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Honoring excellence

The 11th Annual BROADCASTING & CABLE Hall of Fame and the 70th anniversary of BROADCASTING & CABLE magazine will be celebrated conjointly on Nov. 12 at a formal dinner and ceremonies at New York's Marriott Marquis hotel.

"It's a moment to bring together friends and family from every reach of the industries we have served for so long," said William McGorry, senior vice president of the Cahners Television Group.

"The Hall of Fame has come to attract a critical mass from our increasingly multimedia constituency every fall, and it seems the right moment to co-celebrate the two events," McGorry added.

Officially, BROADCASTING & CABLE's anniversary is Oct. 15.

Thirteen honorees will join the previous 200 in this year's Hall of Fame, whose master of ceremonies since 1991 has been Sam Donaldson of ABC News.

Selections to the BROADCASTING & CABLE Hall of Fame are made by the magazine's editors, on their own initiative and in response to nominations from the industry. The chairman is Don West, longtime BROADCASTING & CABLE executive and now the magazine's editor at large.

Reservations to the Hall of Fame dinner may be made through Steve Labunski in New York at 212-889-6716.

The distinguished roster, in alphabetical order, includes:

  • Katie Couric
    is now in her 10th year as co-anchor of NBC's Today Show, which she first joined as national correspondent in 1990 after a year as deputy Pentagon correspondent for NBC News. Along with Matt Lauer, Couric is part of the team that has made Today
    virtually unbeatable in the morning.
    Among her exclusives have been interviews with Hillary Rodham Clinton, Generals Colin Powell and Norman Schwarzkopf and Anita Hill. Couric began her career as a desk assistant for ABC News in Washington and later was a producer for CNN in Atlanta. She is a co-founder of the National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance, dedicated to fighting colon cancer.
  • Michael D. Eisner
    is the chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, which among its many media interests includes ABC and ESPN, the newly acquired Family Channel, a half-interest in Lifetime and television production and syndication units.
    Eisner began his programming career with ABC in the 1960s (he had been a page at NBC during college vacations) and was associated with such hits as Happy Days
    and Baretta
    on his way to the top rungs of that company.
  • Michael J. Fox
    has had starring roles in television, including seven seasons of Family Ties
    and six of Spin City—
    from which, having contracted Parkinson's disease, he retired in 2000.
    A native of Canada, he began acting at 15 on CBC's Leo and Me
    series and at 18 was working TV in Los Angeles. His movie career has included the original and two sequels of Back to the Future.
  • Tom Freston, president and CEO of MTV Networks, started out in the advertising business (Benton & Bowles, 1970) before hooking up with Warner Amex Satellite Entertainment (MTV's predecessor) in 1980, where he was to become director of marketing for MTV, The Movie Channel and Nickelodeon.
    More significantly, he became a member of the team (with John Lack and Robert Pittman) that revolutionized the music and video businesses with MTV and VH1, now owned by Viacom. He became president of MTV Networks in 1986.
  • Hal Jackson, veteran radio personality for WLIB(AM)-WBLS(FM) New York, one of radio's pioneers, is still on the air 62 years after his first broadcast on WINX(AM) Washington in 1939.
    He moved to WLIB in 1949 and soon spread his talent simultaneously to WMCA and WPIX. He is group chairman of licensee Inner City Broadcasting and continues to host Hal Jackson Sunday Classics
    from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on WBLS.
  • Lorne Michaels
    is the executive producer and creative genius of NBC-TV'sSaturday Night Live—
    from its start in 1975, perhaps the first alternative programming series to break free of conventional TV's restraints.
    After several years, he took a break from SNL
    to found Broadway Video, a production company that produced an HBO comedy series. Then he became executive producer of Late Night with Conan O'Brien.
    Another Canadian, he broke into U.S. TV as a writer on Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In
    and later wrote for Lily Tomlin specials. He has produced specials for Steve Martin, Paul Simon, Randy Newman and the late Gilda Radner, among others.
  • Mary Tyler Moore
    is one of television's most luminous stars, coming to fame as a co-star during the Dick Van Dyke Show
    network run in the 1960s and soloing with her own vehicle,The Mary Tyler Moore Show,
    which achieved cult status in the 1970s.
    Her production company, MTM Enterprises, was associated with such hits as The Bob Newhart Show, Rhoda, Hill Street Blues
    and St. Elsewhere.
  • William Lowell Putnam
    is the UHF pioneer who founded one of the earliest ultra-high-frequency stations, ch. 22 WWLP (TV) Springfield, Mass., in 1953.
    He is credited with being a driving force behind passage of the "all-channel-set" legislation, which mandated that manufacturers incorporate UHF tuners in all television sets. Without that boost, UHF's growth would have been virtually impossible.
  • James O. Robbins, president and CEO of Cox Communications, started out in broadcasting (as managing editor of WBZ-TV News in Boston) before moving to cable in 1972. He joined Cox in 1983, became president in 1985 and CEO in 1995. He served two tours during the Vietnam War as a line officer on a destroyer.
    Robbins served as chairman of the National Cable and Telecommunications Association and of the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation.