Letterman Blackmailer Nominated for News Emmy

Robert Halderman was nominated as a producer on “48 Hours Mystery” about the Amanda Knox case

CBS received 31 nominations in the 31st annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards, announced Thursday, but the one that will receive the most attention is the nomination of Robert Halderman, the former CBS producer now serving jail time for attempting to blackmail David Letterman.

The awards are presented by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. The winners in all 41 categories will be announced Sept. 27 in ceremonies at Frederick P. Rose Hall in Lincoln Center.

Halderman was part of the CBS "48 Hours Mystery" team nominated in the Outstanding Continuing Coverage of a News Story in a News Magazine for the segment "American Girl, Italian Nightmare," about the arrest and conviction of Amanda Knox.

Halderman was one of four producers for the program, which was executive produced by Susan Zirinsky.

Halderman pleaded guilty and was sentenced to six months in jail for his efforts to blackmail CBS late-night host Letterman about affairs he was having with members of his staff. He started serving his sentence on May 4, so will still be in jail when the awards are handed out.

"48 Hours Mystery" is up against two other pieces from CBS' "60 Minutes," "Closing the Clinic" and "War in Pakistan"; one from "Dan Rather Reports," "Excerpts From Afghanistan"; and a "Frontline" report, "World Children of the Taliban."

PBS got the most nominations with 37, followed by CBS with 31, HBO with 20, National Geographic with 19 and NBC with 17. ABC received nine nominations, CNN and History Channel six apiece and CNBC four.

CBS' "60 Minutes" was the individual news program nominated for the most awards with 16 awards. In addition to its two in the Outstanding Continuing Coverage of a News Story in a News Magazine, "60 Minutes" received four of the five nominations in the Best Reporting in a News Magazine category, three of the five nominations in the Outstanding Feature Story in a News Magazine category, two for Outstanding Interview, and one each in the Outstanding Investigative Journalism in a News Magazine and Outstanding Business and Economic Reporting in a News Magazine, and in three other categories.

"CBS Evening News with Katie Couric" was nominated for eight awards, "NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams" and "National Geographic Explorer" were nominated for six, "Dateline NBC" for five, PBS "Frontline" for four, CBS' "48 Hours Mystery" for three, and ABC's "20/20," NBC's "Today," "CBS News Sunday Morning" and HD Net's "Dan Rather Reports" for two each.

HBO's Documentary Films received 19 of HBO's 20 nominations for assorted projects.

"From the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, to the struggling American economy, to the inauguration of Barack Obama, 2009 was a significant year for major news stories," Bill Small, chairman of the News & Documentary Emmy Awards, said in a statement. "The journalists and documentary filmmakers nominated this year have educated viewers in understanding some of the most compelling issues of our time, and we salute them for their efforts."

This year's Lifetime Achievement Award will be given to Frederick Wiseman, a three-time Emmy winner, who has produced and edited 38 documentary films that have chronicled American life.

For a complete list of nominees, go to the NATAS website.