'America' Tribute Honored With Emmys
The four major broadcast television networks received the Governors Award at last night's (Sept. 22) Emmy Awards for mounting a music-driven tribute to victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks just 1The four major broadcast television networks received the Governors Award at last night's (Sept. 22) Emmy Awards for mounting a music-driven tribute to victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks just 10 days after they occurred. The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences recognized ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC for setting aside commercials and competition to organize the "America: A Tribute to Heroes" special.
Former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani was met with a standing ovation as he presented the award. "The sorrow of those who lost loved ones and the heroism of those who performed the greatest rescue mission in our history gave me a perspective that will haunt me and sustain me for the rest of my life," Giuliani said. "It was America's worst tragedy. It was America's finest hour.
"Thank you on behalf of a very grateful America."
The tribute and telethon, pulled together in less than a week with artists donating their time, was telecast live without an audience from stages in New York, London, and Los Angeles. The program was carried by more than 30 TV networks and 8,000 radio stations.
Musicians such as Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, and Willie Nelson performed in three cities. Actors such as Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts told stories of innocent people killed and heroic acts. They alternated short speeches with singers who performed on sets decorated by hundreds of burning candles.
Close to 60 million people watched "America: A Tribute to Heroes" when it aired Sept. 21, 2001. The telethon raised $128 million, and an additional $12 million in album and video sales. Proceeds have been distributed to victims of the attacks.
The program, which had already received honors from the Directors Guild of America and the Screen Actors Guild and won the coveted George Foster Peabody Award, was also honored with the Emmy for variety, music or comedy special.
Sting, who also took part in "America: A Tribute to Heroes," won his own Emmy last night for individual performance in a variety or music program for "A&E In Concert: Sting In Tuscany...All This Time." Aired last November, the special combined footage of an intimate performance by the artist that was taped last Sept. 11 in Italy with an interview conducted by late Billboard editor in chief Timothy White who served as associate producer/head writer for the program.
The lavish "Opening Ceremony Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Winter Games," which was broadcast live on NBC, won the best directing for a variety or music program award. The international star-packed event featured performances by R. Kelly, LeAnn Rimes, Sting and Yo Yo Ma, John Williams, Rita Coolidge & Walela, the Dixie Chicks, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and others.
Hosted by NBC late night host Conan O'Brien, the Emmys were broadcast live from Los Angeles' Shrine Auditorium. NBC's "The West Wing" picked up four honors, including best drama series, while the network's "Friends" won its first best comedy series Emmy after five previous nominations in the category.
-- AP & Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.
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