New York, N. Y. – October 5, 2006 – Dick Ebersol, Chairman of NBC Universal Sports & Olympics, will be honored by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences with its prestigious Trustees Award during a black tie ceremony at the Harvard Club on Friday, October 20. Also that evening, three veteran industry leaders will be inducted into the National Television Academy’s Management Hall of Fame. The inductees are John W. Kluge, Principal General Partner, Chairman and President, Metromedia;
G. William “Bill” Ryan, Past Chairman, Post-Newsweek Stations, and Peter Storer, Past Chairman and CEO, Storer Communications.
Leading media, sports and entertainment executives from across the United States are expected to attend the ceremony, where Mr. Ebersol will be honored for excellence in leadership, both in the television business and in the community which serves the industry. The new inductees join other leaders previously named to the Hall of Fame, including CBS founder William Paley, CBS Newsman Walter Cronkite, and President John F. Kennedy.
“Dick Ebersol has distinguished himself in many facets of the television industry from sports to entertainment to news,” says Peter Price, President/CEO of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. “His combination of creative vision with business savvy, his commitment to excellence and integrity, and his passion make him highly deserving of this recognition by the Board of Trustees of the National Television Academy.”
In announcing the Academy’s Management Hall of Fame inductees, Mr. Price said, “John Kluge, Bill Ryan and Peter Storer are pioneers of the television industry, whose vision and extraordinary management skills had significant impact on the growth of the industry over decades.”
In more than three decades in television, beginning in 1967, when he joined Roone Arledge and ABC Sports as television’s first-ever Olympic researcher, Dick Ebersol has continually forged new paths. The most recent chapter in Ebersol’s storied career was serving as executive producer of NBC’s coverage of the 2006 Torino Winter Olympics, as he has for every Olympics since the 1992 Barcelona Games. Ebersol will also serve as executive producer for “NBC Sunday Night Football,” the premier primetime game of the week.
Under Ebersol’s leadership, NBC Sports won nine Emmy®s for its Athens Olympic coverage, the most watched non-U.S. Summer Olympics in television history, which earned Ebersol praise as the architect of a critically acclaimed and financially successful model that once again changed the way the Olympics are televised. The Athens Games followed NBC’s critically acclaimed coverage of the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Games, which were also a runaway ratings hit, honored with 11 Sports Emmy® Awards – a record for any Olympics – along with six more primetime Emmy®s for coverage of the Opening Ceremony.
In 1974, after six years at ABC Sports – including stints as Arledge’s executive assistant and as a producer on “Wide World of Sports” and at the 1972 Munich Summer Olympics – Ebersol joined NBC as Director of Weekend Late Night Programming. In 1975, Ebersol hired independent producer Lorne Michaels and together they conceived and developed “Saturday Night Live,” the groundbreaking comedy showcase. Named Vice President, Late Night Programming at age 28, Ebersol became NBC’s first ever vice president under the age of 30. In 1977, Ebersol was named NBC’s Vice President of Comedy, Variety & Event Programming. He returned to “SNL” in 1981-1985 as executive producer during the Eddie Murphy and Billy Crystal eras. In 1983, Ebersol formed No Sleep Productions, a highly successful independent production company, and created NBC’s “Friday Night Videos,” the Emmy® Award-winning “Later with Bob Costas,” and together with Vince McMahon, “Saturday Night’s Main Event.” When Ebersol left “SNL” in 1985, he devoted his energies to his production company.
Ebersol returned to NBC on May 1, 1989 as president of NBC Sports and also held the title of Senior Vice President, NBC News, from 1989-91. In June 1998, Ebersol was appointed Chairman, NBC Sports & Olympics. In addition to running NBC Sports, Ebersol oversees every aspect of NBC’s involvement with the Olympic Games, which in June 2003 was extended to include the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games and the 2012 Olympics in London. In May of 2004, NBC Universal was formed through the merger of NBC and Vivendi Universal Entertainment and Ebersol has overseen the seamless merger of NBC Universal’s sports properties through the combined assets of USA Network and NBC Sports. Mr. Kluge is the principal general partner, chairman and president of Metromedia Company – a privately held conglomerate in the United States. It has businesses in the telecommunications industry, information technology, robotic painting, medical and research technology and in the restaurant industry.
During his forty-seven year tenure at Metromedia, John Kluge has charted and managed the purchase, development and sale of substantial and wide ranging assets from his television and radio broadcasting interests to outdoor advertising, paging, cellular telephone and entertainment businesses. In 1959, Kluge became president and chairman of the board of Metropolitan Broadcasting Corporation which, at that time, owned two independent television stations and four radio stations. Under his stewardship Metropolitan Broadcasting was transformed into a media empire that owned the largest independent television network in the United States. The company was renamed Metromedia, Inc. in 1960 in order to reflect a growing corporate emphasis on businesses in media other than television.
Concurrent with the growth of Metromedia’s television business, Kluge acquired radio stations. By 1984 Metromedia owned and operated seven AM and six FM stations and the Texas State Networks. .
