PBS leads networks in news Emmy nominations

By Sean Meehan

"How to Survive a Plague" an Independent Lens documentary on the early efforts to combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic, received a nomination for Best Documentary. PBS programs received three of the five nominations in the category.

“How to Survive a Plague” an Independent Lens documentary about early efforts to combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic, received an Emmy nomination for best documentary. PBS programs received three of the five nominations in the category. (Photo: Independent Lens)

PBS’s 43 nominations for News and Documentary Emmys topped all networks. Its programs will compete against each other in many categories. In some categories, including those for outstanding investigative journalism, best documentary and coverage of a current event, PBS earned more than half of the nominations.

Frontline, the documentary series produced by WGBH in Boston, led with 11 nominations, including three of the six nominations for investigative reporting. Those went to “A Death in St. Augustine,” “League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis” and “Rape in the Fields,” a co-production of Frontline and the Center for Investigative Reporting. Frontline’s “Outlawed in Pakistan” was nominated for long-form informational programming and outstanding research.

Two Frontline documentaries, “Egypt in Crisis” and “Syria Behind the Lines,” received nominations for coverage of a current news story, while “The Retirement Guide” and “The Untouchables” were both nominated for business and economic reporting. “The Bombing of Al Bara” earned Frontline another nomination for new approaches to documentary, a new category. The show’s final nomination was for a promotional spot for “League in Denial.”

Independent Lens came in a close second to Frontline with 10 nominations, including two nods in best documentary for “The Invisible War” and “How to Survive a Plague.” The documentary series dominated the documentary and long-form editing categories, receiving four of the six nominations.

In addition to its best-documentary nomination, “The Invisible War” will also compete in the investigative-reporting category against Frontline’s three nominations, while “The Revolutionary Optimists” brought PBS’s total nominations for business and economic reporting to three.

“Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry” was nominated for arts and culture programming, and Independent Lens picked up a nomination for graphic design and art direction as well.

POV earned a nomination in investigative reporting for “Special Flight,” which documented the plight of asylum seekers in Switzerland. POV also picked up two nominations for coverage of a current news story, for “Brooklyn Castle” and “The World Before Her.” Additional nominations for POV came in the long-form informational category, which went to “Reportero”; arts and culture programming, for which “Herman’s House” received a nomination; and outstanding interview, for “56 Up.”

PBS NewsHour received four nominations, including two for outstanding business and economic reporting in a regularly scheduled newscast for its stories “Is Globalization Wiping Out the American Surfboard Industry?” and “New Uses for Virtual Reality.” The show’s investigation on veteran-care backlogs was nominated for outstanding investigative journalism in a regularly scheduled newscast, while “Voices of the ACA” received a nomination for news discussion and analysis.

PBS NewsHour Weekend picked up two nominations, one for investigative journalism in a regularly scheduled newscast for a story about the high cost of generic prescriptions, and an outstanding-writing nomination for the story “Flying Coach,” written by John Larson.

Two PBS documentaries, “Defiant Requiem: Voices of Resistance” and Ken Burns’s “The Central Park Five,” received two nominations apiece. Doug Shultz earned a nomination for best writing for “Defiant Requiem,” which was also nominated for outstanding historical programming, a category in which PBS received three of the four nominations. “The Central Park Five” also received a nomination for historical programming, in addition to a best-documentary nomination.

Six other PBS programs received single nominations:

  • Need to Know, for best coverage of a news story in a news magazine, for its report “Dying to Get Back”;
  • Nova, for best science and technology programming, for “Manhunt — Boston Bombers”;
  • The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross with Henry Louis Gates Jr., for historical programming;
  • Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle, a documentary, for graphic design and art direction;
  • Lincoln@Gettysburg, for outstanding lighting direction and scenic design; and
  • American Experience, for best promotional announcement interstitial.

American Public Television picked up a nomination for Moyers & Company in the outstanding news discussion and analysis category. NPR also received a nomination in the new category of new approaches to documentaries for its online documentary, “Planet Money Makes a T-Shirt.”

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