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Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Award Winners Named

NATPE’s 16th Annual Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Awards are going to comedian and media mogul Byron Allen, producer Mara Brock Akil, former chairman of NBC Entertainment Robert Greenblatt, actress, singer and dancer Rita Moreno, award-winning actress and comedian Betty White and actor Henry Winkler. 

They will receive the prestigious award at a special reception on Wednesday, Jan. 23, at the Eden Roc in Miami Beach, Fla. NATPE said. NATPE's Miami Marketplace & Conference takes place Jan. 22-24 at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach.

The 2019 Tartikoff Legacy Award recipients are recognized for exhibiting their extraordinary passion, leadership, independence and vision through their diverse work in being a part of the creation and distribution of content for the world’s traditional and digital marketplaces. Named in honor of Brandon Tartikoff, one of the most esteemed programmers in the history of television, the award was created to acknowledge a select group of television professionals who have demonstrated the highest degree of excellence in their field.

Byron Allen is the founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of the global media and technology company Entertainment Studios. He owns eight television networks, including The Weather Channel, which was acquired in March 2018. The company also produces, distributes, and sells advertising for 41 television programs, making it one of the largest independent producers/distributors of first-run syndicated television programming for broadcast television stations. With a library of over 5,000 hours of owned content across multiple genres, Entertainment Studios provides video content to broadcast television stations, cable television networks, mobile devices, multimedia platforms, and the World Wide Web. Other notable divisions of Entertainment Studios include Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures, which released 2017’s highest-grossing independent movie, the shark thriller 47 Meters Down, and TheGrio, a digital video-centric news community platform devoted to African-Americans with compelling stories and perspectives currently underrepresented in existing national news outlets. 

Mara Brock Akil is a writer and producer of over 300 episodes of television who started her career producing and writing for classic shows like The Jamie Foxx Show and Moesha. Brock Akil later went on to create the seminal television series Girlfriends, its spin-off The Game and BET’s hit series Being Mary Jane. Most recently, Brock Akil produced Black Lightning for The CW and created Love Is for OWN. She has been honored by Essence magazine with their Visionary Award, has been named to Variety and The Hollywood Reporter’s Showrunner Power List multiple times, and has made THR’s Women in Entertainment Power100 for the past three years and running.

Robert Greenblatt is one of the most influential television executives of the decade, most recently the chairman of NBC Entertainment. Since coming on board in 2011, Greenblatt returned the then-failing network to #1 in the 18-49 demo where it remained for five consecutive seasons. In his final season as chairman, Greenblatt led the network to a total viewer win for the first time in more than a decade. A Golden Globe and Tony Award-winning producer, Greenblatt also ran Showtime and was a top executive at Fox, shepherding ground-breaking content that has changed the television landscape.

Rita Moreno has won all four of the most prestigious awards in show business: the Oscar, the Tony, two Emmys and a Grammy. She has also received the Kennedy Center Honor for her lifetime contributions to American Culture and was honored as the 50th recipient of the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award. Her countless credits span more than six decades, beginning with her Broadway debut at age 13. Moreno has starred on Broadway; London’s West End; appeared in more than 40 feature films, and countless television shows. Rita currently stars in the Latino remake of Norman Lear’s classic sitcom, One Day at a Time on Netflix.

Betty White, even at the age of 96, has not slowed down. The comedy legend is one of the funniest and busiest actresses in Hollywood. With a career that has spanned more than 70 years, the seven-time Emmy Award winner has created unforgettable roles in television and film, authored eight books and won numerous awards, including those for her lifelong work for animal welfare. Most recently, she won a People’s Choice Award for “Favorite TV Icon,” was named America’s Most Appealing Celebrity by Reuters and has been added to the Guinness World Records under the title, “Longest TV Career for an Entertainer (Female).”

Henry Winkler co-stars as acting teacher Gene Cousineau on the hit HBO dark comedy Barry. This past September, he was the recipient of the Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy for his role on the series which stars Emmy-award winning actor, Bill Hader. Winkler has enjoyed over four decades of success in Hollywood and continues to be in demand as an actor, producer and director.

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