American Scene "Crystal" Award to Posthumously Honor
William J. Bell at 2005 AFTRA Convention in Los Angeles
Los Angeles, July 11, 2005 – Daytime legend and Emmy-Award winning creator of "The Young and the Restless" and "The Bold and The Beautiful," William J. Bell will be honored with the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists’ (AFTRA) 2005 American Scene "Crystal" Award for his groundbreaking work, imagination, and talent in reflecting the diversity of the American Scene in daytime television.
Recognizing television, radio, and recording industry producers who portray the country’s diversity in a positive, balanced, and realistic manner, the American Scene "Crystal" Award will be presented during a special ceremony at AFTRA’s 60th National Convention on Thursday evening, July 14, at the Hollywood Museum.
"William J. Bell’s contributions, in an area of singular importance to our members, are second to none," observed AFTRA National President John P. Connolly. "In almost fifty years of writing and co-creating daytime dramas with his wife, Lee Phillip Bell – a legend herself in Chicago television – Bill Bell stood at the summit of his art. And in conceiving the richly diverse and emotionally engaging world known as Genoa City, his ‘The Young and the Restless’ was recognized with AFTRA’s 2003 American Scene Award. We will all miss him."
As part of AFTRA’s ongoing commitment to increasing equal access to employment opportunities for its diverse membership, the following American Scene Award recipients and producers will also be honored at a special afternoon ceremony during the AFTRA National Convention’s Friday session, in front of over 250 member-delegates and invited guests at the Hollywood Renaissance Hotel.
TELEVISION ENTERTAINMENT PROGRAMMING – ABC Entertainment and Touchstone Television are being recognized for creating a new form of diverse and innovative primetime programming: the Micro-Mini Series. A series of short, three-minute interstitial programs, divided into one-minute self-contained acts, were seamlessly integrated into ABC’s primetime lineup during the summer of 2004. These comedic, serialized Micro-Minis, featured a diverse group of performers from ABC’s Talent Development Casting Project, and were a joint effort of ABC, Touchstone, AFTRA, and other industry guilds and unions.
DAYTIME DRAMA – NBC/Universal Studios’ "Passions" is being honored for its consistent level of diversity in casting for all roles. Situated in the fictional New England town of Harmony, "Passions" began in 1999 with four core families, one of which was and continues to be the Lopez-Fitzgeralds. By ensuring diversity in its casting from the very beginning, this drama exemplifies the richness of the American scene on daytime television.
TELEVISION NEWS STATION – Part of the Viacom Television Stations Group, Los Angeles’ KCBS/KCAL is being given an award for having one of the most diverse news teams in the country. Its anchors and newspersons represent the diversity of the greater Los Angeles viewing area and give voice to the richness of the community through breaking stories, specials, and everyday features.
DOCUMENTARY NEWS FEATURE – WPXI-TV is being honored for saluting its diverse community with "Young, Gifted and Black: Pittsburgh’s African American Achievers." This documentary featured stories of three African American professionals whose talent brought them national acclaim. From WNBA player Swintayla Marie Cash, who grew up in some of the toughest housing projects, to Dr. Dwight Heron, a radiation oncologist at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, the documentary’s stories inspire the community and add to the fabric of the American scene.
The following PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT AWARDS are being presented directly to the recipients in St. Louis, Missouri, in the fall. The Experiment agency will be honored for two radio PSA’s, "Te Amo" and "200," which featured a diverse group of citizens coming together for a common goal: teaching city school kids through an innovative mentoring partnership. As part of the Diversity Awareness Partnership, KMOV-TV will be given an award for having chosen twelve St. Louis area High School students to write and produce PSA’s promoting the diversity of cultures in the area, and encouraging viewers to "make a difference by accepting everyone else."
A special recognition was also made honoring the groundbreaking career of broadcaster and union activist, Belva Davis. "For her personal and professional contributions to this union, and to diversity and equality in broadcast journalism, I hereby rename the Television News Station award in her honor," said AFTRA National President John P. Connolly, in presenting her with the first American Scene "Belva Davis" Award.
Ms. Davis is the recipient of numerous professional awards, and has worked continuously in television since 1966, when she became the first African-American female television reporter on the West Coast. A recipient of the AFTRA Gold Card in 1997, she has served for many years as a National Vice President of AFTRA, and is the National Chairperson of the union's Equal Employment Opportunities Committee.
Administered by the union’s Equal Employment Opportunities Committee (EEOC), the American Scene Awards® are made possible by the AFTRA Foundation and have been presented since 1986.
The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists – affiliated with the AFL-CIO – is a diverse national union representing over 70,000 professional performers, broadcasters and recording artists in 32 Locals throughout the country. AFTRA members work as actors, broadcast journalists, dancers, singers, announcers, hosts, comedians and disc jockeys in all aspects of the media industries including television and radio, sound recordings, commercials, industrial non-broadcast, interactive games, and the Internet. For more information, visit www.aftra.com.