CBS News Wins 10 News and Documentary Emmys

MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show" is honored for discussion and analysis, while CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360" nabs two awards for coverage of the earthquake in Haiti.
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Rachel Maddow, left, and Anderson Cooper

NEW YORK -- CBS News walked off with 10 Emmys at the 32nd Annual News and Documentary Emmy Awards Monday night in New York, the most of any network.

The CBS Evening News With Katie Couric won awards including Emmys for continuing coverage (for correspondent Terry McCarthy’s “Afghan Bomb Squad”) and investigative journalism (for correspondent Armen Keteyian’s report about the hidden dangers of photocopiers). Couric did not attend the ceremony. But Scott Pelley, who took over as anchor of the CBS Evening News in June, took the podium to accept multiple Emmys for 60 Minutes, including reports on the BP oil spill and the high percentage of NFL players who hail from the tiny island nation of Samoa.

Pelley thanked his producers at CBS News and noted that “one of the terrible things about being a television news reporter is you receive far too much credit for the work of others.”

60 Minutes also won the Emmy for outstanding interview for Lara Logan’s piece on Staff Sgt. Salvatore Augustine Giunta, who last year became the first Medal of Honor winner since the Vietnam War.

Presenters included ABC News’ Brain Ross, MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell, CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta and PBS’ Gwen Ifill, who acknowledged the quickly changing new-media landscape that has upended the role of TV news.

“Audiences increasingly get the news from everyone but us,” said Ifill, citing the web and social media including Twitter. “All of that is fine, but news still needs a curator.”

Cable networks have become increasingly competitive at the National Academy’s signature news and documentary awards. And National Geographic Channel earned the second-most Emmys with seven, including multiple awards for Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger’s Restrepo: Afghan Outpost. Hetherington was killed last April in Libya. And Junger accepted the award for long-form coverage of a news story accompanied by Hetherington’s mother Judith.

His death, said Junger, has left “a gaping absence. He devoted his life to chronicling the human cost of war.”

PBS earned six Emmys with four going to POV documentaries and one to documentary series Independent Lens. But the public broadcaster’s flagship newsmagazine Frontline, traditionally the recipient of numerous and significant Emmy awards, received only one -- for its promotional campaign. It was a "consolation" prize, noted longtime executive producer David Fanning

And ABC News was shut out entirely. 

Discovery Channel took home three Emmys, including multiple awards for First Life With David Attenborough.

Anderson Cooper 360 earned both of CNN’s Emmys and both were for reports from earthquake ravaged Haiti, a story the network spent much time and resources to cover. Accepting the Emmy for coverage of a breaking news story for “Haiti in Ruins,” correspondent Gary Tuchman thanked his “bosses who got us out the door within minutes [of the earthquake] and said, ‘Spend whatever you have to spend.’”

Cooper was unable to attend because he was on the air. Rachel Maddow was also a no-show because she was hosting her MSNBC show, which earned the the Emmy for discussion and analysis for “Good Morning, Landlocked Central Asia,” which was reported by Maddow and NBC News chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel. NBC News earned two Emmys for Nightly News and Dateline.

Larry King was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Introducing King, Brian Williams asked the audience to “consider these three numbers: 25, 40 and 50,000” for King's years as host of CNN's Larry King Live, years in broadcasting and number of interviews conducted.

“And that’s all I have,” quipped Williams. “I came unprepared as an homage, a word I will explain to Larry King later.”

After the laughs subsided, Williams explained that King’s talent as an interviewer was that he approached his guests with a fresh eye and without preconceived opinions.

“He was a guy from Brooklyn who loved to talk to people and loved to tell a story,” said Williams. “You wouldn't dream of making news and not following it up with a visit to his table.”

A video tribute featured a slew of famous faces who made the pilgrimage to Larry King Live (Elizabeth Taylor, Bill Clinton, Vladimir Putin, Al Gore and Ross Perot, the parents of JonBenet Ramsay and Marlon Brando famously kissing King on the mouth). King took the stage dressed in a black suit and shrugged off his jacket to reveal is signature suspenders.

“I was lucky enough to be in a business where I really didn’t have to work,” said an emotional King. “It was unbelievable to go in every night and meet people and ask them questions. It was a privilege, a privilege.”

King thanked his producers, his brother, his children, his step-children, his in-laws, his “cousin from Brooklyn,” Williams and Dan Rather, his “two favorite people.”

“Anybody else? Who am I forgetting? Oh yeah, the wife,” laughed King, exhorting Shawn Southwick, his seventh wife, to stand.

Said King: “Behind every man is a woman shoving him aside to get the attention.”