WTTG, WJLA Tie in Local Emmys

The late Chris Houston won the Ted Yates Award for
The late Chris Houston won the Ted Yates Award for "outstanding professional and personal qualities." Below, WTTG news anchor nominee Shawn Yancy. (Wusa)

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By John Maynard
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, June 11, 2006

For the past eight years, WTTG (Channel 5) has owned bragging rights as the station that wins the most awards on local Emmy night.

This year it'll have to share that boast.

Both WTTG and WJLA (Channel 7) walked away with 14 local Emmys last night in the annual ceremony honoring news coverage and other programming. The event was held at the Ritz-Carlton in Washington.

"There's a ground shift," said Fran Murphy, president of the local chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, about the results. "The balance of power is shifting."

WJLA has stepped up its effort to bring home more statuettes lately, this year submitting 72 entries compared with 53 in 2004. Murphy said it's "nice to see [WJLA] coming up and reaching for it."

WUSA (Channel 9) claimed 10 Emmys last night. But WRC (Channel 4), which in the recent May sweeps beat its competitors in every head-to-head newscast, walked back to Nebraska Avenue empty-handed. The station submitted just 25 entries, far fewer than the competition, and garnered just two nominations.

"They don't enter their news," Murphy said. "There are people who are kind of puzzled by that . . . and they work there."

Individuals typically enter their own work. From those submissions, judges from other television markets select the nominees and the winners.

Leon Harris, who co-anchors WJLA's 5 and 11 p.m. newscasts, won for best anchor, beating Brian Bolter and Shawn Yancy, co-anchors of WTTG's 5 and 10 p.m. newscasts.

It's the first local Emmy for Harris, who joined the ABC affiliate in 2003 after a 20-year career with CNN.

"No one is more surprised than I am," Harris said. "Now, I can finally stop answering the question, 'Why did you leave national TV?' "

Emmy organizers were relieved that a best anchor was even named: Last year, the marquee category, which is kind of like Best Actor on Oscar night, failed to earn a single nomination.


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