It was a happy night Saturday at the Television Critics Assn. Awards, which took place at the Beverly Hilton – or, as host Bryan Cranston described it, "Hollywood's favorite place to die."
Cranston delivered a sprightly monologue that was almost as much fun for his reaction to the misses as for the audience's reaction to the hits, such as his joke about the "Modern Family" cast negotiations that "they are now demanding part of Walt's ("Breaking Bad") meth business."
Former top "Cheers" scribe Ken Levine, accepting the TCA Heritage Award on behalf of the classic sitcom's producers, also had a number of good lines, including his acknowledgment that the comedy stayed on the air during its least-watched days "because NBC had nothing else – kind of just like today."
"Cheers" casting director Jeff Greenberg also spoke, acknowledging the producers for giving him his big career break and putting him in position to lead the casting on "My So-Called Life" of Claire Danes – the night's winner of the TCA Award for individual achievement in drama. Greenberg nodded sweetly to Danes, seated in the front row of tables.
"Game of Thrones" won for top program of the year, something that might be considered an upset considering the presence of AMC power duo "Breaking Bad" and "Mad Men" along with PBS' "Downton Abbey" and Showtime's "Homeland" among the nominees. Most of the runners-up were compensated, however – "Breaking Bad" with the drama series award, "Downton Abbey" with movie/miniseries (yep, the category confusion continues) and "Homeland" with top new program.