Wednesday, August 12th, 2009


A groundbreaking documentary that reflects history as it happened
on Sept. 11, 2001…

For Your Emmy® Consideration: Outstanding Nonfiction Special

From the first plane that hit the World Trade Center to the collapse of the second tower,
this special weaves together footage and sound taken by over 100 eyewitnesses, presented with no narration and no commercial interruption. Preserved for this generation, and for the future.


Cynopsis presents: The Primetime Emmy® Awards 2009
In the categories of Reality and Non-Fiction


Good morning. It’s Wednesday, August 12, 2009, and this is the second in a special five-part series on this year’s Primetime Emmy® Awards.  Each weekly installment will concentrate on one or two award categories with information about each of the nominees as provided by the nominee and/or the nominee’s representatives.  Each installment will also open with an editorial about the category, as written for Cynopsis by P.J. Bednarski.  As always with any special edition, we hope you find the information relevant, interesting and informative, and encourage your feedback.

by P.J. Bednarski

If you want to bet which reality competition series will win this year’s Emmy® Award in the category, you’d be smart to pick The Amazing Race. The CBS series hasn’t lost since the category was created in 2003.

No category of television has exploded in popularity like reality TV but the Emmy®-nominated series have been around for awhile. This year’s list of nominees is exactly the same as last year’s, and the year before that.

Also, for the last three years, CBS’s Survivor hasn’t been on that list. In fact, it’s also never won as the top reality series, though it’s the modern father of the genre. (It did win for outstanding nonfiction program in 2001, before Emmy® had a reality category. And Survivor mainstay Jeff Probst won the first-ever Emmy® as outstanding host of a reality series, a category new to the Emmys® last year. He’s nominated again this time.) Survivor has picked up 42 nominations over the years, more than any other reality competition series.

Similarly, American Idol, the Fox series that has riveted millions of viewers, incubated singing superstars, tied up phone lines across the country and has been unbeatable in ratings, also has never won the top prize.  

In the other reality category, six wildly disparate series, ranging from PBS’s Antiques Roadshow to National Geographic’s Dog Whisperer to A&E’s Intervention compete for the Emmy® statue. Last year, voters chose Bravo’s Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D List, which is nominated again. But Discovery’s Dirty Jobs and MythBusters are also in the hunt. The winner, it would seem, depends whether voters are junk collectors, have bad dogs or bad jobs, suffer the horror of substance abuse or, less seriously, just like to make fun of the affectations of Tinseltown.

Nominees for Outstanding Nonfiction Special are just as diverse, and a strong favorite may be NBC’s Farrah’s Story, the documentary in which we observed the late Farrah Fawcett battle with cancer with dignity and undisguised pain. Also up for an Emmy® is ABC’s Michael J. Fox: Adventures of an Incurable Optimist, the uplifting story of Fox’s look into the lives of people, like himself, who have found the joy of living through experiencing the adversity of illness and pain. HBO’s The Alzheimer Project: Momentum in Science, also nominated, was part of HBO’s somewhat optimistic outlook about curing the disease that affects some five million Americans and their families. History’s 102 Minutes That Changed America uses the video and words of ordinary New Yorkers to powerfully document the horror of 9/11. And the final nominee in this category, HBO’s Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired challenges viewers to take a second look at the director’s decision in 1977 to flee the country after his arrest on a half dozen counts involving drugs, sex and a minor child.

The nominations for Outstanding Nonfiction Series include the action-packed adventures in Discovery’s The Deadliest Catch, the surprising food finds in Travel’s Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations and glimpses of greatness that make up the sturdy Biography series. Otherwise, PBS’s American Master and American Experience, also nominated both completed strong seasons on a variety of topics; American Masters won the Emmy® last year. But Showtime’s This American Life, the television version of Chicago Public Radio’s refreshingly quirky weekly broadcast, deserves attention for tackling topics few documentary series ever dare. 



