Our History

As the medium of television grew up, program directors at local U.S. television stations felt a need for a program specific forum to discuss and resolve the challenges faced as a result of the Prime Time Access Rule, which gave responsibility for programming between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. to local stations and program directors. Encouraged by syndicated programming salesmen, 64 program directors (NATPE's charter members) named Stan Cohen of WDSU New Orleans temporary president and set about organizing a meeting.

The first formal meeting of the National Associates of Television Program Executives was held in May of 1964 at the New York Hilton Hotel and drew 71 registrants. The majority of participants where program directors. During that historical first two-day meeting in New York, the topics of discussion ranged from 'The Network's Relationship to Local Programming' and 'Where Do You Find Talent?' to 'Government's Influence on Programming' and 'Successful Formats for Handling Politicians & Political Issues.' In spite of the myriad of change the television industry has experienced over the past 40 years, some things still remain the same.

Like the membership it serves, NATPE too has changed dramatically over the past 40 years. NATPE's membership grew from 64 to 210 by 1970; up to 1,206 in 1980; 1818 in 1990 and to a whopping 3,812 by the new millennium, January 2000. Like its membership, NATPE's annual conference has also shown incredible growth. Moving from New York to Chicago, New Orleans, Miami, Houston, San Francisco, Atlanta and Las Vegas as it also migrated from May to February, to March, back to February and eventually settled into January. The event added exhibition suites in 1980 and an exhibit floor in 1981. By the early 80s the international television industry was experiencing tremendous growth and looked to NATPE as others had before as a place to share ideas and confront challenges.

As a vital link between the television industry, the academic community and students, the NATPE Educational Foundation, was formed in 1978. Its mission is to reach out to students by providing hands-on opportunities for them and their teachers in order to help prepare them for a future in television. NATPE's Educational Foundation, underwritten by membership fees and the support of sponsors and special endowments, provides a number of annual fellowship, grants and prizes to the academic community. Lew Klein, one of the founders of NATPE and an early president of the organization, continues his dedication to the association as president of the Educational Foundation.

Today, NATPE continues to redefine itself and the services it provides to the ever-changing global television industry. Encouraging progress, NATPE keeps members apprised of the changes occurring daily in the global media environment. NATPE also remains committed to providing its members with education, networking, professional enhancement and technological guidance by publishing timely directories and offers a full compliment of online services to its membership, in addition to its role as the only American program market serving the worldwide television community.

