CBS was the big winner at the News and Documentary Emmy Awards ceremony last night, bagging 12 statuettes — more than CNN (3), NBC (2), and ABC (1) combined. PBS was CBS’ closest competition with 9 Emmys, followed by HBO’s 6. Sunday newsmag 60 Minutes scored half of CBS’ statuettes. CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley won 3 Emmys last night, the total wins for CBS Sunday Morning is 3 and it shared an award with CBS This Morning. (An earlier academy tally had incorrectly placed one of the newscast’s wins in the CBS Sunday Morning column). CBS’ award-winning reports covered a wide range of topics, from SEAL Team 6 to congressional lobbying to Glen Campbell’s farewell tour, to the front lines of Syria’s civil war.
Discovery Channel announced this morning it will air a two-part special, NFL In Season, in which the network goes on the road with the NFL as the Pittsburgh Steelers, Minnesota Vikings, San Francisco 49ers and Jacksonville Jaguars prepare for two “critical regular season games” — in London. It will be produced by NFL Films. The two-part special will premiere Friday, October 4, and Friday, November 1. In this way the special will book-end PBS’ Frontline special about head injuries sustained by NFL players, League Of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis, which is now scheduled to debut on PBS on October 8. The Frontline project was originally scheduled to debut as a two-parter October 8 and October 15, but that was before ESPN pulled out of that documentary, calling it a “branding” issue. Anonymous sources in August told the New York Times that ESPN, which reportedly pays the NFL upwards of $1 billion a year for Monday Night Football rights, succumbed to pressure from the NFL, which the NFL denied. This morning’s announcement:
ESPN President John Skipper told a report posted today that a promotional trailer for PBS‘ Frontline documentary investigating NFL concussions was the “catalyst” for ESPN‘s pulling out of its partnership with the project. The League Of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis trailer was screened at an August 6 media panel and unveiled without Skipper’s or ESPN’s approval. Skipper complained the video was “sensational” and made him “quite unhappy”. He didn’t like the tagline, “Get ready to change the way you see the game”, or the trailer’s final quote from a neuropathologist on the extent of brain injuries in the NFL, “I’m really wondering if every single football player doesn’t have this.” Media watchers say pressure from the NFL led to ESPN’s sudden withdrawal and now Skipper admits he was embarrassed by the Frontline docu. Here’s the trailer:
TCA: Producers Say NFL Not Involved With Frontline/ESPN Docu ‘League Of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis’
Diane Haithman contributes to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
Producers of PBS’ Frontline documentary League Of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis, said today at TCA that the NFL has not cooperated in any way with the project or approved any of the film footage. The two-part series is a collaboration between Frontline and ESPN’s Outside The Lines. ESPN is providing interview footage for the project, but not actual game footage.
Filmmaker Michael Kirk said that NFL has been as resistant to revealing information as other major institutions have been to Frontline investigations, including the CIA. “They obviously don’t want to talk about it and it’s too bad, because it’s a huge, huge problem,” Kirk said. Said senior ESPN writer Steve Fainaru: “They did not cooperate. They [the NFL] are being sued by one third of the players dealing with this issue.”