Fox's talent competition series American Idol and NBC's freshman police drama Boomtown won the highest honors at the 19th annual Television Critics Association Awards, which were presented Saturday at the Hollywood Renaissance hotel.
The TV critics mostly rewarded original, unscripted fare from the Big Four networks rather than HBO's slate, and no one network dominated the nominations. Comedy Central, NBC and PBS each walked away with two awards, while the rest of the honors were spread out among other networks.
The TCA bestowed Idol with its program of the year award, while the almost-axed series Boomtown, starring Neal McDonough, snagged prizes for best new program and best drama series.
Boomtown producers thanked critics for their letters of support to the show, which they said helped convince NBC Entertainment President Jeff Zucker renew the series for another season, Variety reports. The hour-long drama, which won a Peabody Award earlier this year, explores a crime from the perspective of four witnesses.
Jon Stewart, meanwhile, won the award for individual achievement in comedy as host of Comedy Central's satirical news program The Daily Show, which also won best comedy of the year.
PBS's long-running investigative series Frontline won an award for outstanding achievement in news and information while LeVar Burton's Reading Rainbow was named best children's program.
Despite HBO drama The Sopranos' year-long hiatus, Edie Falco won for outstanding achievement in the individual drama category for her role as Carmela Soprano.
The Sci Fi Channel's Steven Spielberg Presents Taken, a science-fiction adventure that weaves together over 50 years of alien abductions into the story of three families' experiences, won best miniseries.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer won the Heritage Award, which recognizes programs that have a lasting influence on pop culture and society. The honor was shared between the show's two networks, WB and UPN.
The Dick Van Dyke Show creator/producer Carl Reiner, meanwhile, was honored with the career achievement honor.
The ceremony was hosted by Wanda Sykes, star of the Fox sitcom Wanda at Large. The honors are voted on by the TCA's membership of journalists from Canada and the United States.