News Briefs: Critics Laud ‘Grey’s,’ ‘Earl,’ ‘Lost’

Jul 24, 2006  •  Post A Comment

NBC notched the most wins at the 22nd annual Television Critics Association Awards, while ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” can boast the honor for program of the year. The awards were scheduled to be presented Sunday night at the organization’s Summer Press Tour in Pasadena, Calif. NBC took accolades for outstanding new program (“My Name Is Earl”), outstanding achievement in comedy (“The Office”), individual achievement in comedy (Steve Carell for “The Office”) and the Heritage Award (“The West Wing”), which recognizes a long-running program that has had lasting cultural or social impact. ABC’s “Lost” was cited for outstanding achievement in drama for the second consecutive year, and PBS’s “Frontline” collected its eighth TCA Award for outstanding achievement in news and information. Hugh Laurie, the star of Fox’s “House,” was honored for individual achievement in drama, and Carol Burnett was presented with the organization’s 2006 Career Achievement award. Other winners were PBS’s “American Masters: Bob Dylan-No Direction Home” (outstanding achievement in movies, miniseries and specials) and Disney Channel’s “High School Musical” (outstanding achievement in children’s programming).

-Tom Gilbert

For Alton Brown, It’s ‘Way More Than Cooking’

Food Network today launches a new aspect of its “Way More Than Cooking” campaign: spots featuring cooking celebrity Alton Brown, whose new limited series, “Feasting on Asphalt,” premieres Saturday at 9 p.m. (ET). The ad agency Filter created the spots, which will run on national and local cable and on Dish Network and DirecTV. One shows a group of kids throwing eggs at a minivan. The driver gets out and lectures the kids on what’s in eggs and why some types are better than others to throw at cars. The words “You can always spot an Alton Brown fan” appear on the screen, followed by the tagline. The campaign also includes consumer print in entertainment publications, online and outdoor.

-Jon Lafayette

‘Top Model’ Writers Go on Strike

The dozen writers who craft the reality in “America’s Next Top Model” went on strike Friday because The CW, which plans to use “Model” to kick off its premiere season Sept 20, has denied the writers’ request for representation by the Writers Guild of America West. Among those joining the writers demonstrating outside the “Model” production offices in Los Angeles were WGAW officers and board members and California Assemblyman Paul Koretz, according to guild spokesman Gabriel Scott. Mr. Scott said “Model’s” writers, like those on other reality shows, have signed cards authorizing the guild to represent them. “They want a contract that affords them the same provisions the Writers Guild members get,” he said. The issues are lack of portable pension and health benefits, minimum pay standards, writing credits and residuals, Mr. Scott said. A spokesman for The CW declined to comment. Production has not begun yet on the upcoming season of “Top Model.” Executive producer Ken Mok issued a statement Thursday afternoon, when the writers’ walkout seemed likely, saying: “We have advised the WGA that we feel the process established under the National Labor Relations Act is the appropriate process to be followed if employees wish to be represented by a union. The process permits an impartial government agency, the National Labor Relations Board, to conduct a secret ballot election so that all affected employees have an individual right to express their preference as to whether or not they want to elect a union. However, for some reason, the WGA is seeking to circumvent the protections provided to employees by these procedures and is trying to pressure us into recognizing it without a federally supervised secret ballot election. We once again ask that the WGA follow the procedures provided by law. If, after doing so, the NLRB decides that the WGA is the exclusive representative of our employees, we would be happy to sit down and negotiate with them.”

-Michele Greppi