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2006 Honorees

Betty Cohen is one of the cable industry’s most respected, innovative and consistently successful brand builders and programs. She is president and CEO of Lifetime Entertainment services, responsible for overseeing day-to-day operations of Lifetime Television, Lifetime Movie Network, Lifetime Real Women, Lifetime Online and a variety of other brand extensions. She has launched and run domestic and international cable channels, developed Websites, greenlighted and executive-produced original entertainment series and films, and presided over ancillary businesses. While at Turner Broadcasting Systems, Cohen oversaw the creation and launch of the all-animation Cartoon Network, later becoming President of Cartoon Network Worldwide. Cohen greenlit all Cartoon Network original programming and authorized all program acquisition deals, including The Powerpuff Girls, which generated more than $350 million in retail sales (2000).

Katie Couric is the anchor and managing editor of the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric, a 60 Minutes correspondent and anchor of CBS News primetime specials. She is the first female solo anchor of a weekday network evening news broadcast. Couric completed a 15-year run as co-anchor of NBC News’ Today Show last May, where she covered most major breaking news events and interviewed many top newsmakers — from presidents and prime ministers to captains of industry to cultural icons. After losing her husband, Jay Monahan, to colon cancer, Couric launched the National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance in association with the Entertainment Industry Foundation and Lilly Tartikoff. For her series on the disease, Couric received the George Foster Peabody Award and NBC received the 2001 RTNDA - Edward R. Murrow Award for Overall Excellence. She has won six Emmy Awards, among other honors.

Mable Haddock is the Founding President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC), a nonprofit national media arts organization committed to the presentation, funding, promotion, distribution and preservation of positive images of African Americans and the African Diaspora. She has been the driving force behind NBPC initiatives for over 20 years and her keen business sense and strong artistic vision have parlayed the organization into one of the leading and most trusted sources of funding and inspiration for countless African-American and African filmmakers. Since 1990, over six million dollars in NBPC funds have been dispersed to independent filmmakers, including numerous awarding-winning filmmakers and three MacArthur Fellows: Stanley Nelson, Charles Burnett, and Louis Massiah. NBPC funded works have won Emmy Awards and countless festival accolades.

Ellen Lewis is one of film’s leading casting directors. Her keen eye for talent and collaborative spirit have made her many top directors’ first choice. Lewis has cast nine Martin Scorsese features, beginning with Goodfellas through the current release, The Departed. (Cape Fear, The Age of Innocence, Kundun, Casino, Gangs of New York, Bringing Out the Dead and The Aviator). Her collaboration with Mike Nichols is also impressive (Postcards From the Edge, Regarding Henry, Wolf, The Birdcage, Primary Colors and for HBO, Wit (Emmy nomination) and Angels in America (shared Emmy Award). Lewis also moves effortlessly between working on major Hollywood hits and low-budget independent films. She has been nominated seven times for the Artois Award, given by the Casting Society of America, and has been a co-winner of the award.

John Wells is a multi-talented producer, writer and director. He is perhaps best known for his television work, including ER and The West Wing. ER continues to rank as NBC’s top-rated program for adults ages 18-49 and has earned an astounding 117 Emmy nominations, including 23 wins. The West Wing won four Best Drama Emmys during its run, garnering 95 nominations and 24 wins. Wells recently received the David Suskind Achievement Award in Television from the Producers Guild of America. He was the creator of a director training program, which paid women and minorities to learn the craft on set, later hiring them to direct their own episodes. In January, he co-founded the Showrunner Training Program with Writers Guild of America, West. This six-week program helps senior-level writers and writers with pilot scripts to develop the skills necessary to become show runners.

Samantha Bee, a correspondent for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, hails from Toronto, Canada and considers herself an American-in-training. Bee graduated from the University of Ottawa and liberated herself from the shackles of higher learning to seek a prestigious career in the field of acting. Four empty years later, Bee turned to comedy in a desperate bid to keep her brain alive. Since then, she has been writing and producing shows with her acclaimed all-female sketch comedy troupe "The Atomic Fireballs." She has also appeared in numerous commercial ad campaigns for Pillsbury, Kraft, Budweiser and Ford, among others, across Canada and the U.S.


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NYWIFT programs, screenings and events are supported, in part, by grants from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts