Hollywood writers/producers Gloria Calderón Kellett and Mike Royce co-hosted the 2021 Sentinel Awards, which this year honored NBC’s popular medical drama New Amsterdam with the “Imagining a Culture of Health Award” for the show’s entire body of work during its third season.
In addition to New Amsterdam, 11 other shows were celebrated for TV entertainment that makes a difference in viewers’ lives, including The Good Doctor, Master of None, Euphoria, Pose, The Handmaid’s Tale, This Is Us and Grey’s Anatomy (full list below). Their storylines covered such topics as Covid-19, abortion, mental health, addiction and racism—mirroring a tumultuous year in American life.
The annual recognition of outstanding TV storytelling featured taped special appearances by two entertainment luminaries: Norman Lear, who turned 99 in July, and Rita Moreno, one of only a few performers to win an Emmy Award (OK, two Emmys), an Oscar, a Tony Award and a Grammy Award. Moreno kicked off the 2021 Sentinel Awards event by inviting viewers to “celebrate some of the best, bravest, most challenging entertainment of the past year.”
Later in the show, Lear was interviewed about his pioneering career in TV by Calderón Kellett and Royce, and the legendary producer behind groundbreaking shows such as All in the Family, One Day at a Time, The Jeffersons and Maude introduced one of the highlights of the evening—New Amsterdam receiving the “Imagining a Culture of Health Award.”
A recurring theme of the popular ABC medical series is the unequal access to affordable health care that many people face, and the storytelling centers on the dedicated staff at the hospital and its medical director, Dr. Maxwell Goodwin (portrayed by Ryan Eggold). The show’s setting is based on Bellevue Hospital in New York City—founded in 1736 and the oldest public hospital in the U.S.—and the NBC series won a 2020 Sentinel Award for an episode titled “Righteous Right Hand.”
“Throughout 2020 I realized how lucky I am to work with the incredible people who make up our cast and crew, with special thanks to our writers,” Eggold said in presenting the award to creator/showrunner David Schulner, executive producer Peter Horton and the writing staff.
“In the midst of a global pandemic, with facts seeming to evolve minute-by-minute, they crafted back-to-back episodes covering topics including Covid 19, systemic racism, HIV/AIDS, addiction and recovery, mental health, maternal health and climate change.”