The Television Academy Hall of Fame has a new crop of inductees, all of whom have made outstanding contributions in the arts, sciences or management of television throughout their career or via singular achievements.
Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company Bob Iger, TV executive and entrepreneur Geraldine Laybourne, five-time Emmy-winning performer Seth MacFarlane, five-time Emmy-winning director Jay Sandrich, and three-time Emmy winner Cicely Tyson are all included in the 25th Hall of Fame class.
“These contemporary performers, content creators and executives have been pioneers and innovators in so many aspects of television; and they have had a profound impact on their art and on our culture,” said Frank Scherma, chairman and CEO of the Television Academy in a statement. “It’s an honor to welcome this distinguished group of individuals into the Hall of Fame and to acknowledge their remarkable contributions, which continue to shape our industry.”
Iger, who became CEO at Disney in 2005, has overseen the acquisition of Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfim and 21st Century Fox, as well as embracing new content distribution models including Disney+, ESPN+, and Hulu.
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Laybourne started her career with a commitment to developing TV content for children, joining Nickelodeon in its second year of existence as a program manager and in her 15 years with the network, taking it from a five-employee company in 1980 to an $8 billion business. In 1998, Laybourne partnered with Oprah Winfrey and Carsey-Werner Productions to create Oxygen Media.
MacFarlane’s career has seen the honoree wear many hats, including, writer, director, producer, animator, actor, singer, comedian, and 2013 Oscars host. Beyond being the bedrock of Fox Sunday nights for years, with shows including “Family Guy,” “American Dad!,” “The Cleveland Show,” and “The Orville” gracing the airwaves, MacFarlane also served as executive producer on — and financially invested in — “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey,” a 2014 FOX docuseries in the vein of Carl Sagan’s 1980 classic space documentary series “Cosmos: A Personal Voyage.”
Sandrich cut his teeth in the industry as an assistant director on “I Love Lucy,” and continued from there, directing episodes of TV classics including, “The Odd Couple,” “Soap,” “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” and “The Cosby Show.” The director also helmed a number of high-profile TV pilots on “The Golden Girls,” The Bob Newhart Show,” and “WKRP in Cincinnati.”
And Tyson is a Hollywood legend, both on the small screen and beyond, and still a working actress as she approaches her 95th birthday. Many of Tyson’s most beloved TV roles were in miniseries, including playing the eponymous role in “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman,” as well as starring in “Roots,” “King,” and “Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All.” Tyson was also the first black woman to host “Saturday Night Live,” back in 1979.
Founded in 1984, the Hall of Fame has previously inducted 146 television legends, including costume designers, writers, animators, among other professionals within the industry.
“These exceptional individuals have been major forces in television’s evolution,” said Rick Rosen, head of television for William Morris Endeavor and Hall of Fame Selection Committee chair. “It is our pleasure to honor them and celebrate their influence and impact on the growth of our industry across six decades of unprecedented change.”
Joining Rosen on the selection committee are Emmy Award-winning producer Marcy Carsey; NBCUniversal Content Studios chairman Bonnie Hammer; Warner Bros. Television president Peter Roth; former executive at ABC, CBS, and NBC, as well as founder of The Fred Silverman Company, Fred Silverman; and PatMa Productions partner Nina Tassler.
The Hall of Fame ceremony will be held Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020 at the Television Academy’s Saban Media Center.
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