During the annual National Association of Television Programming Executives (NATPE) conference in Miami Beach, Florida, Fox Television Group chairmen and CEOs Dana Walden and Gary Newman were among the six recipients of the 2017 Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Award. The honor recognizes television professionals “who exhibit extraordinary passion, leadership, independence and vision in the process of creating television programming,” in the spirit of former NBC executive Brandon Tartikoff.
In her remarks, Dana thanked the creators she and Gary work with, adding that Brandon’s approach to his job has influenced her own.
“When I think about some of my most important creative relationships with people like Steve Levitan, Seth MacFarlane, Howard Gordon, Lee Daniels, Ryan Murphy, I want to be like Brandon – their champion,” she said. “For me, that’s Brandon’s legacy.”
Dana also recounted when former FOX executive Peter Chernin put her and Gary in what she called an arranged marriage. “I had no idea at the time that 18 years later, it would be the most meaningful adult relationship in my life, aside from my marriage,” she said. “Receiving this award is as much recognition of our shared success and our partnership as it is our individual achievements, and for that I couldn’t be happier.”
Gary reflected on his career in television during his remarks, reminding attendees that the work done in the industry is far from trivial.
“When you make shows like ‘Glee’ and ‘Modern Family’ and receive countless letters and emails from gay teenagers who said that watching these series enabled them for the first time to talk with their parents about their sexual orientation, that’s not trivial,” he said. “When you make shows like ‘24’ and ‘Homeland’ that spark important conversations about how we as a nation should operate in a post-9/11 world, that’s not trivial. When you make shows like ‘The Simpsons’ and ‘The X-Files’ that have traveled around the globe and back and entertained people in some of the most remote places in the world, that’s not trivial.”
Gary also thanked Dana for teaching him about bringing the best out of creative talent, being bold and taking risks. “Our partnership has certainly helped me to evolve as an executive and as a leader; our friendship has helped me evolve as a person.”
Dana and Gary joined Susanne Daniels, global head of original content for YouTube; Randy Falco, president and CEO of Univision Communications; Josh Sapan, president and CEO of AMC Networks; and Eva Longoria, Golden Globe-nominated, Screen Actors Guild and ALMA Award-winning actress, director, producer and activist, as this year’s honorees.