Masterpiece leads PBS slate of 34 Primetime Emmy nominees, and more awards in public media

Print More

Downton Abbey and Sherlock: His Last Vow each picked up 12 primetime Emmy nominations July 10, earning the lion’s share of the 34 nominations for PBS programs.

Downton Abbey, a co-production of Masterpiece and Carnival Films, was nominated for outstanding drama series and outstanding directing for a drama series, while Michelle Dockery, who plays Lady Mary Crawley in the period drama, was nominated for lead actress in a series. Four additional cast members are vying for Emmys: Maggie Smith and Joanne Froggatt, both nominated for supporting actress in a drama series; Jim Carter, nominated for supporting actor in a drama series; and Paul Giamatti, a contender in the category guest actor in a drama series.

Downton Abbey also received nominations for five craft awards: art direction for a period series, costumes for a series, hairstyling for a single-camera series, music composition for a series and sound mixing for a comedy or drama series.

Sherlock: His Last Vow, the third installment in the series presented on PBS by Masterpiece Mystery, was nominated for best television movie. Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays Sherlock Holmes, was nominated for lead actor in a miniseries or movie; and Martin Freeman, who plays sidekick John Watson, was nominated for supporting actor in a miniseries or movie.

Writer Steven Moffat and director Nick Hurran also earned nominations for His Last Vow, which received additional craft nominations for casting, cinematography, costumes, single-camera picture editing, music composition, and sound editing and mixing.

Amish Shunned

Paul Edwards, who joined the Amish church at 17 but was excommunicated after a falling-out, is one of the subjects of the American Experience documentary, “The Amish: Shunned,” nominated for a primetime Emmy. (Photo: Edward Marritz/WGBH)

In nonfiction TV categories, two series produced at Boston’s WGBH garnered nominations. “JFK,” a documentary presented by American Experience, was nominated for outstanding documentary or nonfiction special and for outstanding writing for nonfiction programming. Another AE film, “The Amish: Shunned,” received a nomination for exceptional merit in documentary filmmaking. And Antiques Roadshow received an Emmy nod for outstanding structured reality program.

American Masters, which is produced by New York’s WNET, is in contention for the Emmy for outstanding documentary or nonfiction series; its documentary “Jimi Hendrix: Hear My Train A Comin’” received nominations for picture editing and sound mixing among nonfiction programming.

Three other PBS programs received nominations. Pioneers of Television is a contender for outstanding documentary or nonfiction series; Great Performances received a craft Emmy nomination for music direction in “Barbra Streisand: Back to Brooklyn.” And “A Christmas Carol: The Concert,” a performance special presented by Chicago’s WTTW, got a nod for outstanding original music and lyrics.

Winners will be announced next month in two awards galas: during the Aug. 16 Creative Arts Emmys and the Aug. 25 Primetime Emmy Awards, the latter to be broadcast live from Los Angeles.


Oregon Public Broadcasting and WFYI lead pubcasters with wins for station excellence during the opening half of this year’s regional Emmy Awards.

Among public TV stations competing for recognition in regional Emmy awards sponsored by 10 regional chapters this spring, Oregon Public Broadcasting distinguished itself by picking up eight statuettes in the Northwest region, including the Emmy for overall station excellence. OPB also won in the categories of environmental program or special, informational/instructional segment, historical documentary, topical documentary, reporting, writing and video journalism.

Only one other pubTV station has been cited for overall excellence in regional contests this year: In the Lower Great Lakes region, Indianapolis’ WFYI also counted an Emmy for station excellence among its seven trophies.

Pubcasters throughout the Northwest delivered the most wins for public TV among all the regional competitions. In addition to OPB’s eight wins, Montana PBS topped four categories, winning for arts/entertainment program, cultural documentary, best audio and best photographer. Seattle’sKCTS won for environmental feature and health/science feature. Idaho Public Television won for health/science program.

Three Emmys were awarded to nonprofit TV outlets: TVW, a legislative channel distributed by cable providers, won for public affairs programming and politics/government programming; and UWTV, a cable channel programmed by the University of Washington, won for historical/cultural feature.

Southeastern regional chapter

Georgia Public Broadcasting took nine Emmys, winning in two categories of sports coverage, five categories for individual achievements in TV crafts and in categories for best interview/discussion and magazine program. Public Broadcasting Atlanta/WPBA received three Emmys: for best arts/entertainment program, best director post-production and audio post-production.Alabama Public Television won an Emmy for an interactive production, and the University of Alabama Center for Public TV & Radio won for a historical documentary.

