- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 11, 2004

This year’s local Emmy awards will pit Tracey Neale against Shawn Yancy, one of the candidates vying to fill her old WTTG-TV (Channel 5) anchor chair.

The National Television Academy’s regional chapter nominated Ms. Neale and Ms. Yancy for best news anchor Monday night. The only other nominee is Mary Beth Marsden of ABC’s Baltimore affiliate WMAR-TV (Channel 2).

WTTG, the Washington area’s Fox affiliate, collected 32 nominations in all, more than any station. The chapter nominated ABC affiliate WJLA-TV (Channel 7) for 12 awards, CBS affiliate WUSA-TV (Channel 9) for nine and NBC affiliate WRC-TV (Channel 4) for four.

Other operations with multiple nominations include Comcast SportsNet, which is up for a record 12 awards.

The nominations cover programming that aired in 2003.

Ms. Neale co-anchored WTTG’s weekday 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. newscasts until December, when she bolted to WUSA. Keeping her old seat warm are Ms. Yancy, WTTG’s early morning anchor, and weekend anchor Laura Evans, both of whom have sought the job permanently.

WTTG is considering at least one outside candidate as well. Station managers are expected to decide who gets the gig between May 26, when the spring ratings sweep ends, and June 12, when the chapter announces this year’s Emmy winners.

Ms. Neale — who won the news anchor Emmy in 2002 and 2003 — also shares two nominations this year for her work profiling the Washington-area snipers.

Ms. Neale and WTTG producers Terri Tolliver and Jeff Gygax are nominated for a half-hour special on the snipers. They will compete against the producers of a WUSA special on the 40th anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination.

In addition, Ms. Neale, Ms. Tolliver and WTTG News Director Katherine Green share a nomination for the sniper profiles in the investigative reporting category. Also nominated: WTTG reports on passenger vans that roll over and the spate of animal deaths at the National Zoo.

The other nominees for reporting awards are WTTG’s Steve Chenevey, Jennifer Davis, Lou Holder, Virg Jacques, Elisabeth Leamy, Lark McCarthy, Beth Parker and Will Thomas; WJLA’s Sam Ford, Jay Korff and Ross McLaughlin; and WUSA’s Lesli Foster, J.C. Hayward and Mike Walter.

The chapter nominated two weather forecasters: WTTG’s Sue Palka and Gwen Tolbart.

WTTG colleague Dave Feldman is the sole nominee in the sports anchor category. Last year, there were no nominations in this category.

Two programs were nominated for best late-afternoon or evening newscast: WUSA’s 7 p.m. and WTTG’s 10 p.m. shows. WRC’s 6 a.m. and WTTG’s 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. shows were the only programs nominated for best morning or early afternoon newscasts.

‘Wishful thinking’

The rumor du jour: WUSA plans to give star anchor Gordon Peterson a diminished role — or dump him altogether — after his contract expires at the end of the year.

According to the chatter, WUSA will remove Mr. Peterson from its weekday 11 p.m. newscast — and possibly its 6 p.m. show, too — but he will continue to host his “Inside Washington” roundtable discussion Saturday evenings.

Mr. Peterson is revered by viewers and colleagues, although some wonder how he will click with Ms. Neale, who is expected to make her WUSA debut in late summer.

“It’s wishful thinking by his competitors,” said attorney Robert B. Barnett, who is negotiating a new deal for Mr. Peterson at WUSA. “Gordon plans to fulfill his contract and continue working into the future.” WUSA managers could not be reached.

Forget me not

This column overlooked “The Julian Tepper Show” when it mentioned the dearth of local talk shows on WTNT-AM (570) last week.

Call Chris Baker at 202/636-3139 or send e-mail to [email protected]

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