“… fascinating A&E series.”  Los Angeles Times
“… reality television like you’ve never seen it before.”  Matt Lauer

Outstanding Reality Program
Outstanding Cinematography for Reality Programming

A&E | Real Life. Drama
View full episodes of Intervention –


Outstanding Reality-Competition Program: The Amazing Race
Network:  CBS
Studio(s):  World Race Productions, Inc.
Executive Producers: Bertram van Munster, Jerry Bruckheimer, Jonathan Littman, Hayma “Screech” Washington
Co-Executive Producers: Amy Nabseth Chacon, Mark Vertullo
Supervising Producers: Matt Schmidt, Jarratt Carson, Evan Weinstein
Senior Producers: Giselle Parets, Michael Norton, Patrick Cariaga
Producer: Phil Keoghan

Outstanding Reality-Competition Program: American Idol
Network:  Fox
Studio(s):  FremantleMedia N.A., Inc. & 19TV Ltd.
Executive Producers: Ken Warwick, Cecile Frot-Coutaz, Simon Fuller
Co-Executive Producer: Charles Boyd
Supervising Producers: Patrick M. Lynn, Megan Michaels
Description:  American Idol is a variety program that empowers viewers to discover America’s next solo superstar. The program seeks to discover the best singer in the country through a series of nation-wide auditions.  Competing hopefuls sing for a panel of expert industry judges and for the television audience. Viewers vote weekly for their favorite performers, eventually choosing a winner who receives a major recording contract and the American Idol title.

Outstanding Reality-Competition Program: Dancing with the Stars
Network:  ABC
Studio(s):  BBC Worldwide Productions
Executive Producers: Conrad Green
Co-Executive Producers: Rob Wade, Matilda Zoltowski
Supervising Producers: Joe Sungkur, Ashley Edens-Shaffer
Senior Producer: Kim Kilbey
Producer: Erin O’Brien
Description:  Hosted by Tom Bergeron (“America’s Funniest Home Videos”) and Samantha Harris (“The Insider”), “Dancing with the Stars” challenges celebrities from the worlds of Hollywood, sports, and beyond, to perform choreographed ballroom routines ranging from the foxtrot to the cha cha cha.  Celebrities are paired with some of the top professional ballroom dancers in the world and their live televised performances are judged by renowned ballroom judge Len Goodman and dancer/choreographers Bruno Tonioli and Carrie Ann Inaba.  “Dancing with the Stars” is the U.S. version of the international smash hit series, “Strictly Come Dancing.” This version is produced by BBC Worldwide Americas. Conrad Green serves as executive producer and Rob Wade is co-executive producer. Alex Rudzinski directs. “Dancing with the Stars” is broadcast in 720 Progressive (720P), ABC’s selected HDTV format, with 5.1 channel surround sound and Spanish audio via SAP.

Outstanding Reality-Competition Program:  Project Runway
Network:  Bravo
Studio(s):  Magical Elves for The Weinstein Company, Full Picture, Bravo
Executive Producers: Harvey Weinstein, Bob Weinstein, Dan Cutforth, Rich Bye, Jane Lipsitz, Jane Cha, Desiree Gruber, Heidi Klum, Frnces Berwick, Andrew Cohen, Shari Levine
Co-Executive Producers: Casey Kriley, Rich Buhrman, Michael Rucker, Andrew Wallace
Producer: Barbara Schneeweiss

Outstanding Reality-Competition Program:  Top Chef
Network:  Bravo
Studio(s):  Magical Elves, Bravo
Executive Producers: Dan Cutforth, Jane Lipsitz, Shauna Minoprio, Andrew Cohen, Frances G. Berwick, Dave Serwatka
Co-Executive Producers: Rich Buhrman, Liz Cook, Fred Pichel, Casey Kriley, Gaylen Gawlowski
Supervising Producers: Nan Strait, Kevin Leffler



Outstanding Nonfiction Series

Biography® continues year after year to provide in-depth profiles of
exceptional people whose lives and times stir our imagination.

