News and doc kudos led by PBS with 37

It’s not clear whether the NATAS News and Documentary Emmys have ever been a part of David Letterman’s nightly monologue, but get ready.

Robert “Joe” Halderman, serving a six-month jail sentence at New York’s Rikers Island after pleading guilty on larceny charges related to a widely publicized blackmail attempt of the CBS latenight host, was nominated Thursday for an Emmy honoring outstanding continuing coverage of a news story by a newsmagazine.

Halderman was one of the producers of CBS’ “48 Hours Mystery,” recognized for its report on Amanda Knox, the American college student found guilty of murder in Italy.

PBS received the most News and Doc Emmy nominations with 37, followed by CBS (31), HBO (20), National Geographic (19) and NBC (17).

CBS’ “60 Minutes” had the most nominations of any ongoing series with 16, followed by eight to “CBS Evening News With Katie Couric.”

Overall, three nominations went to “48 Hours Mystery,” whose exec producer is Susan Zirinsky and exec editor Al Briganti.

NBC News anchor and managing editor Brian Williams had nine nominations, six for his work on “NBC Nightly News,” two for special coverage of Barack Obama and one for the funeral of Sen. Ted Kennedy. “Dateline NBC” added five noms.

HBO’s 19 documentary noms were paced by “Which Way Home” with four, while “National Geographic Explorer” led the way for NatGeo with six noms.

PBS’ “Frontline,” “Nova” and “POV” each had four nominations, while “Independent Lens” had three, including one for “Crips and Bloods: Made in America” that was produced and directed by Stacy Peralta and also had Los Angeles Clippers guard Baron Davis as a producer.

Previously, NATAS announced it would give its lifetime achievement award to documentarian Frederick Wiseman.

(Sam Thielman contributed to this report.)

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