THE L.A. EMMY'S, A CELEBRATION OF LOCAL TALENT
BY Joy Short
The evening couldn't have been more perfect. The balmy weather
was a fitting backdrop for an event that went off without
a hitch at the Leonard H. Goldenson Theatre of the
Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. The Academy hosted
the big event. While the Academy 's Prime Time show bestows
awards on national programs and programmers, the Los Angeles
Area Emmy Awards focuses only on the local side of the business.
The event honored television media professionals from news
the show, I spoke with Bryce Zabel, Chairman and CEO
of the Academy. In that capacity, he said that the Academy
has become a viable force in the industry. Zabel said, "I
do think that what's happened is that the Academy is stepping
forward and taking its sort of rightful place in the entertainment
community. Because really, who does speak for television if
the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences doesn't. A lot
of people come at it from different places but the Academy
is made up of 12,000 women and men who actually make their
livings producing television. One of the highlights of the
show was Zabel's presentation of the prestigious Governor's
Award to Dr. George Fishbeck.
Hal Eisner was everywhere. Appropriately so, this
was Hal Eisner's 7th straight year as Executive Producer of
the show. This was his first year partnering with Jeff Androsky
and Carol Sherman of Tri-Crown Productions. Together, they
pulled off what many at the L.A. Emmy's said was one of the
best shows ever.
O'Hurley (Seinfeld; To Tell The Truth and UPN's The Mullets)
hosted the L.A. Emmy's. But before it all started, O'Hurley
stopped by to talk with the media covering the event. He confided
that a more difficult job than hosting was that of making
a 15-second acceptance speech. He said that he didn't know
if that could be done. His job, of course, was to keep those
speeches short and the program moving along at a lively clip.
A sophisticated set design and graphics added panache to
the show. Oldies rock group,
Sha Na Na, got the audience doing the "hand jive"
in unison. That was a poignant picture watching so many people
share a light moment; the same ones, many of whom spend their
days getting the latest details of nasty shootings and car
chases down the freeways. During the ceremonies, the bar remained
open for guests to step outside the Academy doors to the courtyard.
A large monitor showed the on-going program so folks didn't
miss a beat. After the awards were all handed out, guests
were invited to enjoy the 17-piece swing band, Johnny Vana's
Big Band Alumni on the dance floor.
It was a very big night for reporters, anchors, producers,
writers and others all of whom make up the Los Angeles T.V.
media world. It was also a big night for the celebrity presenters.
For some, the job was old hat, but for others this was a first
and several told me that those receiving the awards were people
Sharif Atkins (ER) a first time presenter said he
was prepared to do his job. "I have already approved
the script and made sure that I don't bobble and bumble over
words and names, it should be fun" he said as he stopped
by the media line before the show.
Presenting awards had special meaning to some of the celebrities.
Actress Linda Gray (Dallas) told me she is a native
Californian and as such her presentation of the L.A. Arts
Cultural History Award was " kind of a lovely California
Looking completely together, five year veteran actor George
Stultz (7th Heaven) presented The Outstanding Public Affairs
Series. In the media line, he said that he was a bit nervous
Now what's an event of this kind without a fashion statement?
One of the wildest looks was made by Debra Wilson (MADtv).
Decked out in a wild animal print she said about her outfit,
"You know the old saying, when you get married, something
old, something new, something borrowed something blue, well,
for the Los Angeles Emmy's, I'm wearing something borrowed,
something borrowed, something borrowed and something borrowed
". About the Emmy's she said, "I'm just going to
sit back and pretend that I'm eating popcorn and watch the
fireworks." Wilson presented Best Investigative Reporting
to NBC4 (News at 11) Disciplined Doctors and DPSS Fraud; and
KVEA Lakes Contamination.
The awardees represented Los Angeles from many angles, giving
an over-all true picture of happenings from hard news to sports
and beyond. By evening's end, the crowd sparkled with dozens
of people sporting golden statues representative of their
talents. They had been praised by their peers and had something
to take home to prove it.
|Always a teacher. Says Dr. George Fischbeck to Joy Short
... "Everything that happens to you is an opportunity."
Special honorees of the evening included Chick Hearn,
Bob Hope, and Governor's Award Recipient, Dr. George
Fishbeck, who is known for his colorful weather reports.
Laker's announcer, Stu Lantz, who last year gave Hearn
the Governor's Award, this year paid tribute to his memory.
Lantz said "it just doesn't seem like Laker basketball
without Chick Hearn". Lantz said he had shoulder surgery
last week. Even so he graciously signed a couple of autographs.
He said his doctor really didn't want him to attend the awards
until he had more time to recover, but Lantz said he had to
show up. About the Lakers he said, "We want to go back
to where we belong".
Rooney shared his memories of Bob Hope. The audience
watched clips of Hopes movies.
Dr. George Fishbeck, humbly tucked his trophy under
his jacket as he made his way through the crowd. I caught
up with him after he accepted his award. He said that he has
never used notes or a teleprompter in delivering his weather
news. He has been a teacher and still is, for that matter.
He was very appreciative of the honor.
Others smiled as they accepted their statues. Alan Thicke
(Growing Pains) presented the Entertainment Programming award
to CBS-2 for their Countdown to the Latin Grammy Awards.
News Writers, Diego Carro of KVEA/KWHY and Tim Langford
of Fox 11, surely must have felt touched by an angel after
Della Reese handed out their awards in a tie. While her show,
Touched By An Angel, is over, Della Reese said that
she is doing charity work to try to help people that need
Carlos Bernard (24) gave KVEA the Emmy for best Serious
News Story Single Report for "The Forgotten". Bernard
told me he appreciated the work of the newscasters saying,
"for us and our kids I think it's important to present
the world not just the entertainment world. "
Always funny, Teri Garr (Friends), handed out the
sports awards, quipping that she actually knew little about
sports. Garr said, "For me watching a football game,
it's like a monkey looking at the back of a watch. I like
to look at the guys in their uniforms". She presented
several Emmy's, two of which included Sports Feature, Walter
Bratton (Southern California Sports Report) FSN and for
Sports Series Programming, So Cal Prep Spotlight FSN.
McCrane (ER) presented The NBC4 News Team took Live Coverage
of an Unscheduled News Event. It was his first time presenting
at the L.A. Emmy's and he thought that it was time that local
folks got some recognition.
Sports reporter, Fred Roggin took two awards. Fred
Roggin's Road to Salt Lake City NBC4 and Sports Reporting.
There were a number of juried awards that showcased individual
and station work. There were also many other awards, too many
to mention here. One thing rang through of this evening, it
was a time that local Los Angeles television professionals
honored each other and showed appreciation for each other's
work. It is a small community, after all.