Olympics help lead NBC Sports to top honors at the 28th Annual Sports Emmys

By Ken Kerschbaumer

Coverage of the world’s greatest athletes going for the gold in Torino, Italy last January helped propel NBC to some gold of its own as it picked up nine Emmys at the 28th Annual Sports Emmy Awards at the Rose Hall in Manhattan’s Lincoln Center. ESPN claimed six statues with ABC and TNT both snagging four, HBO three, and CBS, the NFL Network and Speed with one each.

The evening got off to a lively start with Fox Sports VP of Field Operations Jerry Steinberg recounting the network’s first Fox NFL Sunday: Road Show telecast in Jacksonville (for which Fox Sports won the Outstanding Technical Team Studio award along with MansionPoker.net Poker Dome Challenge).

“When [Director] Bob Levy left the truck after the first telecast he was crying but within four weeks it was a well-oiled machine,” recounted Steinberg of the technical challenge of bringing an NFL studio show on the road week after week.

Fox also took home the award for Live Event Audio/Sound thanks to senior mixer Fred Aldous and his team’s work on NASCAR on Fox. “The soul and spirit of Fox audio’s Bob Simon lives on and Fred has taken his torch and brought it to another level,” added Steinberg.

It was the Olympics that were the real storyline on Monday night. NBC grabbed three Olympics-related awards, including top honors in graphics, audio and the George Wensel Award for Technical Achievement related to its HD coverage.

“I want to thank all of us and our families,” said NBC Olympics VP of Engineering Dave Mazza. “George Wensel was a friend and mentor to a lot of us and I know he’s been watching over us for the past 12 years to make sure we continue to live up to his legacy.”

The lifetime achievement award was presented to Don Ohlmeyer and it was during a moving speech by both Ohlmeyer and NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol that the Olympics took center stage. When the German’s pulled the plug on the world feed during the Munich Olympics massacre it was Ohlmeyer who took two cameras and made sure Americans, and the world, could see what was happening.

“The calmness he brought to that situation showed me what a great news leader he could have been,” said Ebersol.

Ohlmeyer said his career and success hinged on Roone Arledge, who he credited with changing two businesses, sports and TV, in one lifetime and finding fairly intelligent people who paid him ridiculous sums of money to do things he would have done for free. “If you want to follow my lead don’t let them know you’ll work for free,” he quipped.

“Sports TV moves the industry forward,” he added. The desire to shoot from the sidelines during NFL telecasts led to more compact cameras and lenses that, in turn, transformed the news industry.

Adding that he was blessed with four sons and his wife Linda he also acknowledged the difficult sacrifices that sports professionals ask of family, loved ones and themselves to follow their passions. “You end up missing some of the normal life like little league games and teacher meetings,” he said.

And while he is no longer making decisions at networks like ABC or NBC that will reshape the TV experience he’s still paying attention.

“I’ll be one of the millions in the audience inspired by your work,” he said.

Here’s the complete list of Monday night’s winners:

Outstanding LIVE SPORTS SPECIAL: MLB on FOX: Post Season
Outstanding LIVE SPORTS SERIES: NASCAR on TNT & NBC
Outstanding LIVE EVENT TURNAROUND: Beyond the Wheel: NASCAR Images/Speed
Outstanding EDITED SPORTS SPECIAL: 2006 Ford Ironman World Championship, NBC
Outstanding SPORTS DOCUMENTARY: One of a Kind: The Rise and Fall of Stu Ungar, ESPN
Outstanding EDITED SPORTS SERIES / ANTHOLOGIES: Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, HBO
Outstanding STUDIO SHOW – WEEKLY: Sunday NFL Countdown, ESPN
Outstanding STUDIO SHOW – DAILY: Inside the NBA – Playoffs, TNT
Outstanding SPORTS JOURNALISM: Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, HBO, “Uninsured”
Outstanding SHORT FEATURE: NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament CBS Jason McElwain
Outstanding LONG FEATURE: SportsCenter ESPN Travis Roy
Outstanding OPEN / TEASE: Indianapolis 500, ABC; NBA Finals, ABC
Outstanding BROADBAND – COVERAGE: Race 2 Replace Race2Replace.com
Outstanding BROADBAND – LONG FORM: “The Real Frozen Tundra” – Barrow, Alaska, ESPN.com
Outstanding BROADBAND – GENERAL INTEREST: Being Stanley, Beingstanley.com
Outstanding Sports Personality – STUDIO HOST: Ernie Johnson, TNT
Outstanding Sports Personality – PLAY-BY-PLAY: Al Michaels, ABC/NBC
Outstanding Sports Personality – STUDIO ANALYST: Cris Collinsworth, HBO/NBC
Outstanding Sports Personality – SPORTS EVENT ANALYST: Cris Collinsworth, NFL Network
Outstanding TECHNICAL TEAM REMOTE: Sunday Night Football, NBC
Outstanding TECHNICAL TEAM STUDIO: Fox NFL Sunday: Road Show, FOX; MansionPoker.net Poker Dome Challenge
Outstanding CAMERA WORK: Jeep World of Adventure Sports, NBC
Outstanding EDITING: NBA on TNT
The Dick Schaap WRITING AWARD: One of a Kind: The Rise and Fall of Stu Ungar, ESPN
Outstanding MUSIC COMPOSITION / DIRECTION / LYRICS: The XX Olympic Winter Games, NBC “The Stories of Torino”
Outstanding Live Event AUDIO / SOUND: NASCAR on FOX, FOX
Outstanding Post Produced AUDIO / SOUND: Timeless, ESPN2
Outstanding GRAPHIC DESIGN: The XX Olympic Winter Games, NBC
Outstanding PRODUCTION DESIGN / ART DIRECTION: NBA Finals, ABC Tease/Open
The George Wensel TECHNICAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: The XX Olympic Winter Games, NBC The High Definition Games