View full episodes of Biography –


Outstanding Reality Program: Antiques Roadshow
Network: PBS
Studio(s): WGBH Educational Foundation
Executive Producer: Marsha Bemko
Supervising Producer: Sam Farrell

Outstanding Reality Program: Dirty Jobs
Network: Discovery Channel
Studio(s): Pilgrim Films and Television Inc. in association with Discovery Channel
Executive Producer(s): Craig Piligian, Eddie Barbini, Mike Rowe, Gena McCarthy
Supervising Producer (s): Eddie Rohwedder, Scott Popjes
Producer(s): Dave Barsky, John Scott III
Description:  Nominated for Outstanding Reality Series for the second year in a row, DIRTY JOBS is an unflinching look at the American worker who makes his living doing unthinkable, yet essential, jobs. Each week host and apprentice Mike Rowe assumes the duties of the jobs he’s profiling, working alongside rattlesnake catchers, fish processors, bee removers, septic-tank technicians and other professionals: average folks tackling extraordinary tasks that simply must get done.  You walk away from DIRTY JOBS with more than just a glimpse into unfamiliar occupations. You can’t help but gain a new understanding and appreciation for all the often-unpleasant functions someone is shouldering to make your everyday life easier, safer – and often cleaner.

Outstanding Reality Program: Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan
Network: National Geographic Channel
Studio(s): MPH Entertainment in association with Emery/Sumner Productions
Executive Producer(s): Jim Milio, Melissa Jo Peltier, Mark Hufnail
Series Producer: SueAnn Fincki
Producer(s): Sheila Possner Emery, Kay Bachman Sumner
Description:  In five seasons of National Geographic Channel’s three-time Emmy®-nominated hit series DOG WHISPERER, Cesar Millan has come across as many troubled owners as he has dogs.  Each episode  follows the renowned dog behavior expert and best-selling author as he goes directly into the homes of dog owners ­ without any prior information about the dog’s case ­ and documents the remarkable transformations that take place under his calm, assertive guidance. The series, which celebrated its 100th episode last fall, has grown into a pop culture phenomenon, including parodies on “South Park” and “Saturday Night Live.” In season five, special episodes went undercover to witness the horrors of puppy mills and rescue and rehabilitate dogs from factory-style kennels; helped two warring “red zone” pit bulls and their owners live peacefully; and taught super star couple Pete Wentz and Ashlee Simpson to take a leadership role over their aggressive dog before their newborn arrived.

Outstanding Reality Program: Intervention
Network: A&E
Studio(s): Produced by GRB Entertainment for A&E Network
Executive Producer(s): Michael Branton, Sam Mettler, Dan Partland, Robert Sharenow, Colleen Conway
Supervising Producer (s): Jeff Grogan
Producer (s): Trisha Kirk Redding, Sarah Skibitzke, Kurt Schemper
Description: A&E’s hit “Intervention” is a powerful and gripping series in which people confront their darkest demons and seek a route to redemption. The series profiles people whose dependence on drugs and alcohol, or other compulsive behavior, has brought them to a point of personal crisis and estranged them from their friends and loved ones. Each episode ends with a surprise intervention that is staged by the family and friends of the addict, assisted by a specialist.  111 of the addicts profiled on “Intervention” are currently sober and this is the second consecutive nomination for the series for Outstanding Reality Program. 