Kluge’s diverse business interests over the past 50 years have included a number of entertainment and advertising concerns: the Ice Capades, and the Harlem Globetrotters; music publishing companies, and rights to “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Zorba the Greek” and “Cabaret;” television production companies and syndications, including the syndication of the Merv Griffin Show; Playbill magazine; and a number of transit advertising and direct mail advertising businesses.
A 30-year veteran of Post-Newsweek Stations, Bill Ryan served as the company’s Chairman from 2000-2002. Previously he had been President and CEO of Post-Newsweek Stations since 1988. Before being elected President and CEO of PNS, Ryan served as President and General Manager of the Post-Newsweek Stations in Miami, Florida and Hartford, Connecticut.
Prior to joining Post-Newsweek Stations in 1974, Ryan served three years as Vice President and General Manager of WKBS-TV in Philadelphia, a Kaiser Broadcasting Station. Ryan has also held several positions in sales and sales management at Kaiser Broadcasting and Group W prior to his Post-Newsweek career.
Ryan has been an innovator of local station television programming. At WPLG-TV Miami, Ryan initiated a campaign called “A World of Difference.” This year-long and highly successful effort was dedicated to fighting prejudice and won the station numerous awards including an Emmy® Award for Public & Community Service from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.
During his tenure at PNS, he pioneered the consecutive half-hour newscast format 5:00-7:00 PM, a format that put WPLG-TV Miami in number one position for 25 years and a model eventually followed by stations around the country. Also PNS was among the first station groups to offer free time to political candidates. Ryan, who mandated that all Post -Newseek stations do local editorials, received a national Emmy® Award for the stations’ editorials.
Under his leadership, Post-Newsweek’s Stations established a reputation for the expansion and innovation of local news programming in Philadelphia, Miami, and Hartford. In the early 70’s, his Philadelphia station received national attention for news programming devoted to children. In 1986, United Press International picked WPLG-TV Miami as having the best local newscast in America. And in Hartford, Ryan introduced Southern New England to the popular local PM Magazine program while expanding news programming in all dayparts. While also at WFSB-TV Hartford, his station coordinated a forum on inflation that brought together members of the general public, federal, state, and local leaders as well as members of the Carter Administration.
Ryan’s commitment to improving intergroup harmony and encouraging the growth of minorities in the broadcasting industry has been evident wherever he has worked. Ryan himself was the recipient of the prestigious Ruben O.D. Askew Award dedicated to Equal Employment Opportunities for Black Floridians. The Award was presented by the Urban League of Greater Miami in 1987. In 1988, he was presented with the Leonard L. Abess Human Relations Award by the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai Brith. And in 1976, he was presented with the American Women in Radio and Television Society’s award for fostering and encouraging female participation in the media. In Philadelphia, Ryan was Chairman of the Broadcast Skills Bank of the Philadelphia Urban League and received numerous awards including one in 1972 from the Fellowship Commission.
A veteran of more than three decades in the broadcasting industry, Peter Storer served as Chief Executive Officer, Storer Communications, from 1973-1986, adding the responsibilities of Chairman from 1976-1986. He is currently Chairman of the Storer Foundation, a position he assumed in 1976.
Storer Communications was founded in 1927 as Storer Broadcasting by Peter’s father, George Storer, when he purchased the Toledo radio station WSPD-AM. In the 1950’s as television was taking off, George Storer started WSPD-TV Toledo and purchased several television stations in other markets. By 1961, Storer Broadcasting was the nation’s sixth largest television broadcaster, exceeded only by the three broadcast networks and two other station groups.
The young Peter Storer started his television career at Storer’s WJBK-TV Detroit in 1951 as an administrative assistant. Four years later, he moved to CBS Radio New York as a Radio Sales Representative. In 1956, he was named National Sales Manager, WAGA-TV Atlanta and WBRC-TV Birmingham, Alabama, both owned by Storer. A year later, he moved to Storer’s WJW-TV, Cleveland as General Sales Manager, and the next year he took the helm of the original Storer station, WSPD-TV, Toledo, as its General Manager. In 1961, he returned to New York as President, Storer Television Sales, which he headed until 1967. That year he was named Executive Vice President, Storer Broadcasting, a position he held for five years, until assuming the Chief Executive Officer and then Chairman positions.
Under Peter Storer’s leadership, the company expanded into cable television in the 1970’s, acquiring franchises and building cable systems. By 1984, Storer had shed all its radio stations and owned and operated seven television stations and held franchises to provide cable television services to over 500 communities in 18 states. Storer was ranked the fourth largest MSO at the time.
The National Television Academy is a professional service organization dedicated to the advancement of the arts and sciences of television and the promotion of creative leadership for artistic, educational and technical achievements within the television industry. It recognizes excellence in television with the coveted Emmy® AwardforNews & Documentary, Sports,Daytime, Creative Arts, Public & Community Service, Technology & Engineering/Advanced Media and Business & Financial Reporting. Excellence in Primetime programming and international programming is recognized by its affiliate, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Regional Emmy®s are given in 19 regions across the United States. Beyond awards, the National Television Academy has extensive educational programs including National Student Television and its Student Award for Excellence for outstanding journalistic work by high school students, as well as scholarships, publications, and major activities for both industry professionals and the viewing public. For more information, please visit the website at TheEmmys.tv.