‘Ted Lasso’ and Jean Smart Win Big at Television Critics Association Awards

According to the TCA, "Ted Lasso" was the best thing on TV in the last year. And Jean Smart was a close second.
Ted Lasso
Jason Sudeikis and Brett Goldstein in "Ted Lasso"

This morning the Television Critics Association announced the winners of the group’s 37th Annual TCA Awards, shining a spotlight on the finest performances and programs from the 2020-2021 television season. In a likely preview of Sunday night’s Primetime Emmy Awards, Apple TV+’s “Ted Lasso” was the organization’s big winner, triumphing in three of the 11 categories aimed at current programming, including prizes for Outstanding Achievement in Comedy, Outstanding New Program, and Program of the Year.

The winners were determined by votes cast by the TCA’s network of more than 250 professional TV critics and journalists in the United States and Canada.

Three wins was the ceiling for any contender at the TCA Awards, with Apple TV+, Netflix, and HBO all winning three awards, though with one victory for HBO Max, it would appear that the biggest winner of day is the Warner Media empire.

While “Ted Lasso” made up all of the Apple TV+ TCA wins, Netflix’s three wins came in the form of “The Babysitters Club” in Outstanding Achievement in Youth Programming, “The Crown” in Outstanding Achievement in Drama, and “Deaf U,” which tied with Showtime’s “Couples Therapy” for Outstanding Achievement in Reality Programming. As for HBO, “I May Destroy You” multi-hyphenate Michaela Coel won Individual Achievement in Drama, while “Mare of Easttown” was top dog in Outstanding Achievement in Movies, Miniseries, Or Specials, and “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” won Outstanding Achievement in Variety Talk or Sketch for the third time in four years.

But perhaps the most impressive achievement from the crop of TCA winners is the accomplishments of Jean Smart, who won not one, but two TCA awards for her talents. Star of HBO Max’s “Hacks,” Smart earned the prize for Individual Achievement in Comedy, as well as being recognized for her body of work as this year’s TCA Career Achievement Honoree.

An 11-time Emmy nominee and three-time winner, Smart has been a TV staple for nearly 40 years. The actress broke out with her turn as Charlene Frazier Stillfield on “Designing Women,” going on to memorable comedic turns on “Frasier” and “Samantha Who?” in addition to showing the breadth of her dramatic chops on “24,” “Fargo,” “Legion,” and “Watchmen” (to name a few). This year also brought a standout supporting role on the aforementioned “Mare of Easttown.”

Jean Smart Hacks
Jean Smart in HacksJAKE GILES NETTER

“Television came through in a big way this year, serving up some much-needed entertainment that was a welcome distraction from the real-life dramas of the real world,” TCA President and Salon TV Critic Melanie McFarland said in a statement. “The fact that comedic shows reigned supreme at the 2021 TCA Awards is a testament to this. From the folksy humor of ‘Ted Lasso’ and the sharp takes of ‘Hacks’ to the timeless laughs of ‘The Golden Girls’, this season’s offerings gave us plenty of reasons to smile in uncertain times. We are excited to honor these outstanding programs as we celebrate 37 years of the TCA Awards, and we look forward to being together again in person in 2022.”

Below is the full list of winners for this year’s Television Critics Association Awards:

Individual Achievement in Drama

Michaela Coel, “I May Destroy You” (HBO)

Individual Achievement in Comedy

Jean Smart, “Hacks” (HBO Max)

Outstanding Achievement in News and Information

“Framing Britney Spears” (FX/FX on Hulu)

Outstanding Achievement in Reality Programming (TIE)

“Couples Therapy” (Showtime)

“Deaf U” (Netflix)

Outstanding Achievement in Variety, Talk or Sketch

“Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” (HBO)

Outstanding New Program

“Ted Lasso” (Apple TV+)

Outstanding Achievement in Movies, Miniseries, or Specials

“Mare of Easttown” (HBO)

Outstanding Achievement in Drama

“The Crown” (Netflix)

Outstanding Achievement in Comedy

“Ted Lasso” (Apple TV+)

Program of the Year

“Ted Lasso” (Apple TV+)

Career Achievement Honoree

Jean Smart

Heritage Award

“The Golden Girls” (NBC)

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