Welcome To Our New Home

Marcus RileyMarcus Riley is in his first term as president of the TV Academy, but during the day he’s a Content Producer at NBC Chicago specializing in New Media content. He’s a 7-time Emmy winner, a member of the NATAS national Board of Trustees and a graduate of West Virginia University’s Perley Isaac School of Journalism.

Things sure are looking a lot cleaner around here. Can you smell the new-ness? Welcome to our new web site and our new blog. Our digital makeover has been a long time in the works, and it’s gratifying to actually see it come to fruition. Our Channel Zero blog you’re reading right now is an opportunity to hear from a variety of voices amongst our membership, along with providing an information resource for students and young journalists looking for that next gig. If you’d like to be a guest blogger, please email your pitch to chicagoemmy@gmail.com.

We’re in the midst of one of our busiest times of the year. Last Friday, we were proud to induct seven new members into the Silver Circle. It was an extremely poignant and heartfelt evening, and we’ll be posting video clips from the ceremony in the next few days.

2013 Silver Circle honorees.

A special thanks goes out to our friends at CLTV, who will broadcast the ceremony on May 25 at 6 p.m. and May 26 at 2 p.m. Check out the bios and photos on our Silver Circle page, and congratulations to the new inductees and the high school scholarship winners who were also recognized.

I’m sure you also aware that we’re in the midst of the Emmy Call For Entries period. The entry system is completely online again this year, so the process is simple. You have until June 14 to get your submission in so don’t leave it until the last minute, although we all know most of us will. Good luck!

I’ll end with a tease. Look out for an exclusive Chicago screening of HBO’s “The Newsroom” before the second season premiere this summer. More to come on that later. In the meantime, keep following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and we’ll see you around soon!

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Remembering Roger Ebert

Thea Flaum is the producer and creator of the movie-review show with Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel that ran for 35 years. She is a long time member of the Board of Governors, currently an Emeritus Trustee, and the former national vice-president of NATAS.

On a warm summer day in 1975, I met Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel at a North Side restaurant for lunch. Roger picked the restaurant because it was close to his house. When he heard this, Gene insisted on picking the restaurant the next time we met. And thus the sparring began — and was to continue non-stop for the next 23 years.

Of course, none of us knew it then.

I was a TV producer on an interesting mission — to create a new series about the movies. Roger loved the idea right away. It was clear to him that television was a perfect way to tell people about the movies because the film clips would show viewers what he was talking about.

2006 Silver Circle

Thea and Roger Ebert at his 2006 induction in the Chicago Silver Circle.

And as any one would have told you back then, it was highly unlikely that two guys from Chicago — Chicago! — were going to become nationally known film critics on PBS. But Roger, Gene and I believed. In fact, shortly after we began, I promised them that one day our show would be the highest rated series on PBS. And, after a few years, it was.

Along the way, Roger and I piled up a lot of memories. He used to arrive at my house on Sunday evenings, teleprompter copy in hand, so we could work on it together. We would sit at my dining room table, while he mastered how to write for TV, and only once during all my editing, did he grumble, “You know, Thea, I do have a Pulitzer Prize.”

As time went on, Roger got famous. He once called to tell me that he’d been recognized from TV by a woman at the airport in Albuquerque, New Mexico, but that she’d called out “Which one are you?” His great friend Bill Nack tells a story about walking into a busy, crowded, loud restaurant and the whole place suddenly going silent when Roger was
spotted.

“Pay no attention,” he said. “It’s just TV.”

Nothing changed Roger — until Chaz. She was his soulmate. She brought him joy, a family and made his life “whole.” When Roger got sick, it was Chaz who brought him through, and helped him focus on new books, new TV shows, Twitter, his website, his blog — things that did not require that he speak, only that he think, and write. He called Chaz his “guardian angel.”

Roger had always been a great guy; Chaz enabled him to become a great man.

I was at the hospital with Roger and Chaz the Monday before Roger died. Josh Golden came in to show Roger the final version of his new website, RogerEbert.com.

Roger looked it over, then wrote on the small pad he used to communicate. “Looks great. Even better than I hoped.” Then, gracious and eloquent to the end, he added: “Thank you. You have made me immortal.”

I certainly hope so.

View more videos at: http://nbcchicago.com.

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