Gerhard Zeiler receives Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Award in Miami

Luxembourg/Miami, 26 January 2011 – As the first Non-American TV executive, RTL Group CEO Gerhard Zeiler has been honoured with the 8th annual Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Award. The prestigious award was presented to Gerhard Zeiler by the global, non-profit programming association Natpe yesterday in Miami.

In his introductory remarks during the awards event, Mark Kaner, President of News Corp’s Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution, said: “I’ve never met anybody who loves programming more than he does and that shows in everything he does. He knows the difference between taking his work seriously and himself seriously. The first is essential, the second is a disaster.” In a video tribute, media entrepreneur Haim Saban said: “There is only one Mister TV Europe, and that’s Gerhard Zeiler.” Jeffrey Schlesinger, President of Warner Bros. International Television, said: “He’s easy to talk to, he says what he means. When you shake his hand you know you can take it to the bank.”

The Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Award is named in honour of Brandon Tartikoff, a former Programme Executive at the US network NBC, who was responsible for famous shows such as The Cosby Show, Cheers, Seinfeld, Alf, Knight Rider, The A-Team, Miami Vice all of which became hit formats around the world.

The award was created in 2004 to recognise innovative leaders and artistic visionaries in television who have shaped the business and inspired their colleagues. Previous recipients include creators and producers such as Anthony E. Zuiker (CSI franchise), Marc Cherry (Desperate Housewives), Dick Wolf (Law & Order), David E. Kelley (Ally McBeal), as well as TV executives such as Peter Roth, President of Warner Bros. Television, and Anne Sweeney, President of Disney ABC Television Group.

Alongside Gerhard Zeiler, the 2011 Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Award honoured Dick Ebersol, currently the Chairman of NBC Universal Sports & Olympics; Mary Hart, host of Entertainment Tonight; and broadcasting industry icon Regis Philbin, widely known for hosting the US version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? on ABC from 1999 to 2002.

“We believe that Dick, Mary, Regis and Gerhard have remarkably shaped the global television industry on both business and pop cultural levels, and truly embody the spirit of the Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Award,” said Natpe President & CEO Rick Feldman. “Both Natpe and Lilly Tartikoff Karatz are delighted to honour the recipients’ storied careers through this special celebration.”

Notes to the editors

Brandon Tartikoff is regarded as one of the medium’s greatest programmers who left an indelible imprint on the television industry. During his ten years as NBC’s chief programming executive (1980 to 1990), he was credited with turning around the network’s prime time ratings. His standout competitive achievement was called “the streak” – 68 straight wins in the weekly ratings race, from June 1988 to October 1989. On 27 August 1997, the man “who transformed TV in the 80’s” (New York Times) died, at 48, after a long battle with cancer.

The National Association of Television Programme Executives (Natpe) is a global, non-profit organisation dedicated to providing information, marketing and meeting opportunities in TV programming. Natpe sponsors a three-day annual content market and conference in January that draws attendees from more than 65 countries worldwide.


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About RTL Group
RTL Group is the leading European entertainment network, with interests in 40 television channels and 32 radio stations in 10 countries and content production throughout the world. The television portfolio of Europe’s largest broadcaster includes RTL Television in Germany, M6 in France, the RTL channels in the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Croatia and Hungary, Alpha TV in Greece, Ren TV in Russia and Antena 3 in Spain. RTL Group’s flagship radio station is RTL in France, and it also owns or has interests in other stations in France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain and Luxembourg. RTL Group's content production arm, FremantleMedia, is one of the largest international producers outside the US. Each year, it produces 9,500 hours of programming across 57 countries.