Jake Tapper on the Magic of CNN Films’ Amy Entelis

For Variety’s latest issue, we asked Jake Tapper to write a tribute to Amy Entelis, one of 50 people to make our New Power of New York list. For the full list, click here.

What’s especially amazing about Amy Entelis’ achievements at CNN is that this is her second act — and one that surprised a lot of people. I first met Amy when she was a talent executive at ABC News, where for more than two decades she hired correspondents and anchors who went on to become household names, including a number of women and other journalists who reflect the diversity of this world.

She is proud of us, having brought us in and coached us and served as our friend and mentor. It’s more than pride, really. In Yiddish the word is “kvell” — almost a bursting with joy for the success of someone you love. Her greatest joy was seeing us succeed.

Now we have a lot to kvell about as she’s brought an entire new dimension of programming to CNN. We are now not only a network for daily journalism and breaking news coverage but also a place for award-after-award-winning long-form series and documentaries, in a way that makes CNN unique.

Her journey into CNN Original Series began with “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown,” which established the standard for premium storytelling on CNN. What followed were such groundbreaking series as “American Dynasties: The Kennedys,” “The Radical Story of Patty Hearst,” “Race for the White House,” “Pope: The Most Powerful Man in History” and the “decades” miniseries, which brought to life the vibrant history of pop culture from the 1960s through the 2000s. Amy also brought exceptional talent to CNN, including W. Kamau Bell, Lisa Ling and Van Jones, producing provocative new series for CNN primetime.

CNN Films began six years ago with the bold acquisition of “Blackfish,” seen by nearly 30 million people. This year, Amy and her team produced three award-winning CNN Films that were record-breaking theatrical successes: “Three Identical Strangers,” “Apollo 11” and “RBG,” which brought CNN its very first Oscar nomination. Amy has grown CNN Films into a brand recognized for quality across the industry, with more than 45 feature-length documentaries to date.

It’s certain we will all be kvelling about Amy even more. Her second act is a tough one to follow.

Jake Tapper is the anchor of “The Lead” and “State of the Union” on CNN.

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