CHICAGO, IL — Cinema/Chicago and the Chicago International Film Festival honor the best in television programming and commercials at the 52nd Chicago International Television Awards April 20, 2016. Capping off a newly programmed three-day event of special screenings and panel discussions celebrating the importance and excellence in work being created for television, the annual awards ceremony will pay special tribute to some of the most respected, acclaimed personalities and entities working in television today. Receiving special awards this year are Director, Playwright and Emmy Award-Winning Actor Regina Taylor; Entertainment Reporter Janet Davies; Entertainment Reporter Bill Zwecker; and HBO. The celebratory evening, hosted by WGN’s Dan Ponce and Robin Robinson, begins at 6 p.m. with a cocktail reception at Lucky Strike Lounge (322 E. Illinois St.) followed by the Awards Ceremony at 7:30 p.m.“As viewers of television, we invite those who appear on the small screen into our homes, creating a personal and valued experience,” said Cinema/Chicago Founder/Director Michael Kutza. “Each one of this year’s honorees has taken that invitation to heart, whether it was allowing us to see a moving performance, sharing breaking entertainment news, enlightening us on the best films to see or introducing us to innovative, cutting-edge programming. Regina Taylor, Janet Davies, Bill Zwecker and HBO, as well as the deserving recipients for their work in commercial productions, are extraordinary examples of why television is so vital and meaningful.”For more than five decades, the Chicago International Television Awards have honored the inspiring programs, beloved personalities and powerful creatives that have shaped unforgettable moments of television. From innovative distribution approaches to groundbreaking storytelling, the Television Awards continue to recognize the talented minds of this ever-evolving medium.
WTTW Audience Choice Award and Cinema/Chicago Member Award
In addition to the awards presented to both individuals and companies who have made an indelible contribution to the television industry, The Television Awards will once again host the WTTW Audience Choice Awards. On Sunday, April 3 at 10 p.m., Wednesday, April 6 at 11 p.m. and Saturday, April 9 at 4:30 a.m., WTTW will present a dedicated program airing the top commercials up for the award. Viewers are then able to cast their vote for their favorite, and the winner will be announced live at the Awards Ceremony. Votes may be cast at wttw.com/commercials.
New this year, The Television Awards will also present the Cinema/Chicago Member Award.
Members of Cinema/Chicago will be mailed a ballot and have the chance to vote for their favorite television Drama and Comedy of 2015. The winner will also be announced during the Awards Ceremony on April 20.
Chicago International Television Awards Expanded Programming
The special Awards Ceremony concludes the newly expanded programming hosted by Cinema/Chicago. The three-day event features special screenings and engaging panel discussions including the season premiere episode of HBO’s “Veep,” followed by a discussion with cast member and Chicago native Gary Cole; the premiere episode of Amazon’s “Patriot,” followed by a discussion with writer/director Steve Conrad; a screening of the hit Chicago-filmed show “Empire,” followed by a discussion with members of the crew; and a special panel discussion featuring local content creators speaking about breaking into the business while unveiling never-before-seen clips from their new works.
About Regina Taylor | Career Achievement Award
Actress/director/playwright and Golden Globe-winner Regina Taylor will receive this year’s Career Achievement Award. Best known for her role as Lily Harper in “I’ll Fly Away,” she garnered a Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress, three NAACP Image Awards and two Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. Other television roles include “Dig,” “The Unit,” Masterpiece Theatre’s “Cora Unashamed” and the upcoming ABC pilot “Time After Time.” Taylor’s film credits include “The Negotiator,” “Courage Under Fire,” “A Family Thing,” “The Keeper,” “Clockers,” “Losing Isaiah” and “Lean on Me.” Taylor was also the first Black woman to play Juliet in William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” on Broadway. Other theater credits include “The Tempest” (L.A. Dramalogue Award), “As You Like It,” “Macbeth,” “Machinal,” “The Illusion” and “Jar the Floor.”
Taylor is also an accomplished playwright and director and as an Artistic Associate of Goodman Theatre, she is one of its most produced playwrights. Her play “stop.reset.” premiered at the Goodman, and then at Signature Theatre in New York City where she is a Residency Five playwright. Other playwright credits include “Crowns” (four Helen Hayes awards, including Best Regional Musical), “Oo-Bla-Dee,” (Steinberg-ATCA new play award) and “Drowning Crow,” (Broadway, Manhattan Theatre Club), “Magnolia” and “The Trinity River Plays” (Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award).
