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First- & 2nd-Year Shows Dominate; ‘Better Call Saul’ Bucks Trend

The American Film Institute has released its annual list of 10 top TV programs of the year, with FX, Apple TV+ and HBO landing two slots each and ABC’s comedy Abbott Elementary representing broadcast solo. AMC, Netflix and HBO Max have one show apiece on the list.

Here are the 2022 AFI Television Programs of the Year:

As often is the case, AFI’s TV list is heavy with rookie shows, though not as many as in past years. The 2022 freshman class is represented by restaurant dramedy The Bear, immigrant dramedy Mo, limited series Pachinko, sci-fi thriller Severance and Kansas-set dramedy Somebody Somewhere.

Abbott Elementary (ABC)
The Bear (FX)
Better Call Saul (AMC)
Hacks (HBO Max)
Mo (Netflix)
Pachinko (Apple TV+)
Reservation Dogs (FX)
Severance (Apple TV+)
Somebody Somewhere (HBO)
The White Lotus (HBO)

Other than the Bob Odenkirk-led Breaking Bad prequel Better Call Saul, which wrapped its six-season run in August, the rest of the Top 10 is second-year series: comedies Abbott Elementary, Hacks and Reservation Dogs and anthology series The White Lotus. No TV show received an AFI Special Award this year.

Notably absent from the AFI list are this year’s respective Emmy winners for Comedy and Drama Series — Ted Lasso and Succession, but neither aired in 2022. Jean Smart won an Emmy for her lead role in Hacks, and Jennifer Coolidge and Murray Bartlett picked up Emmys for their supporting roles in The White Lotus.

“AFI Awards shines a light upon excellence in storytelling and the collaborators who bring these stories to the screen,” AFI President and CEO Bob Gazzale said in a statement. “This year, more than ever, celebrating the community of artists that realize these dreams is particularly meaningful – as they have lifted our spirits through the most challenging of times and proven the power of this great art form.”

Based on jury voting by AFI Trustees, scholars, artists and critics, the AFI Awards are given to “programs deemed culturally and artistically significant,” the group said. The winners will be honored the annual luncheon, set for January 13 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Los Angeles.

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