Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy! and nationally syndicated radio personality Elvis Duran all were inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters’ Broadcasting Hall of Fame on Monday night in Las Vegas.
On hand to accept the awards were Duran as well as Wheel and Jeopardy! executive producer Harry Friedman, Wheel hosts Pat Sajak and Vanna White and Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek.
“I’m doing what I love. I’m doing the only thing I know how to do,” Duran said, who hosts Elvis Duran and the Morning Show on Z100 in New York City, which is distributed around the country by Premiere Radio Networks.
“What we do is all about connecting with people. You, me, we are needed more than ever. Never take for granted what you do. What you do is extremely important,” he said to the room of broadcasters.
“The late Roger King, NAB Hall of Fame inductee, put us on the map and set a new standard for syndication sales,” said Friedman. “That continues today with our friends at CBS Television Distribution and we want to thank them. The more than 200 stations that carry our shows are invaluable partners who make an important contribution to our success and we want to thank them as well.”
Both Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! are produced by Sony Pictures Television and distributed by CBS Television Distribution. Wheel of Fortune is in its 35 year in broadcast syndication, while Jeopardy! is in its 34th season. Combined, the two shows have produced nearly 15,000 episodes.
Both shows brought along their longtime announcers – Jim Thornton and Johnny Gilbert -- to introduce Wheel’s Pat Sajak and Vanna White and Jeopardy!’s Alex Sajak.
“There’s not a lot great about getting older, but one of the good things is you do gain an appreciation of things maybe you hadn’t thought about before,” said Sajak. “We hear every day from people who grew up playing Wheel of Fortune with their grandparents. The one half-hour a day when people get together and play games. It really has become an important part of people’s lives. Harry never forgets, none of us ever forget, what it has become. We take our commitment to all of you very seriously.
“This has been my job my whole life,” said White. “It is quite an honor to be receiving this award.”
“This honor is really the icing on the cake – the cake being my broadcasting career, which has extended for 56 years. With humility, I want to thank the National Association of Broadcasters. It’s strange but every time in my adult life when I have done things that have required filing out forms, they always ask for my occupation and my response always has been broadcaster. Maybe it’s because I began as a staff announcer with the radio broadcast association in 1961. There’s a level of intelligence, dignity, civility that applies to the term broadcaster.”
In addition, Roger Keating, chief strategy and business development officer for Hearst Television, was given the digital leadership award.
The ceremony was hosted by Entertainment Tonight co-anchor Kevin Fraser.