Amazon’s Fleabag—starring and created by Phoebe Waller-Bridge—was named program of the year, outstanding achievement in comedy and individual achievement in comedy for Waller-Bridge at the 2019 Television Critics Association Awards on Saturday night at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles. The evening was hosted by comedy duo Desus and Mero, host of Showtime’s late night program of the same name.
That haul of three awards easily made Fleabag the winningest show of the evening, although HBO led all networks with wins and accolades.
The gut-wrenching Chernobyl, which retold the story of the nuclear meltdown in Ukraine in 1986, was named outstanding achievement in movie or miniseries. Michael Jackson exposé Leaving Neverland, in which two of Jackson’s victims, now grown men, told the stories of their relationships with the pop superstar was named outstanding achievement in news and information. And Last Week Tonight with John Oliver was named outstanding achievement in sketch/variety show for the second straight year.
HBO also was associated with both the Heritage Award, which was given to Western drama Deadwood, and the Lifetime Achievement Award, which went to Deadwood creator and executive producer David Milch. Deadwood came briefly back to life last spring with a movie released on the 15-year anniversary of the series’ end that concluded the show’s story. Milch, who recently announced he has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, also worked on such shows as Hill Street Blues and NYPD Blue.
The rest of the awards were split among networks and services with Netflix earning two. Russian Doll, co-created by and starring Natasha Lyonne, was named outstanding new program, while Queer Eye also won outstanding achievement in reality programming for the second straight year.
Oscar-nominee Michelle Williams was awarded individual achievement in drama for her performance in FX’s limited series Fosse/Verdon about the lives and working relationship between director and choreographer Bob Fosse and Broadway star Gwen Verdon. AMC’s perennial Emmy nominee, Better Call Saul, was named outstanding achievement in drama. And PBS Kids’ Arthur won for outstanding achievement in youth programming.
“A self-lacerating examination of the intersection of love and faith, explorations of private trauma both scripted and unscripted, tales of personal transformation both uplifting and tragic, period explorations of creativity and avoidable tragedy, this year’s TCA Awards winners are united in how different and how ambitious they are,” said Daniel Fienberg, TCA President and The Hollywood Reporter Chief TV Critic, in a statement. “This is an exciting time for television and there’s no single formula for excellence, as our honorees include reputation-restoring biopics, female-driven half-hours, the rare spinoff to equal its illustrious predecessor and a piece of difficult-to-watch history that couldn’t feel more vital and relevant, making for a special TCA Awards night.”
Not mentioned at the TCA Awards was HBO’s Game of Thrones, which concluded its eight-season run in June and is nominated for a record-setting 32 Emmy awards.