The Washington Post

David Letterman dodges TV critics trophy show because ‘it’s the night I eat glass’

Justin Bieber and David Letterman (John Paul Filo/AP)

In its first TCA Award recognition, FX comedy “Louie” snagged two trophies: best comedy, and best individual achievement in comedy to the show’s star/writer/director/editor/whatever Louis C.K.

C.K. was a no-show, explaining in a video he was on his way to the Adirondacks to pick up his daughter from camp.

AMC’s “Breaking Bad” was a repeat winner for best drama, a trophy it won in ’10. Show star, Bryan Cranston emceed the trophy show at the Beverly Hilton hotel where, he noted, Hollywood goes to die — a Whitney Houston gag that elicited groans and giggles.

“Homeland” star Claire Danes showed up to receive her best drama acting win and thanked the show’s writers — “magical creatures” — and her husband, for understanding what a “commitment” and a “sacrifice” is to be a professional actress.

While the TV academy may have insisted PBS’s “Downton Abbey” compete as a drama series in Emmy competition, TV critics/bloggers are happy to call it a miniseries, bestowing upon the crunchy gravel soap the trophy for best movie, mini or special. Cast and crew were also no-shows, having appeared at the press tour the previous week but left so as to attend the London Olympics Opening Ceremonies.

And, just like the Emmys, cable programs controlled the scripted-series categories.

Commercial broadcast TV’s wins included best reality program (Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance”), and best news/information program (CBS’s “60 Minutes”).

CBS late night star David Letterman, awarded the Career Achievement Award, was another no-show. But, unlike the apologetic C.K., in his taped acceptance message Letterman said “I wish I could be with you tonight in Los Angeles, and I would be but, those of you who are friends… know tonight is the night I eat glass.”

He said he was instead sending a guy who looks sort of looks like him to pick up the trophy. Which is what happened.

And, NBC’s 80’s sitcom “Cheers” won the TCA’s Heritage Award, owing to the “cultural and social impact the program has had on society.”

“We were getting our [heinie] kicked by something called ‘Tucker’s Witch’,” head writer Ken Levine noted of the comedy’s poorly rated first season.

He thanked the critics for standing by the show, though virtually none of those critics who were around at the time are still in the group. And, we’re guessing, some of the ones who were there — maybe the ones who the next day mistook Charlie Rose for Dan Rather during CBS’s day at the tour — did not know what “Cheers” was.

“Writers and showrunners of current shows tell me all the time what an influence ‘Cheers’ was — and then they still don’t hire me” Levine joked in all seriousness. But he said he takes comfort knowing he’ll still be getting residual checks long after their shows have been canceled.


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