Outstanding Reality Program: Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List
Network: Bravo
Studio(s): Picture This Television, Bravo
Executive Producer(s): Marcia Mule, Bryan Scott, Lisa M. Tucker, Kathy Griffin, Cori Abraham, Andrew Cohen, Jenn Levy
Co-Executive Producer: Amy Kohn
Supervising Producer: Todd Radnitz
Producer: Blake Webster

Outstanding Reality Program:  MythBusters
Network: Discovery Channel
Studio(s): Beyond Productions in association with Discovery Channel
Senior Executive Producer: Mary Donahue
Executive Producer(s): John Luscombe, Dan Tapster
Co-Executive Producer: Rob Hammersley
Supervising Producer: Tracy Rudolph
Producer(s): Alice Dallow, Tabitha Lentle
Description:  Called the “best science show on television” by The New York Times, MYTHBUSTERS nabbed its first program Emmy® nomination this year.  MYTHBUSTERS aims to uncover the truth behind popular myths and legends, with special effects experts Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage, with Tory Belleci, Kari Byron and Grant Imahara, mixing scientific method with gleeful curiosity and plain old-fashioned ingenuity to create their own signature style of explosive experimentation. Tackling myths that range from the widely known to the obscure, and the potentially life-saving to the seemingly trivial, the team’s combined background in animatronics, robotics, engineering, model building and prototyping arm them with the ability to create anything they need to put a myth to the test.


One of the greatest adventures in history, relived in the present.

For Your Emmy® Consideration

Outstanding Cinematography for a Nonfiction Program

Expedition Africa: Stanley & Livingstone

Equipped with just a compass and basic maps, four modern day explorers attempt to retrace one of the toughest expeditions of all time: Henry Morton Stanley’s search across the wilds of Tanzania to find Dr. Livingstone.

As visually epic as the historic journey itself.


Outstanding Non-Fiction Series: American Experience
Network:  PBS
Studio(s):  A David Grubin Productions film for American Experience
Executive Producer(s): Mark Samels, Nick Frasier
Series Producer: Susan Bellows
Produced by David Grubin

Outstanding Non-Fiction Series: American Masters
Network: PBS
Studio(s): Thirteen/WNET American Masters
Executive Producer(s): Susan Lacy
Series Producer: Prudence Glass
Supervising Producer: Julie Sacks
Producer(s): Judy Kinberg
Description:  AMERICAN MASTERS, produced by THIRTEEN in association with WNET.ORG for PBS, is an ongoing series of award-winning primetime specials examining the lives, works, and creative processes of our most outstanding cultural artists. Created in 1984 by Susan Lacy, the series is both a celebration and an exploration of creativity in America. Consisting of more than 250 hours of programming to date, AMERICAN MASTERS is a growing film library documenting the role important individuals, groups, and movements have played in the formation of our cultural identity. By balancing program topics and approaches, while maintaining the highest standards of historical, intellectual and artistic integrity, AMERICAN MASTERS has secured audience loyalty and recognition, averaging two to five million viewers per hour. Recognized by the industry and critics as “the best biographical programs ever to appear on American television,” AMERICAN MASTERS adds to an understanding of our cultural heritage and of the American character.

Outstanding Non-Fiction Series: Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations
Network:  Travel Channel
Studio(s): Zero Point Zero Production, Inc.
Executive Producer(s): Myleeta Aga, Christopher Collins, Lydia Tenaglia
Producer(s): Paul Cabana
Description:  Currently in its 5th Season, sharp tongued host Anthony Bourdain continues his culinary explorations delivering authentic experiences from off-the-beaten path locations around the globe.  Through his intelligent observations, unmatched honesty, genuine passion for new experiences and keen wit, Tony has earned the adoration of legions of viewers and travelers alike.  ANTHONY BOURDAIN: NO RESERVATIONS airs every Monday at 10 PM on the Travel Channel.

Outstanding Non-Fiction Series: Biography
Network:  BIO
Studio(s):  Triple Threat Television for the BIO Channel
Executive Producer(s): Gary Cohen, Peter Tarshis
Producer(s):  Eliza Kurtz
Description:  BIO Channel’s defining series “Biography” features in-depth profiles of the exceptional people whose lives and times stir our imagination. The Emmy® award-winning documentary series thrives on rich details, fascinating portraits and historical accuracy, seasoned with insider insights and observations. “Biography” goes behind-the-scenes to uncover Hollywood royalty, infamous killers, noteworthy athletes, top entertainers, political figures, and many more.

