September 19, 2005

Emmy honors TV news anchors, Katrina victims

By Bob Tourtellotte

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Television's stars paid tribute to
the departed news anchors of the major U.S. networks at the
Emmy Awards on Sunday and acknowledged the victims of Hurricane
Katrina by wearing flowers and trying to raise money for relief

Veteran NBC anchor Tom Brokaw and his CBS counterpart Dan
Rather received a standing ovation onstage at the U.S.
television industry's top honors as a picture of ABC's Peter
Jennings, who died last month from lung cancer at age 67, was
displayed on a large screen behind them.

Brokaw resigned from NBC in November last year, and Rather
stepped down from his post at CBS this past spring following a
botched report on President George W. Bush's military record in
the Vietnam War era.

"I know that I speak for both of us when I say how deeply
touched we are by that reception, and it makes it all that much
more poignant in the absence of our colleague, Peter Jennings,"
Brokaw said.

Rather talked of Jennings fondly by saying that he "left us
too soon" with "too much good work ahead of him."

Brokaw said Jennings was once asked if the three rival
anchors were friendly. "Yes, we are friends," Brokaw recalled
Jennings saying, "and then he (Jennings) added laughingly,
because we don't see each other very much."

Rather talked about the recent coverage of Hurricane
Katrina and the damage and devastation to New Orleans and other
parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. "It reaffirms the
need for strong quality television journalism," he said.

Katrina's victims were on the minds of the stars at the
Emmys. Many of the actors and actresses wore white magnolia
flowers pinned to their tuxedos and gowns in honor of the
hurricane's victims.

Patricia Arquette, who won the Emmy for best actress in a
drama for "Medium," told reporters backstage that she had not
had much time to prepare for the awards because she was busy
working the relief effort.

James Spader, the winner for best dramatic actor in "Boston
Legal," said backstage that he was pleased to see so many of
his fellow performers pitching in to help.

"I was pleased to see that right away, people from this
business became involved," he told reporters. "It excuses all
the sort of silliness that we spend our lives pursuing."

Onstage, many performers expressed sorrow for the victims
and encouraged viewers to donate to relief causes, but one of
the show's funniest moment came when outspoken comedian Jon
Stewart was asked to talk about the aftermath of Katrina.

He launched into a comic routine in which all his critical
statements or foul language about the government and the early
relief effort were either bleeped out or covered up.