May 1964
New York
Temporary President: Stan Cohen
WDSU, New Orleans
71 none none none
May 1965
New York
Stan Cohen WDSU, New Orleans 100 none none First Man of the Year Award: Bob Keeshan (Captain Kangaroo)
May 1966 Chicago Roy A. Smith WLAC, Nashville 106 none none Man of the Year: David Wolper
May 1967
New York
John Haldi WBNS, Columbus 114 none none Man of the Year: Fred Friendly
Feb. 1968
New Orleans
Peter Kizer, WOOD, Grand Rapids 129 none none Man of the Year: Ed Sullivan Introduction of the Program Excellence Awards
Feb. 1969
Los Angeles
Lew Klein, WFIL, Philadelphia 180 2 none Man of the Year: Rowan & Martin 2nd annual Program Excellence Awards 1st scholarship award granted
Feb. 1970
Ian Harrower, WWJ, Detroit 326 6 none Man of the Year: Walter Cronkite 3rd annual Program Excellence Awards 2 scholarship awards established
Feb. 1971
Herb Victor, KGO, San Francisco 403 11 none Man of the Year: Roone Arledge 4th annual Program Excellence Awards
Feb. 1972
San Francisco
John Comos, WSJS, Winston- Salem 532 15 none Man of the Year: Carroll 'Connor 5th annual Program Excellence Awards
Feb. 1973
New Orleans
Allen Sternberg, WCKT, Miami 804 19 none Man of the Year: Mike Douglas 6th annual Program Excellence Awards
Feb. 1974
Los Angeles
Harry Twigg, WMAQ, Chicago 1,101 31 none Man of the Year: Earl Hammer, Jr. 7th annual Program Excellence Awards
Feb. 1975
James A. Ferguson, WAGA, Atlanta 1,352 32 none Man of the Year, now called Person of the Year: Barbara Walters 8th annual Program Excellence Awards
Feb. 1976
San Francisco
Marvin A. Chauvin, WOTV, Grand Rapids 1.891 42 none Person of the Year: Dinah Shore Scholarship awards now titled Lee Waller Memorial Scholarship Awards 9th annual Program Excellence Awards
Feb. 1977
Phil Boyer, ABC O&O stations, New York 2,204 51 none Person of the Year: Fred Silverman 10th annual Program Excellence Awards now called the Iris Awards
Feb. 1978
Los Angeles
Jim Major, WJBK, Detroit 2,819 56 none NATPE Educational Foundation formed Person of the Year: Jerry Lewis Lee Waller Memorial Scholarship Awards increased from 2 to 4 11th annual Iris Awards
Mar. 1979
Las Vegas
A. R. Van Cantfort, WSB, Atlanta 3,380 71 225 Person of the Year changed to Award of the Year: Bob Hope Lee Waller and Mort Rosenman Scholarship Awards 12th annual Iris Awards
Feb. 1980
San Francisco
Chuck Gingold, WABC, New York 3,939 79 251 Award of the Year: Carol Burnett First annual President's Award: Lew Klein 12th Lee Walker and Mort Rosenman Scholarship Awards
Feb. 1981
New York
Lucille Salhany, Taft Broadcasting, Cincinnati 5,440 278 261 (22 floor) Award of the Year: Phil Donahue President's Award: Lionel Van Deerlin 13th annual Lee Walker and Mort Rosenman Scholarship Awards 14th annual Iris Awards
Mar. 1982
Las Vegas
Steve Currie, KOIN, Portland 5,551 259 262 (55 floor) Award of the Year: Lucille Ball President's Award: Donald H. Mcgannon 14th annual Waller and Rosenman Internship and Scholarship Awards 15th annual Iris Awards
Feb. 1983
Las Vegas
Chuck Larsen, WABC (and Almi Program Productions), New York Phil Corvo new Executive Director 5,927 271 243 (75 floor) Award of the Year: Garry Marshall President's Award: William S. Paley and Sol Taishoff 16th annual Iris Awards
Feb. 1984
San Francisco
Stan Marinoff, WISN, Milwaukee 6,387 278 211 First year of Faculty Development Grants (replaces Scholarship Internship Awards) Sponsored by Educational Foundation Award of the Year: Johnny Carson President's Award: Elton H. Rule and Dick Clark 17th annual Iris Awards
Jan. 1985
San Francisco
John Von Soosten, KATZ Television, New York 6,882 291 225 (119,000 sq ft) Award of the Year: Alan Alda President's Award: Robert M. Bennett and James H. Quello 18th annual Iris Awards
Jan. 1986
New Orleans
Bob Jones, KYW, Philadelphia 7,125 306 259 (180,000 sq ft) Award of the Year: Jackie Gleason President's Award: KING-TV, Seattle and WBTV, Charlotte and WCCO, Minneapolis/St. Paul 19th annual Iris Awards
Jan. 1987
New Orleans
David Simon, Fox Television Stations, Los Angeles 7,836 297 257 (204,000 sq ft) Award of the Year: Norman Lear NATPE office moves to Los Angeles in August President's Award: BBC, NBC and Bob Bernstein 20th annual Iris Awards
Feb. 1988
Deb McDermott, WKRN, Nashville 7,534 350 225 (245,000 sq ft) Award of the Year: Hanna & Barbera President's Award: Carl Russell 21st annual Iris Awards
Jan. 1989
Position of President becomes Chairman: Joe Weber, MMT Sales, New York ` Position of Executive Director becomes President: Phil Corvo 7,874 650 228 (240,000 sq ft) Award of the Year: Merv Griffin President's Award changed to Chairman's Award: Sheldon Leonard 22nd annual Iris Awards
Jan. 1990
New Orleans
Lon Lee, KCNC, Denver 8,574 463 230 (232,000 sq ft) Award of the Year retitled to Lifetime Achievement Award: Betty White Chairman's Award: Joel Chaseman and George Heinemann 23rd annual Iris Awards