About Janet Davies | Chicago Legend Award
Receiving the Chicago Legend Award is entertainment reporter Janet Davies who joined ABC 7 Chicago as a reporter in August 1984. In addition to her feature and entertainment segments, which appear on ABC 7 News, Davies was the host and executive producer of “190 North,” a multiple Emmy award winning Chicago-based entertainment and lifestyle program and the longest running magazine program in Chicago broadcasting history. In addition to her entertainment reporting, Davies has traveled the world covering a diverse range of stories throughout her career. Other local program roles include co-anchor of the ABC7 Weekend Morning News, co- host/executive producer of both the #1 rated live broadcasts of “Countdown Chicago” on New Year’s Eve and “The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival,” in addition to hosting the Columbus Day, Southside Irish and Pride Parade broadcasts.
Davies came to ABC 7 from WPVI-TV’s “A.M. Philadelphia” and had previously worked at WBNS- TV in Columbus, Warner Cable’s Qube-TV– broadcasting’s first interactive cable talk show and WKRC-TV.
In addition to her journalistic commitments, Davies philanthropic work is vast, developing and serving on the Corporate Board of Directors for Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago as well as working with the Leukemia Research Foundation, The American Cancer Society, the Cradle, CARE, among others.
Born in Richmond, Virginia, Davies was raised in Cincinnati. She earned a B.A. degree from Miami University in Ohio.
About Bill Zwecker | Chicago Award
Chicago Sun-Times columnist and FOX Chicago entertainment reporter and film critic Bill Zwecker covers the globe finding out the latest news about celebrities for his readers and viewers and will receive this year’s Chicago Award. The Chicago native graduated from Princeton University and attended the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business. After working in politics (for former U.S. Sen. Charles Percy), banking and retail, Zwecker became the associate editor and columnist for Lerner Newspapers before joining the Chicago Sun-Times in 1992. Zwecker has worked as the entertainment reporter and film critic for WBBM-TV (CBS), WTMX-FM radio’s ”The Eric & Kathy Show,” WMAQ-TV (NBC) and as a regular contributor for ”The Joan Rivers Show.” He has also contributed to various national programs including “Access Hollywood,” “Entertainment Tonight,” “Extra,” the “Today Show,” “The NBC Nightly News,” “CBS Evening News,” “CBS Sunday Morning,” “Showbiz Tonight,” “Biography” on A&E and “Larry King Live.”
He was inducted as the first male in the Women in Film “Hall of Fame” in early October 2012, is the two-time recipient of the Peter Lisagor Award, has been nominated for three Emmy Awards and was part of the WBBM-TV news team honored with an Associated Press award. Other accolades include being named the ”Man of Vision” by the Midwest Eye Banks for his various civic and charitable contributions; receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award from The Israel Film Festival (along with Larry King and Hollywood producer, Laura Ziskin), and receiving awards from the Apparel Industry Board of Chicago and Victory Gardens Theater.
Zwecker’s philanthropic work in the Chicago area includes board memberships with Roosevelt University, the Chicago Academy for the Arts, the Off the Street Club, the Midwest Eye-Banks, Auxiliary Board, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Greater North Michigan Avenue Association, Auxiliary Board of Lincoln Park Zoo (founding member), Mental Health Association of Greater Chicago, Chicago Lung Association, Princeton Club of Chicago, Henrotin Hospital, Chicago Symphony Orchestra (Junior Governing Board), AIDS Foundation of Chicago, North Dearborn Association and the Headline Club of Chicago (Society of Professional Journalists).
About HBO | Commitment to Excellence in Television Productions
Receiving this year’s Commitment to Excellence in Television Productions Award is the is the premium television programming subsidiary of Time Warner Inc. and the world’s most successful pay TV service, Home Box Office, Inc. Providing two television services – HBO® and Cinemax® – to approximately 131 million subscribers worldwide, services offer the popular subscription video-on-demand products HBO On Demand® and Cinemax On Demand®, as well as HBO GO® and MAX GO®, HD feeds and multiplex channels. HBO NOW®, the network’s internet-only premium streaming service, provides audiences with instant access to HBO’s acclaimed programming in the U.S. Internationally, HBO branded television networks, along with the subscription video-on-demand products HBO On Demand and HBO GO, bring HBO services to over 60 countries. HBO and Cinemax programming is sold into over 150 countries worldwide. Accepting the award on the behalf of HBO will be Executive Vice President, Production, HBO Original Programming, Bruce Richmond.