Highlights from the TCA Awards

Good morning, all. Last night was my favorite night of press tour: the TCA Awards (the winners are here), which featured among its highlights:

* Comedy writer, sportscaster and hilarious blogger Ken Levine, accepting the Heritage Award on behalf of “Cheers,” recalling the show’s early ratings struggles, when they were not only losing to “Simon and Simon,” but, “We were getting our asses kicked by something called ‘Tucker’s Witch’ on ABC.”

* “Breaking Bad” creator Vince Gilligan ending his speech by asking Aaron Paul to give the audience a “Yo, bitch” on cue, which Paul followed with a very formal bow.

(Speaking of Paul, at the pre-awards reception, I chatted with him for a few minutes about his “Price Is Right” appearance, and he gave me a roll-by-roll analysis of his failure in the dice game.)

* David Letterman, accepting the Career Achievement award with a video message, explaining that he would love to be there with us, but as anyone who knows him knows well, “Tonight is the night that I eat glass.”

* Louis C.K., who had appeared to us via satellite that morning because he was in Albany on his way to pick up his daughter from summer camp, appearing again via two video messages he recorded immediately after that press conference (in a locale that made it look like he was auditioning to replace Scott Baio as Bob Loblaw in the new “Arrested Development” series). Each video again closed with the apologetic explanation about his daughter, which at first felt redundant, until he began to draw out the explanation the second time, drawing big laughs as he acknowledged, “I’m in Albany. You’re in Hollywood. So…”

* Claire Danes almost pulling a Kanye during “Homeland” producer Alex Gansa’s acceptance speech, but only to acknowledge that she forgot to thank the TV critics during her own speech earlier in the evening.

* Emcee Bryan Cranston channeling his inner Jeffrey Ross with a monologue that roasted the winners, celebrities he both likes (“Fred (Willard) is so talented he could host these awards single-handedly”) and doesn’t (there was a run of Kardashian jokes), and even the press tour hotel. It was a very Johnny Carson-esque performance, with many of the biggest laughs coming from his reaction to jokes that didn’t go over well. Truly, he is The One Who Jokes.

As I suggested in last night’s post, I was pleased with the results overall. Even if we didn’t have room to honor every great show from the past season (no “Parks and Rec” or “Mad Men” or “Girls,” for instance), the shows we did honor were also excellent.

CBS is up today, and I’ll have one of my press tour schedule previews published in a bit.