Man who blackmailed David Letterman nominated for a news Emmy

Robert "Joe" Halderman (Louis Lanzano - AP)
  Enlarge Photo    
By Lisa de Moraes
Friday, July 16, 2010

The Emmy Awards -- now officially the best trophy franchise ever.

One week after David Letterman's CBS late-night talk show was not nominated for best variety show for the first time in that show's history, the former CBS News producer jailed for trying to blackmail Letterman snagged an Emmy -- for work he did on the network's "48 Hours Mystery."

Robert "Joe" Halderman's is by far the most interesting nomination from among the crop of News and Documentary Emmy Award noms announced Thursday. Letterman, meanwhile, was snubbed the previous Thursday when the so-called Primetime Emmy Awards nominations were revealed for entertainment programs in prime-time and late-night TV.

Halderman's up for the job he did producing "American Girl, Italian Nightmare" on "48 Hours Mystery" about U.S. exchange student Amanda Knox, who was charged with murder in Italy. He's one of four producers nominated for the story in the competition for best continuing coverage of a news story by a newsmag.

Halderman, who was fired by CBS News, began serving his jail time in May after admitting in March he'd tried to squeeze $2 million out of Letterman in exchange for information he'd gathered about affairs Letterman had in the past with female show staffers, including Halderman's former girlfriend.

The News and Docu Emmys will be awarded on Sept. 27 in New York City. It's unclear whether, if Halderman wins, he'd be the first jailed national Emmy winner ever, but we think so.

Word of his nomination comes exactly one week after Letterman's "Late Show" was snubbed for the first time since it debuted in 1993. Where we come from, that's called "ironic" because Letterman got record ratings, rave reviews and broke new TV-content ground with the Halderman story. About 6 million people were spellbound on Oct. 1, as Dave admitted on national TV he had shagged show interns/staffers over the years and a guy was trying to blackmail him over it; Halderman was arrested that same day.

Northern exposure

Three days after ABC announced that it's picking up its Canadian-produced cop drama "Rookie Blues" for a second season because it attracts about 7 million viewers but only costs about as much as your average reality show, CW announced it had bought a scripted Canadian show about two 18-year-old childhood sweeties who run off and get married, to the consternation of their wacky, warring parents who "struggle to influence the newlyweds and control the extended family's destiny."

"18 to Life," originally developed last year at Canadian Broadcasting Co. with ABC in mind for its U.S. broadcast home, stars Stacey Farber ("Degrassi: The Next Generation") and Michael Seater ("Life With Derek") as the newlyweds.

CW, which notoriously wilts during summer months owing to its heavy rotation of serialized dramas, hopes "18 to Life" will attract people to their on-air promos for their new fall shows. Because a network can plaster its prime time in the summer with all the fall-series promos it wants, but if there's no one there to see them, they're kind of like that tree that falls in the forest when no one's there to hear it -- no noise.

CW says it will air two episodes of "Life" on Tuesdays for six weeks.

Death pays

Looks as though Discovery Channel's Tuesday telecast of the death of Capt. Phil Harris on reality series "Deadliest Catch" will be this week's most-watched program in the country among the viewers advertisers care about.

Overall, this week's episode attracted 8.5 million viewers, which is fewer people than watched this week's MLB All-Star Game on Fox (12 million viewers), NBC's "America's Got Talent" (11 million), and ABC's "The Bachelorette" (10 million).

But the "Deadliest Catch" episode beat them all among the 18-to-49-year-old viewers who are Lolita to Madison Avenue's Humbert Humbert. The episode averaged more than 5 million people in that age bracket; its closest competitor so far was the baseball game with 4.9 million. Looking out across the rest of the week, nothing looks to challenge "Catch," though you should never count out a Lifetime flick about a hooker with a heart of gold, especially when she's played by Jennifer "Love to My Friends" Hewitt. "The Client List" airs Saturday.

© 2010 The Washington Post Company