Travel writer Rick Steves has been nominated by The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Northwest Regional Chapter, to receive an EMMY Award for his role as host of the ACLU of Washington's "Marijuana: It's Time for a Conversation." The half-hour television program examines the history and current impacts of state and federal marijuana laws and invites viewers to consider, and discuss with others, whether those laws are working for our communities.
"Conversation" has been viewed more than 30,000 times in western Washington households subscribed to Comcast On Demand. It has received print and radio media coverage locally and nationwide, and it has been screened to capacity audiences at Spokane's Metropolitan Performing Arts Center and the Kirkland Performance Center. The associated website, MarijuanaConversation.org, has received over 320,000 hits.
Seattle network stations sparked some controversy when they refused to air the program during evening hours when most adults would be likely to be watching. KING-TV and its affiliate KONG would only run the program at 1:00 a.m. KOMO and KIRO refused to air the program at all.
"I'm thrilled, honored, and proud to be recognized for my part in this collaboration," Steves said of the nomination. "I believe media should be used to share ideas and opinions for the benefit of our communities. The networks' refusal to sell us time when we could engage more viewers on the issue of our nation's failed drug war strengthened my conviction that contributing to this project was good citizenship."
"Conversation" already has won two Silver Tellys (the highest award) for Information and Infomercial and a Bronze Telly for Political/Commentary from the Telly Awards, which honors outstanding local, regional, and cable TV commercials and programs. It also received Honorable Mention awards for Contemporary Issues/Awareness Raising and Viewer Impact: Content/Message Delivery from the Accolade Competition.
The EMMY Award recognizes outstanding achievements in broadcasting. The NATAS Northwest Regional Chapter serves Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Alaska, and Montana and received approximately 850 applications for EMMY Nominations this year. Winners will be announced at a ceremony on Saturday, May 30, at the Snoqualmie Casino.