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Television Academy Honors Recognize ‘Queen Sugar,’ ‘Unbelievable,’ and ‘Watchmen’

Both HBO and Netflix boasted two honorees, which are given to TV shows that highlight social change.


Regina King in “Watchmen”


The Television Academy announced the recipients of the 13th Television Academy Honors on Thursday, recognizing six TV shows that tackled difficult social issues with innovation and insight, including matters of mental health, sexual abuse, addiction, and race relations.

Among the honorees were two HBO projects, Damon Lindelof’s gripping “Watchmen,” which grappled with America’s brutal history of racism, and documentary “At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal,” which exposed the culture of abuse within the country’s women’s Olympic gymnastics team.

Netflix also featured two honorees in “Unbelievable,” a limited series inspired by real life incidents that deals with sexual assault and victims of trauma within the criminal justice system, and “Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj,” a weekly comedy commentary series which features Minhaj diving deep into vital global issues, including immigration, mental health, and debt.

Showtime’s documentary “16 Shots,” a film seeking to uncover the truth behind the Chicago police killing of Laquan McDonald, and OWN’s “Queen Sugar,” a drama series centered on an African American family that explores issues of class, culture, and gender in the African American community, round out the honorees.

“We are so pleased to recognize these extraordinary programs and producers whose work is heightening public awareness and profoundly influencing social change,” Television Academy Chairman and CEO Frank Scherma said in a statement.

“During this difficult time for our industry and our country, the Television Academy Honors plays an important role in recognizing contemporary programming that speaks to our humanity and brings us together,” Television Academy president and chief operating officer Maury McIntyre said via the same statement.

“We would like to thank our judges for their commitment and virtual engagement at this challenging time,” he continued.

Governor for the Academy’s Casting Peer Group Howard Meltzer, CSA chaired the Television Academy Honors selection committee, while governor for the Children’s Programming Peer Group Jill Sanford served as vice-chair.

“The Academy Honors Committee is thrilled once again to recognize television that is not only excellent but strives to inform, move and impact its audience by highlighting important issues facing our society,” Meltzer said in a statement. “Now more than ever, television remains one of the most powerful mediums to reach and touch people. We applaud those brave visionaries who choose to tell difficult and empowering stories,” Sanford added.

Typically, the TV Academy would hold an April event to celebrate this year’s nominees, but due to ongoing health and public safety concerns the ceremony has been postponed indefinitely.

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