Gracies honor TV women

But Oprah somehow omitted

On Tuesday, the women in the Beverly Hilton ballroom had one purpose in common: to honor each other for their work in TV and radio.

It was the 36th annual Gracie Awards, presented by the Alliance for Women in Media. Host (and trophy winner) Patricia Heaton explained that the statuettes are handed out to “recognize the very best in news and entertainment by women, for women.”

Which made it a bit ironic that Chelsea Handler and Joan Lunden each took home a talkshow prize but there was nary a mention of Oprah Winfrey, the most powerful woman in the media, whose long-running show ended the following day. Handler joked, “Men, your time is over,” then quickly snuck out, clinging to her latest, hotelier Andre Balazs.

NBC’s Anne Thompson and Meredith Vieira, both honorees, wore virtually identical gowns. Vieira protested her anchor nod. “I feel weird accepting this because I am leaving,” she said, mentioning everyone involved in the “Today” show except for Ann Curry, who replaces her.

Odd, too, were Kim Delaney’s rather scattered presentations to MSNBC’s Rebekah Dryden and CNN’s Amber Lyon, which got the whole room buzzing.

Linda Ellerbee received the Tribute Award and took the opportunity to plug her daughter Vanessa Veselka’s new book.

The Gracies even honored men, like Tim Daly and Ben Houser, after “basking in the estrogen in this room,” Heaton joked.

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