And the Emmy goes to ... Andrew Cuomo? Governor gets award for COVID briefings

Jon Campbell
New York State Team

ALBANY – And the International Emmy goes to: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Cuomo, a Democrat whose daily briefings at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic received extensive airplay across the nation, will receive the International Emmy Founders Award on Monday, reports the Democrat & Chronicle, a USA TODAY Network publication.

The governor is being recognized in part for his use of television to inform people of the latest coronavirus updates at the height of the state's outbreak in March and April, according to The International Academy Of Television Arts & Sciences, which granted him the award.

Cuomo held more than 100 consecutive days of COVID-19 briefings, many of which were broadcast on cable news networks internationally.

The governor will receive the International Emmy during a virtual award ceremony Monday. It's a separate ceremony from the better-known Primetime and Daytime Emmys, which focus on American television. 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo argued it was practically impossible and economically disastrous to close off travel with directly neighboring states, which is why he said he agreed to exempt them. Instead, Cuomo joined with New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont to "strongly discourage" nonessential travel between the three states.

“The Governor’s 111 daily briefings worked so well because he effectively created television shows, with characters, plot lines, and stories of success and failure,” International Academy President & CEO Bruce Paisner said in a statement.  

“People around the world tuned in to find out what was going on, and New York tough became a symbol of the determination to fight back.”

Cuomo said he was recently informed by the International Academy about the award.

He taped an acceptance speech that will be played during Monday's ceremony, Cuomo said.

"It's flattering," Cuomo said Friday during a conference call with reporters. "I accept it on behalf of the people of the state and I think it's flattering to the people of the state."

State Republican Party Chairman Nick Langworthy criticized the decision to grant Cuomo the award, calling it "proof positive that Hollywood lives in its own alternate reality."

"It's offensive to so many families that lost loved ones in New York," Langoworthy said in a statement. "Governor Cuomo definitely deserves an award for best actor in the fictional story lines that he’s created declaring himself a great leader."

New York has had more than 25,000 confirmed coronavirus deaths since the beginning of March. Nationwide, deaths have topped 250,000.

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Follow Jon Campbell on Twitter: @JonCampbellGAN.