12th Annual NATPE Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Awards

After more than a decade of honoring television industry leaders, NATPE’s Brandon Tartikoff Awards have expanded this year to include additional honorees. It’s only fitting for a burgeoning industry that areas such as streaming video-on-demand and international programming should join syndicated, unscripted and late-night programming on the roster for the 12th annual awards, to be handed out Jan. 21 in Miami Beach. As a group, Entertainment Tonight producer Linda Bell Blue, media/telecom/consumer products giant Cisneros execs Gustavo and Adriana Cisneros, comedian and talk host Jay Leno, reality producer and Bunim-Murray chairman Jonathan Murray and Netflix content chief Ted Sarandos represent a considerable set of accomplishments. As NATPE continues to redefine itself, the awards ceremony will offer a comprehensive tour of the TV business. Tartikoff himself, the onetime NBC exec who made an indelible mark by adopting a worldview and business approach that was far broader than that of most network chiefs, would be proud.

Bringing Enthusiasm To Almost 20 Years of 'Tonight's

The first time that Linda Bell Blue—Entertainment Tonight and The Insider’s executive producer emeritus—attended the Oscars with then co-EP Carla Pennington in tow, she was as star-struck as anyone.

“We got all suited up with hair and make-up, the whole works, and there we were on the red carpet. It was like a real dream,” she says. “I remember that we went into the ladies room before we went into the ceremony and there was Susan Sarandon, looking in the mirror next to us. We had interviewed so many stars at that point, but it was still a fairy-tale moment for us.” Click here for the full story.

New CEO Quickly Makes Her Mark While Extending a Legacy

Adriana Cisneros was only 34 when she took over as CEO of the Cisneros Group of Companies (CGC), but in many ways she’d already spent decades at the center of the Latin-American television industry, affording her with the experience that is quickly allowing her to transform the family media empire.

“Media seems to be in our family genes at this point,” says Cisneros with a laugh, as she recalls her parents discussing TV over the dinner table, and travelling with her father on business trips. Click here for the full story.

Latin-American TV Pioneer Maintains Global Vision

With a population of just over 30 million, or less than 10% of the population of the U.S., few would have expected Venezuela to become the launching pad for a major global media company. Yet that is exactly what the Cisneros family has accomplished, particularly under the leadership of 2015 Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Award winner Gustavo Cisneros, the chairman of the Cisneros Group of Companies (CGC).

The family fortunes began modestly in 1929, with Diego Cisneros buying a truck and launching a transportation business at the age of 17 in Caracas, Venezuela. But his businesses took off after he tasted his first bottle of Pepsi during a visit to the New York City World’s Fair, and launched a Pepsi bottling franchise in Venezuela in 1940. Profits from that enterprise funded a host of other companies, most notably the launch of the Venevision broadcast network in 1961. Click here for the full story.

TV Comedy Stalwart Sets To Shift Through the Gears

When Joan Rivers launched her ill-fated late-night talker on Fox in 1986, her old job—permanent guest host of NBC’s The Tonight Show—became a must-get gig. By the following year, the field of contenders had narrowed to roughly a half-dozen. Among them was Jay Leno. Best known then for his appearances on Late Night With David Letterman, Leno received a phone call one day from a manager who represented some of his competitors. The manager said that if all the potential guest hosts negotiated together, they could secure $25,000 per episode to fill in. Leno responded that he would go it alone and ask for scale—$512.

A few weeks later he received a phone call telling him the job was his. Click here for the full story.

After 30 Years of Keeping It 'Real,' Jonathan Murray Isn't Slowing Down

Jonathan Murray is excited about 2015 for various reasons. 

Already in the throes of the 30th season of MTV’s The Real World, Murray, chairman of Bunim/Murray Productions, is looking forward to a new project in development at the network, and another at A&E.

He’s got a new social-issues documentary project in the works, bolstered by the company’s recent success with the Emmy Award-winning Autism: The Musical and Valentine Road, which was nominated for two Emmys. Click here for the full story.

From Business Model Disruptor To TV-Content Empire Builder

In 2013, Netflix shook up the television industry by winning the first-ever primetime Emmy Award for an Internet-based original series when House of Cards took home a statuette for best director. The streaming-video service followed up on that feat a year later by winning seven Emmys, led by three wins for sophomore comedy series Orange Is the New Black.

But shocking the television industry isn’t new for Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos. The industry veteran has been flipping the traditional television model on its head since he joined Netflix in 2000, where he built a reputation as an industry innovator. It has now earned him a Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Award. Click here for the full story.