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Pride TV Awards Honor Leadership, Courage

Pride TV Summit

The Pride TV Awards for Leadership and Courage were presented by B+C and Multichannel News June 23 at the first-ever Pride TV Summit

The conference, hosted by Luis Sandoval, correspondent for Univision’s Despierta América, focused on the business of television programming featuring LGBTQ+ topics, storylines, characters or performers. 

Eight honorees were recognized during the awards ceremony, hosted by DailyMailTV’s Thomas Roberts, which was the final session of the conference. Each session will be available for viewing through late July at pridetvsummit.com.    

Among the recipients were four organizations: Comcast, The CW, RAPP Worldwide Agency and SKYY Vodka. Four individual awards were presented to Gio Benitez, transportation correspondent for ABC News; Jonathan Capehart, host of The Sunday Show with Jonathan Capehart on MSNBC; Ilene Chaiken, showrunner and executive producer of NBC’s Law & Order: Organized Crime; and Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD. 

COMCAST, THE CW CITED: The award in the category for Membership or Employee Association was presented to Comcast in recognition of its fostering of an LGBTQ+ friendly culture both within the company and in the communities it serves. The award was accepted by Jan Hofmeyr, executive VP and chief network officer, Comcast NBCUniversal.

The CW was honored in the Television Network category for its ongoing commitment to scripted programming featuring LGBTQ+ characters (see page 16). Fans are likely familiar with the network’s numerous superhero programs featuring characters identified as LGBTQ+. The CW chairman and CEO Mark Pedowitz accepted on behalf of the network. 

HITTING THE SKYY: SKYY Vodka was honored in the Brand Advertiser category. SKYY has long been positioned in advertising targeted to LGBTQ+ consumers through crossplatform media promotions and the sponsorship of LGBTQ+ community events. Over time, the brand’s blue bottle has  an iconic and highly recognized image in LGBTQ+ media. The award was accepted by Bernadette Knight, senior category marketing director at the Campari Group.

RAPP ON MEDIA BUYER: In the Media Buying Agency category, the award was presented to RAPP Worldwide, which was recognized for its commitment to aid leading brands in reaching out to LGBTQ+ consumers through multiplatform media, including TV and video tactics. Accepting was Devin O’Loughlin, global chief diversity, equity and inclusion and communications officer, global chairperson/Omnicom OPEN Pride, RAPP Worldwide. The agency also was acknowledged for a creative approach to openness and authenticity about those who identify as LGBTQ+.

Gio Benitez

Gio Benitez of ABC News (Image credit: Lorenzo Bevilacqua/ABC)

SALUTE TO GIO: One award in particular acknowledged an on-screen talent in the category of professionalism and authenticity, both on and off camera, and at work and in his personal life. It was presented to ABC News transportation correspondent Gio Benitez, a familiar face to Good Morning America viewers, for his on-screen professionalism and his authenticity as an out and proud member of the LGBTQ+ community. 

CAPE-ING UP: Jonathan Capehart, host of MSNBC’s The Sunday Show with Jonathan Capehart, was recognized for Political News Journalism. Capehart is an accomplished and outspoken journalist covering many political topics, including those that reflect equality for members of the LGBTQ+ community.  In addition to his role on MSNBC, he also appears as part of “Brooks and Capehart” on the PBS NewsHour; and is an opinion writer for The Washington Post, serving on the newspaper’s prestigious editorial board and hosting its Cape Up podcast.

ILENE CHAIKEN, CREATOR: The award in the category of Television Program Creator was presented to Ilene Chaiken in recognition of her authentic depiction of LGBTQ+ characters in television dramas. Known for her work with the iconic series L Word and Empire, Chaiken is currently the showrunner and executive producer of NBC’s Law & Order: Organized Crime. The program is the newest addition to the popular and long-running, crime-drama franchise created by Dick Wolf. As with her past works, Chaiken has introduced a strong, leading LGBTQ+ character. This time, the character is a lesbian of color, Sgt. Ayanna Bell, played by Danielle Moné Truitt.

GLAAD ADVOCACY: The final Pride TV Award was presented in the category of Advocacy to Sarah Kate Ellis, the president and CEO of GLAAD. Ellis has worked through entertainment, news, and digital media to shift public attitudes and accelerate the acceptance of LGBTQ+ people. Under her direction, GLAAD has made many recent advances, like driving rapid response to news incidents involving LGBTQ+ people, as well as expanded coverage of stories reflecting LGBTQ+ communities in Spanish-language and Latinx media.  

The awards were just one session within the daylong program that included 47 individuals as speakers, panelists, moderators, hosts and honorees. The conference was programmed by Schramm Marketing Group on behalf of B+C and Multichannel News.