New York chapter

WLIW in Long Island led pubcasters in this region by winning Emmys in four categories: best arts program, historical/cultural program, documentary and program host/moderator. Its sister stations, WNET in New York andNJTV, also earned recognition. WNET took Emmys for best military program, special event coverage (other than news and sports) and audio post-production; NJTV for crime reporting and public/current/community affairs program. Three additional public channels also scored Emmys: CUNY-TV, an independent university-operated station, topped three categories, including best magazine program, historical/cultural feature and musical composition/arrangement; the Brooklyn Public Network won for arts feature; and NYC Media won for informational/instructional program.

New England chapter

Among five pubcasters recognized in this region, Connecticut Public Television and WGBH topped the list with two wins apiece. CPT won for health/science special and audio while WGBH won for informational/instructional program and live or live-to-tape direction. Mountain Lake PBS won for best documentary, Maine Public Broadcasting for an interstitial and the nonprofit NewTV, based in Newton, Mass., for best historical/cultural program.

Lower Great Lakes chapter

In addition to its Emmy for station excellence, WFYI won in five program categories: for arts/entertainment, historical/cultural program, documentary, nostalgia program or special, and public/current/community affairs program. It also won for technical achievement for a production featuring high-altitude videography. Cleveland’s WVIZ/PBS ideastream won Emmys for health/science program and informational/instructional program. WTIU in Bloomington, Ind., won for best lifestyle program, and Ball State University’s WIPB in Muncie, Ind., won for its magazine program.

National Capital/Chesapeake Bay chapter

Maryland Public Television won six awards, including special recognition for community service and a feature highlighting Chesapeake heritage. Its Emmys came in categories for education/schools special, audio, lighting, and program host/moderator. WETA in Arlington, Va., won three Emmys: for magazine program, non-news editor and interstitial. WHUT in Washington, D.C., took an Emmy for a topical documentary while WCVE in Richmond, Va., topped the historical documentary category.

Northern California chapter

San Francisco’s KQED led pubcasters with six wins, including Emmys for arts/entertainment feature, historical/cultural program and health/science/environmental special. The station won in two craft categories and shared credit with the Center for Investigative Reporting for a co-production that topped the category for public affairs special. KRCB in Rohnert Park, Calif., took two Emmys for informational/instructional segment and interview/discussion program; KVIE in Sacramento won for best documentary; and Honolulu’s KHET won for best lifestyle program.

Nashville/Midsouth chapter

Nashville Public Television won for best historical/cultural program and best children’s program; North Carolina’s UNC-TV won best arts program; and WTCI in Chattanooga, Tenn., won in the public service spot category.


Gwen Ifill was recognized with an Al Neuharth Award for Excellence in Journalism.

Ifill, co-anchor of the PBS NewsHour and moderator and managing editor of Washington Week, was honored for career achievements in journalism during last month’s Al Neuharth Free Spirit and Journalism Conference in Washington, D.C.

Ifill has spent 15 years at PBS, written a best-selling book and covered seven presidential elections. She moderated vice-presidential debates in 2004 and 2008, and won a Peabody award in 2008.

She began her career as a print journalist, reporting for the Baltimore Evening Sun, the Washington Post _and the _New York Times before moving to broadcast news at NBC. She joined the NewsHour as senior correspondent and ascended to a co-anchor role in August 2013.

“Gwen Ifill represents the best in journalism today, working across multiple news outlets, providing credible news, insight and explanation of complex issues to her viewers and readers,” said Gene Policinski, chief operating officer of the Newseum Institute.

Previous recipients of the Neuharth Award include Ifill’s NewsHour predecessor Jim Lehrer and C-SPAN founder Brian Lamb.


KLCC’s Tripp Sommer won the Leo C. Lee Award honoring career contributions to public radio . . .  

Sommer, news director at KLCC in Eugene, Ore., since 1988, attended his first PRNDI conference in 1989. He was elected president of PRNDI a year later and held the office until 1996.

He is considered the unofficial PRNDI historian and wrote the PRNDI history page for the organization’s website.

“Tripp helped grow and strengthen PRNDI during his six years as the organization’s president,” said George Bodarky, PRNDI president and news director at WFUV in New York, in a statement announcing the award. “He is a dedicated and passionate leader and teacher.”

During his time as president, Sommer spearheaded “The PRNDI Project” that brought local reporters together to produce a nationally distributed program. He also convened a summit that produced an ethical guidebook for public radio journalists, and worked to provide journalism training in partnership with the Florida-based Poynter Institute.

. . . and Boston’s WBUR dominated this year’s PRNDI awards honoring news coverage produced by local stations. It won a total of seven trophies, more than any other station in the competition.

WBUR competed in the division for stations with large newsrooms, winning three awards for its coverage of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and for best multimedia presentation with its coverage of Whitey Bulger’s trial, among other categories.

