Showrunner Mara Brock Akil, former NBC Entertainment and Showtime chief Bob Greenblatt, actors Henry Winkler, Rita Moreno and Betty White and comedian-entrepreneur Byron Allen have been selected as the recipients of the 16th annual Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Awards.
The group of six will be feted at the ceremony set for Jan. 23 as part of the annual NATPE conference in Miami. The Tartikoff kudos, named for the legendary NBC programming chief, aim to recognize executives and creatives who have made a significant contribution to the TV industry.
Here are biographies of each of the honorees:
Byron Allen – Allen is the founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of the global media and technology company Entertainment Studios. He owns eight television networks, including The Weather Channel, which was acquired in March 2018. The company also produces, distributes, and sells advertising for 41 television programs, making it one of the largest independent producers/distributors of first-run syndicated television programming for broadcast television stations. With a library of over 5,000 hours of owned content across multiple genres, Entertainment Studios provides video content to broadcast television stations, cable television networks, mobile devices, multimedia platforms, and the World Wide Web. Other notable divisions of Entertainment Studios include Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures, which released 2017’s highest-grossing independent movie, the shark thriller “47 Meters Down,” and TheGrio, a digital video-centric news community platform devoted to African Americans with compelling stories and perspectives currently underrepresented in existing national news outlets. Full bio here. http://entertainmentstudios.com/founder/
Mara Brock Akil is a writer and producer of over 300 episodes of television who started her career producing and writing for classic shows like “The Jamie Foxx Show” and “Moesha.” Brock Akil later went on to create the seminal television series “Girlfriends,” its spin-off “The Game” and BET’s hit series “Being Mary Jane.” Most recently, Brock Akil produces “Black Lightning” for The CW and created “Love Is” for OWN. She has been honored by Essence magazine with their Visionary Award and has been named to Variety‘s producers impact report multiple times. Full bio here.
Robert Greenblatt – One of the most influential television executives of the decade, Greenblatt was most recently the Chairman of NBC Entertainment. Since coming on board in 2011, Greenblatt returned the then-failing network to #1 in the 18-49 demo where it remained for five consecutive seasons. In his final season as chairman, Greenblatt led the network to a total viewer win for the first time in more than a decade. A Golden Globe and Tony Award-winning producer, Greenblatt also ran Showtime and was a top executive at Fox, shepherding ground-breaking content that has changed the television landscape. Full bio here.
Rita Moreno – Moreno has won all four of the most prestigious awards in show business: the Oscar, the Tony, two Emmys and a Grammy. She has also received the Kennedy Center Honor for her lifetime contributions to American Culture and was honored as the 50th recipient of the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award. Her countless credits span more than six decades, beginning with her Broadway debut at age 13. Moreno has starred on Broadway; London’s West End; appeared in more than 40 feature films, and countless television shows. Rita currently stars in the Latino remake of Norman Lear’s classic sitcom, “One Day at a Time” on Netflix. Full bio here.
Betty White – Even at the age of 96, it won’t slow down comedy legend White, one of the funniest and busiest actresses in Hollywood. With a career that has spanned more than 70 years, the seven-time Emmy Award winner has created unforgettable roles in television and film, authored eight books and won numerous awards, including those for her lifelong work for animal welfare. Most recently, she won a People’s Choice Award for “Favorite TV Icon,” was named America’s Most Appealing Celebrity by Reuters and has been added to the Guinness World Records under the title, “Longest TV Career for an Entertainer (Female).” Full bio here.
Henry Winkler – Winkler co-stars as acting teacher Gene Cousineau on the hit HBO dark comedy, “Barry.” This past September, he was the recipient of the Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy for his role on the series which stars Emmy-award winning actor, Bill Hader. Winkler has enjoyed over four decades of success in Hollywood and continues to be in demand as an actor, producer and director. Full bio here.
(Pictured: Mara Brock Akil)