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November 17, 2009

NBC4, KCET Lead L.A. Area Emmys Dodgers Greats On Hand For Govs Award

NBC4 led the winners at the 60th Los Angeles Area Emmy Awards with eight statuettes. In addition to the bestowal of awards in more than thirty categories, the ceremony, held at the Leonard H. Goldenson Theatre on the grounds of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, included a moving presentation of the Governors Award to the Los Angeles Dodgers, as well as memorial tributes to renowned local broadcasting figures Johnny Grant, Larry Harmon, Stu Nahan and Bill Stulla. Presenters for the evening, which was streamed via live webcast at the Television Academy’s official site, www.emmys.com, included more than three dozen local anchors, reporters, producers and several members of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ board of governors. In the highly competitive regularly scheduled newscast categories, CBS2 News at 11 was named outstanding regularly scheduled newscast in the 0-35 minute format for the fourth consecutive year. CBS2’s sister station, KCAL9, took the award for outstanding regularly scheduled newscast in the over-35-minute format. Outstanding daytime newscast went to KTLA5 for the KTLA Morning Show. Among those accepting the latter honor was the evening’s announcer, Carlos Amezcua, who spent fourteen years with KTLA5, but has since moved to FOX11, where he now anchors the 10 o’clock newscast. Commenting on the award, Amezcua quipped that he wished KTLA5 continued success in the future but, given that he is now employed by a rival station, “not too much, you know what I mean?” One noteworthy recipient of multiple awards is no longer on the air — KCET’s Life & Times, which ended last December after sixteen years. The acclaimed production took four Emmys on the night — outstanding informational/public affairs series (remote), outstanding feature segment and, due to a tie, two for outstanding information segment. KCET also won two additional awards, making the station the second-highest recipient of the evening with six statuettes. Two early awards went to FOX11 productions covering the so-called “May Day Melee,” when a May 1, 2007, march in support of undocumented immigrants resulted in injury to several members of the media, including FOX11 reporter Christina Gonzalez and videographer Patti Ballaz, by the forceful crowd control tactics of the Los Angeles police department. Outstanding news special went to producers Pete Noyes and Debbie Kim and reporter Phil Shuman for FOX11’s After the Melee, and outstanding live coverage of an unscheduled news event was given to the FOX11 News team for the segment “May Day March/Melee.” With the Emmys celebrating their diamond anniversary this year, it was fitting that the Governors Award should go to the Los Angeles Dodgers, whose exploits on the baseball diamond — including 15 playoff appearances, nine National League pennants and five world championships since the team moved west from Brooklyn in 1958 — have made them one of the most esteemed franchises in professional sports. Indeed, even though the gold of the Emmy statuette dominated the festivities, an equally resonant color at the Los Angeles Area festivities was Dodger blue. The organization received the prestigious Governors Award in recognition of the team’s rich 50-year history of broadcasting in Los Angeles and its charitable endeavors throughout the Southern California community. The honor was introduced by former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda and accepted by Dodgers president, Jamie McCourt. Her moving acceptance speech included a tribute to the team’s achievements, as well as a reminder of the organization’s many philanthropic initiatives. She completed her remarks by reciting excerpts from a letter sent by the parents of a twelve-year-old boy with cancer whose final days were filled with joy thanks to a visit to his hospital room by Dodgers players. The heart-rending reflections left several members of the audience with their eyes welling in tears. Joining McCourt and Lasorda for the occasion were several former Dodgers players, including Jimmy Campanis, Tommy Davis, Steve Garvey, Jim Gott, “Sweet Lou” Johnson, Lee Lacy, Ken Landreaux, Don Newcombe, Wes Parker and Derrell Thomas. Propitiously, the honor was bestowed on a day when the Dodgers defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks to move into first place in Major League Baseball’s Western Division for the first time since early April. To commemorate the Governors Award at the stadium, John Shaffner, the Television Academy’s chairman and CEO, threw out a ceremonial first pitch — a video of which was shown in the theater for all to see. Following the Governors Award, the poignant mood continued as the lights dimmed for video tributes to Grant, Harmon, Nahan and Stulla. Grant, Hollywood’s honorary mayor for decades, was best known for the more than 600 Walk of Fame and Chinese Theatre hand-and-footprint ceremonies he hosted over the years. He was also a longtime presence on the L.A. television scene as an on-air personality and executive producer of the Hollywood Christmas Parade for twenty-five years. Harmon, who enjoyed a lengthy career as TV’s Bozo the Clown, also owned the rights to the character, and taught some 200 actors how to play him on local kids’ shows in the late 1950s and early ’60s. Among them, as he recounted in the video shown at the ceremony, was former Today Show weatherman Willard Scott. A Los Angeles broadcasting fixture for more than three decades, Nahan was a sports reporter for KABC7, KNBC4 and KTLA5 over the course of his career. He also worked as a play-by-play announcer, hosted children’s programs in his early years, and made appearances in many feature films, including the teen comedy Fast Times at Ridgemont High and every installment of the Rocky franchise. Stulla was known to millions of young television viewers during the 1950s and ’60s as “Engineer Bill” thanks to the program Cartoon Express with Engineer Bill, which aired on Los Angeles station KHJ-TV. Among its highlights was a game called “Red Light, Green Light,“ which encouraged of children to drink their milk. Other notable awards on the evening included outstanding investigative reporting, which went to Channel 4 News at 11 P.M. & 5 P.M. for “Contaminated,” a graphic multi-part report on unhealthy conditions — including the presence of rats and more — at the Seventh Street Produce Market in Downtown Los Angeles, where thousands of Southern California restaurants and stores get their fruits and vegetables. Their work on “Contaminated” helped the series’ producers, Joel Grover and Matt Goldberg, to win the Emmy for outstanding hard news reporting, which they also won last year. In another repeat, outstanding sports reporting went to producer-anchor Curt Sandoval and producer Dae Ho Suk of ABC7. Also for the second straight year, outstanding news writer went to Mary Harris of NBC4. Outstanding non-news writer was given to Joetta Di Bella of KTLA5 — who is also a governor of the Los Angeles Area Peer Group, and one of the executive producers of the ceremonies, along with her co-governor, Mitch Waldow. Following NBC4 and KCET in the award rankings were CBS2/KCAL9, with five Emmys; FOX11 and KCAL9, with four each; ABC7, KTLA5 and LA CITYVIEW35, with three statuettes apiece; FSN WEST and KMEX with two each; and CBS2, EDUCABLE — CHANNEL 95, FSN WEST/PRIME TICKET, GTV6, KMEX/KFTR and LA36 each took home one. For a complete list of winners, click here.

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