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TV critics honor
Desperate Housewives and Degrassi: The Next Generation

TV critics honor
Desperate Housewives and Degrassi: The Next Generation

The critics love Lost. ABC's thriller-chiller took two Television Critics Association honors Saturday during the TV scribes' 21st annual ceremony at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills. Lost, the freshman sensation that helped turn ABC's fortunes around last season, got the TCA award for new program and achievement. J.J. Abrams, cocreator and executive producer of Lost, thanked the crowd effusively in accepting the trophies. "The support you have given Lost, we can't really quantify," he said. "It's unbelievable." Lost's freshman-year ABC companion Desperate Housewives, from out creator Marc Cherry, didn't go home empty-handed either, taking the trophy for program of the year during the ceremony, hosted by Craig Ferguson, newly enshrined host of CBS's The Late Late Show.

Ferguson told the crowd that after making the transition from actor and comedian to late-night talk-show host, he now sympathized with the professional challenges that TCA members face, particularly during the semiannual press tour. "We both have to watch a lot of very bad television," Ferguson said. "The main difference is you don't have to pretend to like it." Fox's little-watched but critically cuddled Arrested Development scored its second consecutive win for comedy achievement. Hugh Laurie, star of Fox's hot new medical drama, House, was on hand to accept his win for individual achievement in drama. After declaring his belief that television critics are some of the "wisest, kindest members of our community," Laurie noted that the last time he won an acting award was when he was 9, with his parents seated in the audience. "I hope wherever they are, my parents are as proud as I am," Laurie quipped.

Jon Stewart of Comedy Central's The Daily Show won his second TCA laurel of the past two years for individual comedy achievement. PBS's Frontline picked up its seventh TCA Award in the news and information field. Gay-inclusive teen drama Degrassi: The Next Generation, from Viacom-owned the N, won for children's programming. The Office Special prevailed in the long format heat, on the heels of the BBC America special earning an Emmy nomination in the same category. ABC's Nightline and its soon-to-retire anchor, Ted Koppel, earned the TCA's Heritage Award for programs that have lasting cultural impact.

Bob Newhart, the offbeat comedian saluted for his long career last week on PBS's American Masters showcase, got the night's standing ovation when he accepted the award for career achievement. "I have a suggestion," Newhart said. "Maybe you should give it out at the beginning of someone's career, and they would have many years to enjoy it. You could have a revocation ceremony and take it back, saying, 'You really didn't live up to what you were supposed to be."' But Newhart concluded on a more serious note with a nod to the assembled scribes. "I love television. As you people know more than anyone, it is the most powerful medium ever," he said. "It has great power to elevate and great power to debase, and you are its keeper." (Barry Garron, via AP)

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