Nine TV Leaders Named Giants of Broadcasting

Jordan Wertlieb, president of Hearst TV
Hearst TV’s Jordan Wertlieb (Image credit: Hearst TV)

Nine individuals were named Giants of Broadcasting & Electronic Arts on Nov. 9 by the Library of American Broadcasting Foundation. On the list were Emily Barr, president and CEO, Graham Media Group; Frank Boyle, president and CEO, Frank Boyle & Co.; sports broadcaster Bob Costas; Russell Perry, founder and president, Perry Publishing & Broadcasting; Robin Roberts, co-anchor, Good Morning America, and president, Rock’n Robin Productions; Marion Ross, actress and Happy Days cast member; Neal Shapiro, president and CEO, The WNET Group; Gordon Smith, president and CEO, National Association of Broadcasters; and Jordan Wertlieb, senior VP, Hearst Communications, and president, Hearst Television. 

Juju Chang, co-anchor on ABC News’s Nightline, hosted the virtual event. 

Roberts saluted her “long-time dear friend,” talent agent Richard Liebner, for his “passion and his compassion.”

Ross spoke of Happy Days shifting to a studio audience in its early days. “It occurred to us, it would be a lot more fun if there was an audience,” she said. “We would play to that audience. It was so much fun.”

Photo of the Cunningham family from the television program Happy Days. Pictured are Marion Ross (Mrs. Cunningham), Tom Bosley (Mr. Cunningham), Erin Moran (Joanie Cunningham) and Ron Howard (Richie Cunningham).

The Cunningham family from ABC's Happy Days, circa 1974: Marion Ross (Mrs. Cunningham), Tom Bosley (Mr. Cunningham), Erin Moran (Joanie Cunningham) and Ron Howard (Richie Cunningham). (Image credit: ABC Television, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Ross stressed that “the history of broadcasting is so important, and it’s so important for me to be part of your broadcasting museum, and your library.”

Neal Shapiro saluted the host, his wife Juju Chang, as being “the reason I’ve been able to hold a series of demanding jobs” while also enjoying family life. Shapiro mentioned the “creative process” of TV news, as researchers, photographers, reporters, executives and lawyers, “who keep us all out of jail,” work together to bring stories to life. “If I am a Giant it is because I stand on the shoulders of so many,” he added. 

Also: D.C. Salutes NAB's Honest Broker 

Gordon Smith said he was “especially pleased to be recognized alongside my broadcast colleagues,” Wertlieb, Barr and Perry. He saluted broadcasters for “keeping our communities safe, informed and connected,” especially during the tumultuous past couple years. 

“These broadcasters are the bastions and defenders of our vital First Amendment rights,” said Smith, who shifts to an advisory/advocacy role at the NAB as the year ends. 

He added, “I’m proud to have advocated for an industry that takes seriously its role in serving the public.”

Wertlieb saluted the Hearst execs who shaped his career, his family and the journalists within Hearst, calling journalism “a profession with a purpose like few others.”

Like Smith, he said they’ve never been relied on more than in the past two years. 

“Our journalists have been and continue to be on the front line every day,” said Wertlieb, describing journalists as “the immune system of democracy.”

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.