The very presence of Andrew Young gave the seemingly endless Southeastern Emmy Awards an extra bright sheen, while host and former TBS/CNN mainstay Bill Tush kicked the nostalgia up a notch.
WSB-TV for the second year in a row took home the big “station excellence” award while grabbing the “news excellence” Emmy and best newscast. The station has been the dominant news station in town for decades.
Best news anchor was won by a Montgomery, Ala. anchor Mark Bullock, beating the Atlanta triumvirate of veteran ladies Monica Pearson (WSB-TV), Karyn Greer (WXIA-TV) and Brenda Wood (WXIA-TV.) WSB-TV’s David Chandley won the Emmy for best weather anchor. (Dagmar Midcap fans, she was not in the running.) Jerome Jurenovich from Fox Sports & Fox Sports South won best sports anchor again.
The show took more than three hours — not quite as long as the Oscars but there were no commercials (since it’s no longer televised.) At a certain point, well into hour three, entire tables were empty as people schmoozed outside by the bar or had already left.
Among other winners:
-Monica Pearson (left, in photo) with Dorthey Daniels(right) for an exclusive interview with Congressman John Lewis last year when he changed his mind and endorsed Barack Obama over his initial favorite Hillary Clinton. Pearson said afterwards that she had chased that exclusive for a long time.
- Jeff “J.J.” Johnson at Peachtree TV won for “On Camera Talent.” He is seen at Braves home games and has been the voice of Peachtree TV for the past two years.
I spoke briefly about what the Emmy means to the Honorable Andrew Young, civil rights leader and former U.N. Ambassador and Atlanta mayor. (photo I took to the left, with his friend and Trumpet Awards founder Xernona Clayton.)
“I truly believe television has changed the world and its impact on a huge number of people,” he said in an interview after receiving a special Governor’s Award Emmy.
“What about Twitter and the way the Web distributes information?” I asked.
“Twittering is the continued democratization of dissemination of information,” he said. “But that’s more about the immediate moment. Television still can provide the indepth perspective people need. We will always want to see the news. It may not necessarily be on a TV. It might be on your wristband or your cel phone, but there’s a place for TV news.”
Young won a couple of more Emmys for uplifting stories he did with CB Hackworth in Africa last year. “Working with Andrew Young has been a blessing and changed my life,” Hackworth said.
He has no clue where he’s going to put the Emmy. Earlier, before his speech, the Emmys showed an image of him when he was barely 22 years old in 1954 on a show “Look Up and Live” as a narrator. He said he counseled Martin Luther King Jr. about the power of TV.
That early TV experience “helped us understand that what we do has got to be framed in such a timeline that we can make the 6 o’clock news…. getting a story from Birmingham or Selma or St. Augustine. We had to make it crisp and touch people’s hearts.”
He thanked his family and acknowledged a granddaughter going to UGA, then did the Dawg bark. Too bad I didn’t capture that on video!
The host was Bill Tush, who fed the audience clips of his goofy antics back in the 1970s on Channel 17. As this photo I took shows, he’s as shocked he’s still around as the audience!
I had been planning to write a blog entry dubbed “Whatever happened to Bill Tush?” for months and haven’t done it. No excuse. I will. I promise. Tush said he joked when he met up with me three months ago that I was merely updating his future obituary.
Here is a bit he did at the Emmy’s about his sketches on Channel 17 back in the 1970s, once when he did the “news” with a dog:
“If anybody out here has a job, I have a demo tape,” Tush joked (sort of) at the end of the show.
Want more? Doug Richards over at Live Apartment Fire makes some more observations about the award winners.