Thirteen individuals who have earned distinction in the television, radio and cable industries and arts will be inducted into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame on Monday, Nov. 13 during the 10th annual dinner and ceremony, hosted by Sam Donaldson of ABC News at New York Marriott Marquis. They bring to 200 the number of honorees named to the Hall of Fame since its inception in 1991 on the 60th anniversary of Broadcasting magazine.
For reservations call Steve Labunski at 212-337-7158. A portion of the proceeds go to the International Radio & Television Foundation and to the Broadcasters' Foundation.
Cable pioneer William J. Bresnan, now president of Bresnan Communications, built his first system in Rochester, Minn., when he was 25. After that company was purchased by Jack Kent Cooke, he segued to Teleprompter Corp., becoming president of its cable division. Westinghouse Electric purchased Teleprompter in 1981, and Bresnan became chairman and chief executive of Group W Cable Inc.
He has been a board member of the National Cable Television Association for 30 years and a member of its executive committee for 15.
The late Gabriel Heatter, who died in 1972, was one of early radio's most distinctive columnists. A newspaperman who had worked for the Brooklyn Times and The New York Evening Journal, he was hired by WOR(AM) New York after a chance appearance on WMCA(AM) there. He gained national fame for coverage of the Bruno Hauptmann-Lindbergh kidnapping and murder trial.
His catchphrase during World War II was "Ah, there's good news tonight." It became his trademark and came to mark his reporting style, which always looked for silver linings.
The late Martin F. Malarkey was the first president of and chief spokesman for what is now the National Cable Television Association, and was instrumental in helping build cable from a mom-and-pop beginning into the national force it is today.
His roots, and the industry's, track back to rural Pennsylvania, whose mountainous terrain caused the poor TV reception that was cable's road to fame. Malarkey's father's music store had difficulty selling TV sets because of the poor reception, and the son ended up starting his own CATV system in Pottsville.
He was a primary force during the land rush of cable franchising in the '60s and '70s, working as an expert consultant to both industry and cities.
Sheila Nevins has revolutionized original programming for HBO, where she is executive vice president overseeing all documentaries and family programming. She joined the company in 1979 as director of documentary programming, winning 35 CableAce Awards from the NCTA, as well as a Peabody. Altogether, HBO has won 36 Emmys, 13 Peabodys and nine Academy Awards during her tenure.
Charles Osgood, of course, has set his own style in contemporary radio and television. He continues to anchor and write the daily "Osgood File" commentary on the CBS Radio Network, a stint that has earned him the handle of "poet in residence" at CBS News. Now, serving as anchor of CBS News Sunday Morning, he has enlarged his constituency.
Osgood is a musician good enough to have played piano and banjo with the New York and Boston Pops orchestras. He has written five books and has won three Peabody Awards and as many Emmys.
After 36 years in front of the camera, Regis Philbin has-as they say-become an overnight success. As host of abc-tv's runaway hit, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, he has become one of America's best-known personalities, and his "Is that your final answer?" has come into everyday parlance. Millionaire is only his most recent starring role. His daytime talk show, Live With Regis & Kathie Lee, now in its 12th season in syndication, began as The Morning Show on WABC-TV in 1983. (Kathie Lee joined in 1985.)
The late Gene Rayburn-described by one of his panelists as "the world's greatest straightman"-was a master of the game show genre. He was most famous for The Match Game in various incarnations from 1962 to 1984, but his comic talents also graced Tic Tac Dough, Make the Connection, Dough Re Mi, Break the Bank and To Tell the Truth.
He was the original announcer of the Steve Allen Tonight Show and often appeared as guest host. Quite apart from TV, Rayburn had a successful career on Broadway.
Cokie Roberts occupies a position in the front rank of broadcast journalism. She is perhaps most visible as co-anchor of ABC News' Sunday morning This Week With Sam Donaldson & Cokie Roberts but also serves as the chief congressional analyst for ABC News. In addition, she is a news analyst for National Public Radio. She is the author of a bestseller, We Are Our Mother's Daughters, and more recently co-author of From This Day Forward with her husband, journalist Steve Roberts, with whom she also shares a syndicated newspaper column.
Herbert S. Schlosser's broadcast career was identified primarily with NBC and its then-parent, RCA, which he served, in toto, for 30 years. He came up the ranks through programming, including six years in Hollywood as vice president, programs-a tenure that saw the introduction of Laugh-In, Flip Wilson, Columbo and McCloud.
Schlosser became president of the TV network in 1973 and of NBC itself in 1974, introducing, among other series, Saturday Night Live and Tomorrow. He later became executive vice president of RCA, responsible for RCA Records and software operations, including home video.
Schlosser has achieved new career eminence on Wall Street as senior adviser and consultant to the global entertainment operations of Salomon Smith Barney.
The late Jean Shepherd was the inspiration for a generation of radio storytellers. For 21 years, he spun his tales over WOR(AM) New York, holding weeknight seminars, which Charles Strum described in The New York Times as "part Kabuki, part commedia dell' arte, part Uncle Remus. In his flat, nasal Indiana twang, playing all the parts and the occasional kazoo, he oozed into the darkened bedrooms of East Coast America on the battery power of cheap Japanese transistor radios."
The Shepherd talent defied commercial targeting, and he and wor eventually parted company, but he continued to advance his reputation through books, public television and the holiday classic film A Christmas Story, among other venues. He died last year, at 78.
Barry Thurston has reached legendary status in television's syndication community. Most recently, as president of Columbia TriStar Television Distribution, he was responsible for the launch of Seinfeld as the highest-grossing off-network series ever, a feat nearly equaled with Mad About You, which became the highest-rated new strip in syndication, and then by Just Shoot Me.
Among his first-run launches have been Beakman's World and Ricki Lake, now in its eighth season. After years as a broadcaster in Philadelphia, Detroit and San Francisco, Thurston joined Embassy Communications, whose ownership trail led to Columbia TriStar.
The late Vincent T. Wasilewski, for 17 years president of the National Association of Broadcasters, essentially gave his professional life to that organization and the broadcasting industry. He was hired fresh out of the University of Illinois law school (after World War II service in the China-Burma-India theater) and advanced through the ranks to become chief executive.
He was "a friend to man," and his people skills calmed the political waters within and outside the NAB. (His staff at one point included a future chairman of the FCC, Bill Kennard.) Wasilewski's friendships in Washington and among broadcasters were legendary and included this magazine's founder, Sol Taishoff, with whom he lunched almost every week.
David L. Wolper ranks as a pre-eminent television producer of the 20th century; 1999 marked his 50th career year. His films have won 50 Emmys, five Peabodys, two Oscars and seven Golden Globes. He also holds the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award and the French Legion of Honor. It is difficult to identify the works for which he is best-known, but easy to say they defy enumeration: Roots, the seminal miniseries; or Thorn Birds; or producing the opening ceremonies of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics; or serving as chairman and executive producer of Liberty Weekend, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Statue of Liberty.