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'Murphy Brown' and 'Civil War' are the critics' top shows


Los Angeles -- THE TELEVISION Critics Association gave "Murphy Brown" its comedy award, but amid the congratulations executive producer Diane English admitted that there is some trepidation about the next year of the series.

"We work very, very hard on this series and try to take risks," English said accepting the award. "We've gotten to where we are by taking risks. We're taking a big one next year."

"Murphy Brown" ended its past season with its fortyish title character, played by Candice Bergen, apparently learning that she is pregnant. There are two possible fathers.

"We know that we need to make the right choice and we know that we made the right choice," she said of the way the series will develop in the coming season.

In a number of interviews, English refused to divulge any details about how the cliffhanger will be resolved. "A lot of things will become clear in the first episode," she said.

The canceled "thirtysomething" took the drama award, and Melanie Mayron, who played Melissa in the show, accepted

it because creators Marshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick were off directing movies.

"They have jobs," she quipped.

"I know that in four years of being involved in this show, it's the most steady work I've had, but it's also the most growth I've had in my work and the most engaged I've been with it. And for that I am very grateful to Marshall and Ed."

Ken Burns' historical documentary "The Civil War" won in the specials category and was named program of the year.

Brandon Tartikoff, who recently left his job heading up NBC Entertainment to take over production at Paramount studios, received the lifetime achievement plaque and actually credited the critics present at the awards with some of his success.

"A lot of us at NBC got credit for having patience with shows, but it was actually fear," he said. "We knew you would kill us, crucify us, if we canceled shows like 'Hill Street Blues' or 'Cheers.'"

Other awards went to ABC News in the children's category for its special on the war in the gulf directed at younger viewers, CBS in the sports category for its coverage of the NCAA Final Four basketball tournament, and CNN for its Gulf war coverage in the news category.

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