Outstanding Non-Fiction Series: Deadliest Catch
Network: Discovery Channel
Studio(s): Original Productions, LLC in association with Discovery Channel
Executive Producer(s): Thom Beers, Jeff Conroy, Paul Gasek, Tracy Rudolph
Co-Executive Producer: Matt Renner
Supervising Producer: Ethan Prochnik
Description:  Multiple Emmy®-nominated DEADLIEST CATCH follows the now legendary captains and crews of five crab-fishing vessels on the Bering Sea, doing one of the deadliest and most lucrative jobs in the world. The brave men endure subzero arctic weather, 60-mph winds and turbulent seas with waves the size of four-story buildings, all on three to four hours of sleep each night, if they’re lucky. Why do these men risk their lives doing this deadly job?  Ask them and they will tell you they can’t imagine doing anything else. The ultimate tough guys of television battle storms – personal, financial and natural – until the job is done.

Outstanding Non-Fiction Series:  This American Life
Network: Showtime
Studio(s): Showtime Presents in association with Chicago Public Radio, Killer Films, Inc., Left/Right, Inc.
This American Life Producing Team


Outstanding Non-Fiction Special:  The Alzheimer’s Project: Momentum in Science (Parts 1 & 2)
Network:  HBO
Studio(s): HBO Documentary Films and the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health in association with the Alzheimer’s Association, Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund, Geoffrey Beene Gives Back Alzheimer’s Initiative
Executive Producer(s): Sheila Nevins, Maria Shriver
Series Producer/Produced by John Hoffman
Produced by Susan Froemke

Outstanding Non-Fiction Special: Farrah’s Story
Network: NBC
Studio(s): Sweetened by Risk LLC
Executive Producer(s): Alexandra Gleysteen, Craig Nevius, Farrah Fawcett
Producer: Robert Deen
Produced by Alana Stewart

Outstanding Non-Fiction Special: Michael J. Fox: Adventures of an Incurable Optimist
Network: ABC
Studio(s): Lincoln Square Production in association with ABC Entertainment
Executive Producer(s): Michael J. Fox, Nelle Fortenberry, Rudy Bednar

Outstanding Non-Fiction Special: 102 Minutes That Changed America
Network: HISTORY
Studio(s): Produced by Siskel/Jacobs Productions for History
Executive Producer(s): Greg Jacobs, Jon Siskel, Susan Werbe
Producer: Nicole Rittenmeyer
Description:  102 Minutes That Changed America is a vivid and immersive documentary that for the first time joins hundreds of pieces of user-generated footage and audio content from more than 100 videographers into a seamless historical record with no narration and no commercial interruption.  It’s an intensely personal perspective of the World Trade Center attack that ranges in emotions, as it happened and the way it was experienced, from initial bewilderment that a plane could slam into these huge skyscrapers to incomprehensibility and ultimately to the terrifying realization of terrorist attack.  The mission is to preserve the basic source material, user-generated content, for future generations.

Outstanding Non-Fiction Special:  Roman Polanski: Wanted And Desired
Network: HBO
Studio(s): Milwood Pictures, Graceful Pictures, BBC, Antidote Films in association with HBO Documentary Films and ThinkFilm
Executive Producer(s): Steven Soderbergh, Randy Wooten
Produced by:  Jeffrey Levy-Hinte, Lila Yacoub, Marina Zenovich

Emmy® Fact:  The image orthicon tube which was often found in early television cameras was often nicknamed Immy. The word Emmy® was the feminine derivative from Immy. Complimenting the femininity surrounding this prestigious award, a statuette of the winged female figure holding an atom has become the longtime symbol of the TV Academy.  The wings represent the muse of art, the atom the electron of science.   Prior to Emmy®, originally Ike was going to be the official name of the award, however because of the name being so closely associated with Dwight D. Eisenhower the group decided on “Emmy®.”

Later — Cyn

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