Gracies Graced With Many TVNewsers

By SteveK 

CBS’ Lara Logan accepts her Gracie award.

Last night’s 33rd annual Gracie Allen Awards were graced with TVNewsers from start to finish, from every major network. From the beginning, TV news was on the mind of the host of the evening, Giuliana Rancic. Rancic joked about her “entertainment reporter” title. “Fox News has been fair and balanced, giving Obama equal coverage to McCain,” she said. “We are too. We give just as much coverage to Nicole Richie as Paris Hilton.”

One of the first awards was presented by CNBC president Mark Hoffman, who introduced anchor Suze Orman (who won for Best Talk Show). “When it comes to personal finance, there’s Suze and there’s everyone else,” he said.

Orman had her own saying. “Behind every great woman, there are four five other great women,” she said, thanking many of the women who work on her show.

Maya Angelou accepted her award for best radio show early in the night, after the only unanimous standing ovation of the evening. Not TVNewser related per se, but hearing Angelou begin her speech with, “My thanks must first go to Oprah and Friends and then to XM,” just…didn’t sound right.

Outstanding Hard News Feature went to Lara Logan for a story initially, “crushed by the United States military commanders and the Iraqi government.” She dedicated the award to the Iraqi children and military personnel profiled in the piece.

NBC’s Today show was represented, as Al Roker and Hoda Kotb got some of the biggest laughs of the night.

CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo picks up her Gracie award.

Roker, presenting to Kotb, began noting the music, saying, “Mark Hoffman got Soul Man, what is that?”

Kotb noted her battle with cancer when accepting her award. “You hold on tightly to people you love and get rid of people you don’t,” she said, pausing for a second before saying, “I’m divorced.”

Nightly News anchor Brian Williams also got a laugh as he presented a Gracie to producer ML Flynn. “Tonight we honor someone who put up with horrible conditions in the course of doing her job,” he said. “She was shot at, pulled all nighters…and that’s just in our newsroom.”

“I’m here because I work with the best people in the business,” said Flynn.

CNN’s Christiane Amanpour accepted award presented by CNN/U.S. president Jon Klein. “I brought my son here to show what women are capable of,” she said.

In a night honoring women, TruTV’s Ashleigh Banfield broke the mold as she thanked her presenter and colleague upon accepting her Gracie. “Sharing the stage with Jack Ford is truly an honor,” she said, as well as calling the network the, “most editorially pristine,” news organization she’s worked for.

Other presenters throughout the evening included former CBS and current ESPN anchor, Hannah Storm, CNN’s Kiran Chetry (who we hear is back on American Morning sometime in June) and Campbell Brown and FNC’s Jamie Colby, who is a veteran of the Gracies. As a member of the AWRT for more than a decade, Colby also formerly served on the board of the organization.