Emmy Submissions & “The Newsroom” Screening


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.

We just concluded one of our busiest times of the year — The Emmys Call For Entries season. Thanks for all of your great submissions and good luck. Your work will be sent to one of our 19 NATAS chapters throughout the country to be judged. The Emmys ceremony will be held in early November this year (exact date still pending), and expect the nominations event about five weeks before that.

We’re also proud to have teamed with HBO to offer a free screening of the first episode of the second season of “The Newsroom.” It’ll be held July 11th at 7 p.m. at Columbia College’s Film Row Cinema, and it’s FREE. (Click here to RSVP). Thanks to the folks at Columbia for granting us use of the theatre.

My dream was to have Jeff Daniels or Aaron Sorkin host the screening, but unfortunately we couldn’t make it work out. But you’ll still have the opportunity to get the first look at the new season, three days before it premieres on HBO. And if you didn’t catch the first season, you have a few days to get caught up!

It’s an example of the special type of programming we’d like to offer through the TV Academy, events that have particular significance to our industry. By the way, Anchorman 2 is scheduled to come out later this year… I’ll end with that tease…

In the meantime, keep following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and we’ll see you around soon!


If You Think It, It Can Happen

Steven Hurn is a Production Assistant with Harpo Creative Works | OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network. He is a graduate of Columbia College Chicago where he studied Television Arts: Directing & Production.

I remember standing outside the beautiful, brand new, state of the art, State Street studio of ABC7 Chicago. As most people waited for their 15 seconds of Chicago news fame, I stood off to the side fixated on the inner-working’s of the live news set.

It was fascinating, it was exciting and it was real. I said to myself, ‘I am going to work here one day.’

Fast forward a few years later and it was official. I joined the new morning show as one of the first six interns. From an entire floor of empty offices, to a show with no name, no hosts and no set, I was able to see a show launch from the ground up. I was able to see a concept come to life.

It was an experience I am forever grateful for, fortunate to have been a part of, and one that I will never forget.
After six short months being a part of Windy City Live, my next dream soon became a reality. And it was also a goal that was prompted by an epiphany.

When I was a kid, I had the chance to visit Harpo Studios for a benefit where I volunteered to help at-risk children. As I stepped foot into the studio I knew this was exactly what I wanted to do. It was fascinating, and the energy I felt being in the space was like nothing I had ever experienced. To this day, I credit my perseverance in the field of television to that day I first visited Harpo.

And now I’ve worked at Harpo Productions for nearly two years. I’ve had the incredible opportunity to work on and produce commercials for the nationally-syndicated Dr. Oz Show and for the Oprah Winfrey Network, along with various other projects including the Rosie Show, Oprah’s Lifeclass, Super Soul Sunday, Oprah’s Next Chapter to name a few.

Expressing my interests, sharing my ideas and showing my strengths and talents, along with hard work, dedication and volunteer work have led me to where I am today.

I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and if you can think it, it truly can happen.


Cautionary Advice for Aspiring On-Air Talent

George Blaise is a multimedia producer, television personality, accomplished composer and musician. His work in television, commercial production and public service campaign writing has earned him 3 Chicago Emmys 2 national Tellys and a National Community Broadcasters Award. Blaise is also a founding member of the award winning Maat Production Association of Afrikan Centered Theatre.

Do you really want to be an on-air talent? Seems like a simple enough question.

But I do not believe that you eager faces amongst the sea of “communications” majors aspiring to such really understand what is being asked in that simple inquiry. While an individual may certainly feel as though they understand the role of on-air talent in the grand scheme of television production (be it news, fiction or otherwise) based on what they have observed from the insulated comfort of the shiny side of the screen, the fact of the matter is they are deceived by the image.

We in television are in the business of creating illusions that are intended to focus human attention just long enough to insert into their psyche a previously absent need, then re-direct that attention to awareness of a merchant that will fill that synthetic need. We then profit from monetizing the number of humans we propose to re-direct based on a complex system of arbitrary metrics. On-air talent is the bait in this fishing expedition for eyeballs. You are not the brains. You are not the muscle. You are not the technician or the photographer or the editor. As on-air talent, your responsibility in the television endeavor is to simply be as watchable as possible to as many people as possible for as long as possible.

There are certainly exceptions to every rule but, for the most part, aspiring to be on-air is a public act of sheer vanity. You want to be on-air because you want people to look at you. You have a deep seeded desire to be seen. You are an unashamed narcissist. You crave attention; from friends, family and total strangers equally. And most of all, something inside tells you that you deserve the admiration of all those you encounter. This assessment may sound like criticism but it really is not. It is a warning as much as it is a test of your will to survive your career choice because as an on-air talent, you will at some point be confronted with the reality that you are perishable as ripened fruit.

Producers, writers, journalists, etc. can perpetually improve their knowledge and skill-set and adapt to the ways in which time alters and evolves the industry. Time is not so kind to talking heads. The public is not so forgiving of issues related to declining physical beauty. There will always be somebody more handsome, younger, fresher and more vibrant than you. This reality can be devastating for those that are simply unprepared or unaware of cold truth.

So ask yourself again and be really honest this time. Do you really want to be an on-air talent? If you still do, always remember that you may someday have to face a tragic, ego shattering slap in the face.

Unless, of course, you are an unashamed narcissist.