Jan. 1991
New Orleans
Vicky Gregorian, WHLL, Boston 8,915 384 277 (245,000 sq ft) Lifetime Achievement Award: Dick Clark 1st Educational Foundation Award: Nancy Claster Chairman's Award: Children's Television Workshop 24th annual Iris Awards
Jan. 1992
New Orleans
Rick Reeves, WTAJ, Altoona 8,674 437 274 (244,000 sq ft) Lifetime Achievement Award: Andy Griffith Educational Foundation Award: Alex Haley Chairman's Award: Fred Ziv 25th annual Iris Awards
Jan. 1993
San Francisco
Pat Patton, KMBC, Kansas City 10,450 696 295 (258,000 sq ft) Lifetime Achievement Award: Milton Berle Educational Foundation Award: Ken Burns Chairman's Award: Don Hall 26th annual Iris Awards
Jan. 1994
Miami Beach
Chairman: Lou Gattozzi, WJW, Cleveland New President: Bruce Johansen 11,650 847 392 (294,000 sq ft) Lifetime Achievement Award: Jim Henson (posthumously) Education Foundation Award: Charles Kuralt Chairman's Award: Phil Corvo 27th annual Iris Awards
Jan. 1995
Las Vegas, Sands Expo Center/ Mirage Hotel
Russ Myerson, The Game Show Network, Los Angeles 15,750 395 490 (350,000 sq ft) Exhibitors: 490 (350,000 sq ft) Lifetime Achievement Award: Aaron Spelling Educational Foundation Award: Norman Lear Chairman's Award: Rupert Murdoch 28th annual Iris Awards
Jan. 1996
Las Vegas (22-25)
Carolyn Worford, WJBK-TV, Detroit 17,694 1,218 Lifetime Achievement Award: Thomas S. Murphy Educational Foundation Award: National Geographic Society, accepted by Gibert M. Grosvenor, President/Chairman Chairman's Award: Kay Koplovitz 29th annual Iris Awards
Jan. 1997
New Orleans (13-16)
Jayne Adair, KDKA-TV, Pittsburgh 16,700 900 670 (400,000 sq ft) Lifetime Achievement Award: Carl Reiner Educational Foundation Award: Mobil Corporation, accepted by Robert J. O'Leary, member of Mobil Corporation's Senior Executive Committee Chairman's Award: Fred Rogers 30th annual Iris Awards
Jan. 1998
New Orleans (19-22)
Greg Meidel, Universal Television Group, Los Angeles 17,250 1,326 700 (407,000 sq ft) Lifetime Achievement Award: Grant Tinker Educational Foundation Award: David L. Wolper Chairman's Award: James H. Quello 31st annual Iris Awards
New Orleans (25-28)
Nick Trigony, Cox Broadcasting, Atlanta 17,440 1,162 715 (417,000 sq ft) Creative Achievement Award: Ron Howard and Brian Grazer, Imagine Entertainment Chairman's Award: John G. Conomikes
Jan. 2000
New Orleans (24-27)
Susan Grant, CNN Newsource, Atlanta 17,520 943 780 (415,000 sq ft) Creative Achievement Award: Merv Griffin Chairman's Award: Sid Caesar
Jan. 2001
Las Vegas (22-25)
Steve Mosko, Columbia TriStar Television Distribution, Los Angeles 20,348 1,089 870 (451,000 sq ft) Chairman's Award: Jerry Seinfeld
Jan. 2002
Las Vegas (21-24)
Jon Mandel, MediaCom, New York 10,125 538 553 (140,000 sq ft) Chairman's Award: Ted Koppel
Jan. 2003
New Orleans, (20-23)
Tony Vinciquerra, Fox Networks Group, Los Angeles 7,143 391 350 (128,000 sq ft) Chairman's Award: Rep. W.J. Billy Tauzin, U.S. House of Representative (R-La)
Jan. 2004
Las Vegas (18-20)
Peggy Kelly, Universal McCann, New York 6,515 448 353 (180,000 sq ft) Legacy Award:   Gail Berman, Mark Burnett, Marcy Carsey, Tom Werner and Caryn Mandabach, and Ken Lowe
Jan. 2005
Las Vegas (25-27)
Stephen J. Davis, Granada America, New York & John Weiser, Sony Pictures Television, Culver City 7,314 565 361 (170,000 sq ft) Legacy Award:  Carole Black, James Burrows and Dick Wolf
Jan. 2006
Las Vegas (24-26)
Stephen J. Davis, InfoSpace, Los Angeles & John Weiser, Sony Pictures Television, Culver City 7,515 476 365 (190,000 sq ft) Legacy Award:  Stephen Bochco, Marc Cherry and Pat Mitchell
Jan. 2007
Las Vegas (15-18)
Stephen J. Davis, InfoSpace, Los Angeles & Emerson Coleman, Hearst-Argyle Television, New York N/A Legacy Award:  Stephen J. Cannell, Bonnie Hammer, Harry Friedman, Anthony E. Zuiker
Jan. 2008
Las Vegas (28-31)
Co-Chairs Kevin Beggs, Lionsgate and Roma Khanna, (formerly) NBC Universal International N/A Legacy Award:  Mark Itkin, Peter Roth, Nancy Tellem, Bob Wright
Jan. 2009
Las Vegas (26-29)
Co-Chairs Kevin Beggs, Lionsgate and Roma Khanna, (formerly) NBC Universal International N/A Legacy Award:  Chuck Lorre, Tyler Perry, Ben Silverman, Anne Sweeney
Jan. 2010
Las Vegas (25-27)
Kevin Beggs, Lionsgate N/A Legacy Award:  Jeff Gaspin, David E. Kelley, Irwin Gotleib, Judge Judith Sheindlin || Digital Luminary Awards:  Hearst Television, Inc., Google Android, The Guild, Omneon, Xbox LIVE
Jan. 2011
Miami (24-26)
Jordan Levin, Generate & Chris Grant, Electus 4,900 Legacy Award:  Dick Ebersol, Mary Hart, Regis Philbin, Gerhard Zeiler || Digital Luminary Awards: ControlTV, IKEA, The LXD, Gary Vaynerchuk, AOL
Jan. 2012
Miami (25-28)
Jordan Levin, Generate & Chris Grant, Electus 5,000 Legacy Award:  Cecile Frot-Coutaz, Fernando Gaitán, Dennis Swanson, Matthew Weiner  || Digital Luminary Awards: NASA: Juno, Leap Year, Yahoo!, Charlie Todd, Wainy Days, Aim High