In divisions for stations with medium- and small-sized newsrooms, Nashville Public Radio, WBGO in Newark, N.J., and North Country Public Radio in Canton, N.Y., each won three or more trophies.

Among pubradio outlets with large newsrooms, two stations took two trophies apiece: New York’s WNYC won for best soft feature with “Hip Hop Battle Crowns a ‘Science Genius’” and for best use of sound for “Into the Woods, Cell Phone, iPod and All.” Miami’s WLRN, which produces local coverage through an editorial partnership with the Miami Herald, won for spot news and best call-in program.

Additional winners in the division were: Chicago’s WBEZ, for series coverage of Chicago’s heroin problem; Vermont Public Radio, for best writing; KRCC in Colorado, for its multimedia report on living with wildfires; Northwest News Network, a journalism collaborative involving several pubradio stations in the Northwest, for a news feature on Idaho towns passing gay-rights laws; WAMU in Washington, D.C., for best news/public affairs reporting in a story about the city’s Latino community; KQED in San Francisco for enterprise/investigative reporting in a story on farmworkers facing sexual harassment; KCRW in Santa Monica, Calif., for the documentary “The Ghosts of Fire Island”; and WFPL in Louisville, Ky., for continuing coverage.

Nashville Public Radio topped the division for stations with midsized newsrooms by taking four trophies — two of which recognized nationally edited features. The station also won for a soft feature, “The Global Fame of Jim Reeves,” and for writing in “From Foodie Desert to Foodie Destination.”

North Country Public Radio won for series reporting, continuing coverage and enterprise/investigative reporting in “Compassionate Release? Dying Inmates Struggle to Get Home.”

Additional winners among midsized stations include: Boise State Public Radio/KBSX for spot news and for a multimedia presentation; Wyoming Public Radio for use of sound in “Women’s Antelope Hunt” and for news/public affairs reporting; WFDD in Winston-Salem, N.C., for best news feature and best commentary; WMUK, Kalamazoo, Mich., for best interview; WUSF in Tampa, Fla., for newscast; KALW in San Francisco for its documentary about 911 first responders “The Race to an Emergency”; WGCU in Fort Myers, Fla., for call-in program; and WILL in Urbana-Champaign, Ill., for breaking-news coverage of a tornado.

In the small-newsroom division, WGBO’s Doug Doyle won two awards for best newscast and best interview. The station’s news team also took trophies for breaking news and spot news.

Cape Cod’s WCAI took home three awards: news/public affairs reporting for a story on post-traumatic stress disorder, enterprise/investigative reporting for their story on the search for Alzheimer’s treatments and best use of sound a profile of an ice carver.

WUOT in Knoxville, Tenn., also hit a triple in PRNDI’s small-newsroom division, winning for the documentary “I’m Still Here: My HIV Life,” writing, and call-in program.

Additional winners in the division were: WYSO in Dayton, Ohio, for continuing coverage of the Affordable Care Act rollout in the region; WKNO in Memphis, Tenn., for soft feature; WIUM/WIUW in Macomb, Ill., for news feature; Youth Radio, an Oakland-based nonprofit production company, for the commentary “There Are No Children in Oakland”; and WFUV in New York for its series on health disparities in New York.

WFUV, which provides journalism training to students at Fordham University, also took two of the four awards presented for student-produced coverage. Its winning entries were a spot-news story, “Falling Tree Kills New Yorker,” and a newscast. Student coverage from WKMS at Murray State University in Murray, Ky., took the trophy for best hard feature; WLRN won for best soft feature.


Pubcasters honored for TV and radio coverage of the food industry.

Three PBS series received James Beard Awards.

Eating Alabama, produced by Andrew Beck Grace and Bartley Powers, topped the special/documentary category. Martha Stewart’s Cooking School, hosted by Martha Stewart and produced by Stewart, Greta Anthony, Christina Deyo, Michael Morrison, Olivia Schneider, Calia Van Dyk and Lisa Wagner, was named best studio-based TV show, while The Mind of a Chef took top honors for best location TV show. The production team includes Anthony Bourdain, executive producer and narrator, and Jared Andrukanis, Joe Caterini, Chris Collins, Michael Steed and Lydia Tenaglia.

Monica Rogozinski of Philadelphia’s WHYY-TV won for best TV segment with “Art of Food,” which highlighted Philadelphia’s local food scene.

The Beard Award for radio went to This American Life. Ben Calhoun produced the winning program with Fred Armisen and Ira Glass as co-hosts.

The James Beard Awards, which recognize achievements in all aspects of the industry — from chefs and restaurateurs to cookbook authors and food journalists — were presented in May at New York’s Lincoln Center.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *