William Shatner hasn’t had a show on A+E Networks’ air in nearly seven years. But the friendship Shatner struck doing the Bio Channel interview series “Shatner’s Raw Nerve” with A+E Networks’ executive Rob Sharenow has endured over many duck entrees at Genghis Cohen restaurant in Los Angeles.
Of all the nice things said about Sharenow from the stage of the Edison Theatre Thursday night as he was feted by the UJA-Federation of New York, the reveal of his bond with the prototypical “Star Trek” captain may have been the most surprising.
“Rob Sharenow is first among equals when it comes to Chinese duck,” Shatner joked. Shatner emceed the presentation of the UJA-Federation’s Broadcast, Cable & Film Division Award to the 19-year A+E Networks’ programming executive.
Sharenow was hailed for championing such uplifting fare as “Born This Way,” the docu-series about young adults with Down syndrome, and “Intervention.”
Dan Abrams, host of A&E’s “Live PD,” praised Sharenow as an executive committed to “using the power of television to do more than just inspire and inform.”
Sharenow confessed that he’s “not the most observant Jew” but believed in the tenet of the faith that “Jews have an obligation to heal the world.”
Sharenow said the UJA kudo was particularly meaningful because his grandfather was honored by the Jewish service organization some 45 years ago. He pulled out the “family heirloom” award plaque to prove it.
Sharenow also gave a nod to his mother, who made it to the dinner despite having suffered a stroke a few months ago. Her determination buoyed his spirits after the scare of rushing her to the hospital. “She was in rough shape in the hospital, but she said to me in a weak voice as I leaned over to her ‘I think I’ll still be able to make the UJA event,’ ” he recalled.