Jan. 2013
Miami (28-30)
Jordan Levin, Generate 5,000
Legacy Award:  Steve Levitan, John Langley, Debra Lee, Herbert Kloiber

Jan. 2014
Miami (27-29)
Jordan Levin, Generate 5,000
Legacy Award:  Emilio Azcarraga Jean, James L. Brooks, Jon Feltheimer, Lauren Zalaznick

Jan. 2015
Miami (20-22)
Jordan Levin, NFL 5,000
Legacy Award:  Linda Bell Blue, Gustavo Cisneros and Adriana Cisneros, Jay Leno, Jonathan Murray, Ted Sarandos

Jan. 2016
Miami (27-29)
Kevin Beggs, Lionsgate Entertainment 5,500
Legacy Award:  Steve Harvey, Doug Herzog, Quincy Jones, Sophie Turner Laing and Norman Lear

Jan. 2017
Miami (16-18)
Kevin Beggs, Lionsgate Entertainment 5,000
Legacy Award:  Dana Walden, Gary Newman, Josh Sapan, Susanne Daniels, Randy Falco, and Eva Longoria

Throughout its history, NATPE has presented the following awards:

Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Award
Iris Awards 
Creative Achievement Award 
Chairman's Award 
NATPE Educational Foundation Award 
NATPE Scholarship Award
NATPE Digital Luminary Award
NATPE Reality Innovator Award
NATPE Reality Breakthrough Award
NATPE Unscripted Breakthrough Award

Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Awards

The Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Awards were inaugurated in 2004 and presented at a special reception held during the NATPE Conference and Exhibition in Las Vegas. Named in honor of Brandon Tartikoff, arguably one of the medium's greatest programmers whose imprint on the television industry will be viewed forever, the Legacy Awards were created to recognize a select group of television professionals who exhibit extraordinary passion, leadership, independence and vision in the process of creating television programming and to evoke the spirit of Tartikoff's generosity. The Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Awards are held in association with Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and Variety. Legacy Award submissions are initially collected online through NATPE's website with NATPE's Executive Committee and the executive editorial staffs of the sponsoring trade publications making the final selection of honorees.

In announcing the inaugural Legacy Award recipients, NATPE President and CEO Rick Feldman stated,'...These Awards were specifically designed to honor those who champion excellence in the development and creation of programming...'

Chairman's Award (1980 to 2003)

NATPE's President's Award was first introduced in 1980 and presented to Lew Klein, co-founder of NATPE and Gateway Communications during its annual Conference & Exhibition. The President's Award, renamed the NATPE Chairman's Award in 1989, recognized outstanding contributions by individuals and companies for the advancement of the television industry and is given at the discretion of the NATPE Chairperson. View complete list of Chairman's Award Recipients.

Creative Achievement Award (1965 to 2002) NATPE's Man of the Year award was first introduced in 1965 and honored an individual who made an outstanding contribution to the television industry. In 1975, when the Man of the Year was a female journalist by the name of Barbara Walters, the award name was changed to NATPE's Person of the Year award. In 1979, the name was shortened to simply Award of the Year but in 1990, it was changed again, this time to NATPE's Lifetime Achievement Award. In 1999, the award was further defined by changing its name once more, to NATPE's Creative Achievement Awards, and is now given out at the discretion of the NATPE board of directors when it is felt that there is a deserving recipient.

