2022 Sentinel Awards

Event Date:

Tuesday, November 15, 2022
Abbott Elementary creator and star Quinta Brunson on the red carpet

Abbott Elementary creator/star Quinta Brunson on the red carpet. Photo by Michael Jones

Some of the brightest stars and creative talent in Hollywood attended the 2022 Sentinel Awards held Oct. 25 at the Television Academy, including Quinta Brunson, the creator, executive producer and star of ABC’s Abbott Elementary, and co-star Tyler James Williams; Hannah Einbinder and Paul W. Downs, co-stars of the HBO Max series HacksSarah Podemski, co-star of Reservation Dogs; Allison Miller, co-star of A Million Little Things; and Shoniqua ShandaiJerrie Johnson and Meagan Good of the Amazon Prime show Harlem.

Sterlin Harjo, co-creator and executive producer of Reservation Dogs on FX, and Danny Strong, creator, writer and director of the Hulu series Dopesick, accepted Sentinel Awards for their series in taped remarks.

Yvette Nicole Brown served as host for the annual event, which celebrates outstanding TV entertainment that makes a difference. The actress and producer is known for her appearances and co-starring roles on Community, Big Shot, Mom, Curb Your Enthusiasm and A Black Lady Sketch Show, which earned her a 2021 Primetime Emmy nomination. She currently co-stars in the Disney+ movie Disenchanted, starring Amy Adams and Patrick Dempsey, a sequel to the 2007 live-action/animated musical romantic comedy Enchanted.

The annual celebration recognized 12 shows whose storytelling tackled powerful and timely topics, including Emmy nominees and winners Dopesick, Abbott Elementary and Hacks, as well as A Million Little Things, Never Have I Ever and Reservation Dogs, the breakout coming-of-age series about four indigenous teen-age friends living in rural Oklahoma.

Hollywood, Health & Society (HH&S), a program of the USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center, presented the red-carpet gala live for the first time in three years at the Wolf Theatre, located at the Saban Media Center of the Television Academy.

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Season 1 of Reservation Dogs (FX on Hulu) received a special Culture of Health Award, which recognizes TV’s power to affect audiences with stories that address important issues of health, well-being and equity in society. Co-created by Harjo and Taika Waititi (Thor: Love and Thunder), the darkly funny series features an all-Native American cast and production crew, and its first season’s body of work covered topics such as healthcare and economic disparities, aging and caregiving, mental health, suicide and racism.

The other 11 scripted shows (complete list of honorees below) from network, cable and streaming services explored similar tough topics, which included the growing climate emergency and the continuing crisis over addiction.

“It was a pleasure to host this year’s event in person with the wonderful Yvette Nicole Brown as the evening’s host, and the TV Academy was the perfect venue," said Kate Folb, director of Hollywood, Health & Society. "We celebrated the successes of these amazing shows, their creative teams and the impact they have had on their audiences.”

  • Among those accepting awards were series creators and executive producers Tracy Oliver (Harlem), D.J. Nash and Terrence Coli (A Million Little Things); Aaron Cooley (The First Lady); Nastaran Dibai (Resident Alien); and Jen Statsky, Lucia Aniello and Paul W. Downs (Hacks).
  • Writers being honored included Chris Schleicher (Never Have I Ever), Azia Squire (The First Lady), Tommy Pico (Resident Alien, Reservation Dogs), Britt Matt (Harlem), Megan Neuringer (Upload), and Elizabeth Laime and Lucile Masson (A Million Little Things). 
  • Lisa Henson, CEO of the Jim Henson Company, joined some of the Fraggles characters—those captivating creatures from the winning children’s show Fraggle Rock: Back to the Rock (Apple TV+)—in a special presentation.
  • Oklahoma brothers and rappers Lil Mike & Funny Bone (aka Mike Bone), who have recurring roles on Reservation Dogs, gave a special performance that brought the audience to its feet.
  • Returning as co-writers for the 2022 Sentinel Awards show were Hollywood TV veterans Ann Slichter and Shelly Goldstein. Slichter is an Emmy nominee and WGA Award-winning head writer for NBC’s Weakest Link and Hollywood Game Night. Her credits also include Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, the Directors Guild of America Awards and the People’s Choice Awards. Goldstein has written dozens of awards shows and galas for groups such as the WGA, NARAS MusiCares, and People for the American Way. She wrote the Emmy-winning Great Performances: Chicago Voices, which aired on PBS, and special material for such artists as Sheryl Lee Ralph, Steve Martin and Stephen Colbert.

During the awards ceremony, HH&S announced the five finalists of its Blue Sky Scriptwriting Contest, which invited writers to submit TV scripts that imagined a better world set between the years 2045 and 2100. In addition to being awarded fellowships of $7,500 each, the finalists will receive mentorships and expert consultations for revisions on their scripts. One grand prize of $20,000 will be awarded in early 2023. The contest was in partnership with the Future of Life Institute and the Writers Guild of America East.

For more than 20 years, the Sentinel Awards have celebrated outstanding achievements in TV storytelling that informs, educates and motivates viewers to make choices for healthier and safer lives. For audiences here and around the world, excellence in television provides both entertainment and fact-based information about a wide range of health topics and social issues.

Over 150 entries were submitted for the awards. All eligible submissions were reviewed for accuracy of information; a second round of judging looked at the entertainment value and potential benefit to the viewing audience.

The 2022 Sentinel Awards honorees:

Reservation Dogs (FX)
Season 1 body of work
Recipient of the “Culture of Health Award”

A Million Little Things (ABC)
Fresh Start
Topic: Abortion

Dopesick (Hulu)
The People vs. Purdue Pharma
Topic: Addiction

Hacks (HBO Max)
On the Market
Topic: Aging/

Upload (Amazon)
Mind Frisk
Topic: Artificial intelligence

The First Lady (Showtime)
See Saw
Topic: Breast cancer

Fraggle Rock: Back to the Rock (Apple TV)
Flight of the Flutterflies
Topic: Children’s programming

Resident Alien (Syfy)
Radio Harry
Topic: Climate emergency

Abbott Elementary (ABC)
Topic: Economic disparities (comedy)

The White Lotus (HBO)
The Lotus-Eaters
Topic: Economic disparities (drama)

Never Have I Ever (Netflix)
… Stalked My Own Mother
Topic: Mental health

Harlem (Amazon)
The Strong Black Woman
Topic: Racism