those three winners, either.
The TCA Awards winners (and the nominees) were:
Comedy: "The Larry Sanders Show," HBO (winner); "Ally McBeal," Fox; "Everybody Loves Raymond," CBS; "Frasier," NBC; and "Seinfeld," NBC.
Drama: "Homicide: Life on the Street, NBC (winner); "ER," NBC; "Law & Order," NBC; "The Practice," ABC; and "The X-Files," Fox.
Movies, miniseries and specials: "From the Earth to the Moon," HBO (winner); "Don King: Only in America," HBO; "Merlin," NBC; "Moby Dick," USA; "Tom Jones," A&E; and "What the Deaf Man Heard," CBS.
Best new program: "Ally McBeal," Fox (winner); "Dawson's Creek," WB; "Dharma & Greg," ABC; "Nothing Sacred," ABC; and "South Park," Comedy Central.
Individual achievement in comedy: David Hyde Pierce, "Frasier," NBC (winner); Jenna Elfman, "Dharma & Greg," ABC; Calista Flockhart, "Ally McBeal," Fox; Michael Richards and Jerry Seinfeld, "Seinfeld," NBC.
Individual achievement in drama: Andre Braugher, "Homicide," NBC (winner); Kevin Anderson, "Nothing Sacred," ABC; Anthony Edwards, "ER," NBC; Dennis Franz, "NYPD Blue," ABC; and Kyle Secor, "Homicide," NBC.
Children's programming: "Blue's Clues," Nickelodeon (winner); "Nick News," Nickelodeon; "Science Court," ABC; "Teletubbies," PBS; and "Wishbone," PBS.
News and information: "American Experience," PBS (winner); "Dateline NBC"; "Front-line," PBS; "Nightline," ABC; and "60 Minutes," CBS.
Program of the year: "From the Earth to the Moon," HBO (winner); "Ally McBeal," Fox; "Homicide: Life on the Street," NBC; "Nothing Sacred," ABC; and "South Park," Comedy Central.
Career achievement: Roone Arledge (winner), Candice Bergen, Steven Bochco, Don Hewitt, David E. Kelley and Jerry Seinfeld.