Iris Awards (1968 to 2000)

The Program Excellence Awards were first introduced in 1968 and were later renamed the NATPE Iris Awards in 1977. As the only national award to honor quality local programming, NATPE's annual Iris Awards were the industry's symbol for programming excellence, coveted by both the creative community as well as television station and cable system management. Recognizing that it takes a little more to deliver good local programming - more patience, more time and usually more creativity to compensate for the limited budgets that are synonymous with local programming - the Iris Awards were judged by industry executives who understood what it took to get the job done. In addition to industry recognition, NATPE's Iris Awards also provided local program producers with a career enhancing opportunity to meet key decision-maker from the nation's leading television companies. These awards were presented in conjunction with the annual NATPE Conference and Exhibition through 1997. In 1998, 1999 and 2000, the awards were presented during a special luncheon ceremony in Los Angeles.

NATPE Educational Foundation Award (1992 to 1998)

Introduced in 1992, the Educational Foundation Award was presented to Alex Haley for his phenomenal success with Roots, changing the face of television and educating millions about America's history and its struggles with slavery. The Educational Foundation Award would continue to be bestowed on companies and individuals in recognition for their excellence in and support of using television programming as an educational tool. The award is presented at the discretion of the president and board of the NATPE Educational Foundation.

NATPE Scholarship Award (1969 to 1983)

Introduced in 1969, the award name was changed to Lee Waller Memorial Scholarship Awards in 1976 and increased to four scholarships. In 1979, Mort Rosenman's name was also added to the Scholarship awards. In 1984, Faculty Development Grants replaced Scholarship Internship Awards.

NATPEs Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Award is presented each year at a special reception during the annual NATPE Market and Conference. Held in association with Broadcasting and Cable and Multichannel News, the Legacy Award honorees are selected by NATPEs Executive Committee with input from the editorial staffs of the two trade publications.

Named in honor of Brandon Tartikoff, arguably one of the mediums greatest programmers whose imprint on the television industry will be viewed forever, the Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Award was created to recognize a select group of television professionals who exhibit extraordinary passion, leadership, independence and vision in the process of creating television programming and in evoking the spirit of Tartikoffs generosity.

The Educational Foundation was founded in 1978 to promote educational activities on behalf of NATPE. Through seminars, grants, workshops, meetings, instructional videotapes and conferences, the Foundation has reached out to NATPE members, the academic community and students to help prepare them for a future in television. Lew Klein, co-founder of NATPE, created the Foundation and serves is its president.

In 1980, the Foundation began placing BEA faculty members into summer internships at industry organizations. In 1984, the program was expanded to include faculty at all two- and four-year colleges and universities. Over the years, the Faculty Development Grant has placed over 125 instructors at organizations around the country.

As part of the Faculty Development Grant, recipients were also invited to attend the annual Conference and Exhibition free of charge. This program was later expanded to include additional faculty members, and special faculty-only sessions were added to the Conference activities. This evolved into the Faculty Fellowship Program, which has made the NATPE Conference accessible to hundreds of instructors worldwide.

Reaching hundreds more instructors, and thousands of students, are the Living Curriculum series of videotapes (and now DVDs) distributed to colleges and universities. Featuring key sessions from each year’s Conference, the Living Curriculum series has been distributed since the 1990s.

Starting in 1986 at American University, the Foundation began programming educational seminars and workshops for instructors and industry professionals. These sessions have taken different forms over the years. They’ve occurred as live seminars, “tele-workshops” and video workshops in an effort to reach as wide an audience as possible.

In the mid-1980s, the Foundation also began expanding its direct outreach to students – first through an association with the National College Television Society, and later through a video PSA contest that eventually became the Student Video and Film Production Award. To date, over $100,000 has been awarded to student producers and schools creating quality video productions.

By the late 1990s, the Foundation implemented a series of Student Career Workshops aimed at helping students prepare for jobs in the industry. Foundation Career Expos in Sydney, Australia, in 1998 and 1999, and a similar session at the Sorbonne in Paris in 2000, were the prototypes for the Student Career Workshops which have taken place across the U.S. since 2001. Workshops for 100-200 students have been held in New York, Miami, Los Angeles, New Orleans, San Francisco, South Carolina, and Washington, D.C.