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Making a Murderer wins TV Critics Association reality TV award

Making a Murderer wins TV Critics Association reality TV award
Making a Murderer directors Moira Demos (left) and Laura Ricciardi accept the 2016 TCA Award for outstanding achievement in reality television.

The Netflix series Making a Murderer has won the Television Critics Association award for outstanding achievement in reality television.

Among the shows it beat were E!’s I Am Cait, PBS’ broadcast of The Great British Baking Show, and CBS’ Survivor Cambodia: Second Chance.

Making a Murderer directors and producers Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos accepted the award. Demos spoke and started by acknowledging “the incredible other nominees in this category—such a range of stories about human beings in different situations, and it’s just an exciting time to be a storyteller, clearly.” She pointed out that, when she and Ricciardi were in Wisconsin more than 10 years ago following Steven Avery’s story, “it did not cross our mind that we would ever be on this stage.”

She said that, “in nonfiction storytelling, you don’t have a story unless someone’s willing to share it with you. These were people in extraordinary circumstances who trusted us and trusted that we would take their story and bring it to the world.”

Demos also thanked co-executive producer Lisa Dennis; associate producers Danielle Ricciardi and Joel Slabaugh; sound designer Leslie Shatz; composers Kevin Kiner and Gustavo Santaolalla; and editor Mary Manhardt.

Making a Murderer was also nominated as Program of the Year, but lost to a fictional account of a real-life murder: FX’s The People vs. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story, which was accepted by Ryan Murphy and ended with Cuba Gooding, Jr., rushing the mic, calling TV critics and/or the crowd “motherfuckers,” and then being pulled away by people from the series.

This is the sixth time the reality TV award has been presented, and it has gone to a different show each year. Last year’s winner was Starz’s The Chair; The Jinx also won in the movies, miniseries and specials category.

The 2016 Television Critics Association reality TV winners

The award was presented Saturday night at The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, Calif., in a private ceremony hosted by Jane the Virgin cast member Jaime Camil. The 220+ members of the TCA, including me, vote for the nominees and winners.

In a press release announcing all of the TCA Award winners, TCA president Amber Dowling noted that there were “an unprecedented amount of female winners this year, which is a testament to both the talented actresses who were honored tonight, as well as to the growing number of high-quality roles being created for and by women. It’s extremely encouraging to see this growing trend being embraced, accepted, and expanded upon, and I look forward to seeing even more of it in the future.”

All of the nominees and winners (in bold) in all categories were:

Outstanding Achievement in Reality Programming 

  • “I Am Cait,” E!
  • “The Circus: Inside the Greatest Political Show on Earth,” Showtime
  • “The Great British Baking Show,” PBS
  • “Making a Murderer,” Netflix
  • “MasterChef Junior,” Fox
  • “Survivor Cambodia: Second Chance,” CBS

Outstanding Achievement in News and Information 

  • “CBS Sunday Morning,” CBS
  • “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee,” TBS
  • “Jackie Robinson,” PBS
  • “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver,” HBO (2015 winner in category)
  • “Real Time With Bill Maher,” HBO
  • “United Shades of America,” CNN

The 2016 TCA scripted show nominees

Individual Achievement in Drama

  • Bryan Cranston, “All The Way,” HBO
  • Rami Malek, “Mr. Robot,” USA
  • Bob Odenkirk, “Better Call Saul,” AMC
  • Sarah Paulson, “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story,” FX
  • Keri Russell, “The Americans,” FX
  • Courtney B. Vance, “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story,” FX

Individual Achievement in Comedy 

  • Aziz Ansari, “Master of None,” Netflix
  • Samantha Bee, “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee,” TBS
  • Rachel Bloom, “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” The CW
  • Aya Cash, “You’re The Worst” FXX
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep,” HBO
  • Constance Wu, “Fresh Off the Boat,” ABC

Outstanding Achievement in Youth Programming

  • “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood,” PBS
  • “Doc McStuffins,” Disney Junior
  • “Nature Cat,” PBS
  • “Odd Squad,” PBS
  • “Sofia The First,” Disney Junior

Outstanding New Program

  • “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” The CW
  • “Marvel’s Jessica Jones,” Netflix
  • “Master of None,” Netflix
  • “Mr. Robot,” USA
  • “Underground,” WGN America
  • “UnREAL,” Lifetime

Outstanding Achievement in Movies, Miniseries and Specials

  • “All The Way,” HBO
  • “Fargo,” FX
  • “The Night Manager,” AMC
  • “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story,” FX
  • “Roots,” History
  • “Show Me A Hero,” HBO

Outstanding Achievement in Drama

  • “The Americans,” FX (also the 2015 winner)
  • “Better Call Saul,” AMC
  • “Game of Thrones,” HBO
  • “The Leftovers,” HBO
  • “Mr. Robot,” USA
  • “UnREAL,” Lifetime

Outstanding Achievement in Comedy

  • “black-ish,” ABC
  • “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” The CW
  • “Master of None,” Netflix
  • “Silicon Valley,” HBO
  • “Veep,” HBO
  • “You’re The Worst” FXX

Heritage Award

  • “The Larry Sanders Show,” HBO
  • “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” CBS
  • “Seinfeld,” NBC
  • “Star Trek,” NBC
  • “Twin Peaks,” ABC

Program of the Year

  • “The Americans,” FX
  • “Fargo,” FX
  • “Game of Thrones,” HBO
  • “Making a Murderer,” Netflix
  • “Mr. Robot,” USA
  • “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story,” FX
  • “UnREAL,” Lifetime

Career Achievement Award

  • Lily Tomlin

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About the author

  • Andy Dehnart is the creator of reality blurred and a writer and teacher who obsessively and critically covers reality TV and unscripted entertainment, focusing on how it’s made and what it means.


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