Hillary Atkin

Producers Guild Joins the ‘Argo’ Chorus — and Lavishes More Honors on TV’s Best

Jan 30, 2013

Chris Terrio did an excellent job writing the screenplay for "Argo," for which he’s been nominated for an Oscar, and he could probably write a pretty good story about the drama itself coming from behind to take frontrunner status after its 1-2 victory punch at the PGA Awards and the SAG Awards.

On the television side, both guild shows cemented the status of current awards darlings of the small screen: “Homeland,” “Modern Family,” “The Amazing Race,” “Game Change,” “Downton Abbey,” “Hatfields & McCoys,” Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin and Bryan Cranston — with just a few surprises along the way.

The producers held their 24th annual ceremony awarding excellence in film and television in the International Ballroom of the Beverly Hilton in a freewheeling, untelevised event that offered laughter, tears and abundant Jewish and cocaine jokes.

To get the awards party started, “The Colbert Report” took the prize for outstanding producer of live entertainment/talk television, although its nameplate anchor did not fly out to the coast pick it up. No matter, it’s still a point of pride as Stephen will no doubt tell his audience, many, many times — and may even try to rub it in Jon Stewart’s face, although Stewart is actually a credited producer on “Colbert” and therefore shares in the prize.

For some funny reason, “The Daily Show” was not among the contenders in the category, but Colbert can claim victory over “Saturday Night Live,” “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and “Real Time with Bill Maher.”

Continuing their respective Emmy sweeps into the winter awards season, the producers of “Homeland” took the PGA award for episodic television drama and “Modern Family’s” producers nabbed the statuette for episodic television comedy.

Another awards favorite, longtime Emmy champ “The Amazing Race,” took the PGA for competition television.

Television and film producer/director J.J. Abrams (“Lost,” “Fringe,” “Alias,” “Felicity,” “Super 8,” “Star Trek” and now, drumroll, please, “Star Wars”) was honored with the Norman Lear Achievement Award, fittingly presented by Jennifer Garner, star of “Alias,” and oh, yeah, man-of-the-moment Ben Affleck’s wife and the mother of his three children.

Abrams’ speech covered all the emotional bases, starting with his comment, “I stand before you accepting the Norman Lear Award. What the hell has happened to our standards?” He recalled watching Lear’s shows as a kid, particularly “All in the Family,” before revealing to the crowd that Lear was there for him after his mother, Carol Abrams, herself a TV and film producer, passed away last June.

“I walked into my father’s house and there was one guest who arrived first. It was Norman Lear. We laughed and drank. I was there once again in my parents’ living room — with Norman Lear.”

If you looked closely, the ghost of Archie Bunker was just offstage, with a smirk that could pass for a smile, aimed in Abrams’ direction.


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