Larry Wilmore and Norah O’Donnell host the 26th Annual Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame Awards Gala, at the iconic Waldorf-Astoria in NYC.
On Oct. 18, stars of the broadcasting industry – both from in front of and behind the camera – gathered together to celebrate at the Waldorf-Astoria in midtown Manhattan. Here, twelve inductees joined the ranks of nearly 400 industry pioneers who have been accepted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame during its 26-year history.
Camera flashes illuminated the Waldorf-Astoria Basildon Room as each honored guest walked the Hall of Fame red carpet. Legends of the field such as Robert K. Kraft took a moment for photos before continuing into the primary event space. Kraft is the founder, chairman and CEO of The Kraft Group. Among The Kraft Group’s holding are the New England Patriots and Gillette Stadium. Over the last 34 years, Kraft has contributed greatly to the growth of the NFL and their broadcast partnerships. As such, he was presented with the prized 2016 Chairman’s Award.
Eleven additional pioneers in broadcasting were inducted into the Hall of Fame for 2016. Many graced the red carpet, along with hosts for the evening: Larry Wilmore and Norah O’Donnell. Wilmore was kind enough to chat with thecelebritycafe.com before heading in to dinner.
We started by asking how he felt hosting the event. He responded in a warm and friendly manner: “I’m always honored to be asked to do these types of things. I think there are so many distinguished people in the business who don’t always get the recognition – that is kind of nice, that they deserve. So it’s nice to be invited to be a part of that type of thing.”
Earlier in the year, Wilmore was invited to host a very different sort of affair – the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner in Washington, D.C. We inquired what that experience was like.
“That was surreal from every angle you can imagine. But I have to say; the thing that I’ll probably remember the longest is the opportunity to have dinner with the First Lady. It was amazing. I mean, she is such an amazing person. Everyone else when you’re there, they’re ‘White House.’ You know, whether it’s secret service – even the President. Very nice, but he’s the President. The First Lady, she’s like a relative. She’s like someone you knew. I mean it was so – disarming isn’t the right word. It puts you at ease in a way. So I’ll always remember that. Very special.”
We asked how he felt gathering material for such a distinguished event at the White House. “Well that’s always tough, you know, when you’re doing that. And you know you’re not going to please everyone. Which I proved in a very nice way [laughing]. Which is fine, that’s part of the gig… But I had a lot of fun. And as I said, it was a once in a lifetime thing and the window for it to happen is gone now. So I’m glad that I got in there. I’m going to miss the President.”
Wilmore is known for his humor, which is often drenched in social and political commentary. We inquired as to whether he would be delivering any such jokes during the Broadcast and Cable Hall of Fame awards dinner. He replied: “I’ll try to sneak in a couple of jokes. I’m going on in the second half of the evening, so people are going to be a little dessert sleepy. So, you know, I don’t want to do – I want to make sure I give enough time for the people giving their ‘thank yous,’ so they have the time they need and the attention that they need.”
After two seasons, Wilmore’s The Nightly Show aired its last episode in August. Consequently, in closing we hoped to find out when fans might see him in front of the camera again. “That I don’t know. I’m still trying to figure out what’s the best way to do that. It’ll be in some form, but I’m not sure yet. But the outpouring of support and emotion I’ve gotten from people whether it’s online, in Twitter, in emails and everything. I’ve never experienced anything like that, it’s really amazing.”
As Wilmore continued on to the awards dinner, more honorees took to the red carpet. Among them was Deborah Norville – the longest running female anchor of a show. Gentlemen from TNT’s Inside The NBA were also recognized on this occasion. They smiled broadly and seemed to be having a great time together while posing for photos.
The mood at the Waldorf-Astoria was joyous and warm as honorees headed into the dining room. Each went on to receive awards – and much deserved applause – for years of dedication to the industry.