“The Beatles: The Night That Changed America,” the tribute special to celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Beatles' debut on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” won a Creative Arts Emmy® Award from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences at the ceremony held over the weekend, Variety reported Saturday. The program won in the category of Outstanding Music Direction. Don Was was music director for the special.
The TV show beat some diverse competition, including “The 67th Tony Awards” (CBS), “The 86th Academy Awards” (ABC), “Barbara Streisand: Back to Brooklyn” from PBS' “Great Performances” series, NBC's “The Sound of Music Live” with Kelly Clarkson and an episode of NBC's “Saturday Night Live” hosted by Jimmy Fallon. The musical guest for that "Saturday Night Live" was Paul McCartney.
“The Beatles: The Night That Changed America” was also nominated in three other Creative Emmy® categories. In the category for Outstanding Variety Special, it lost to “The AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to Mel Brooks.” For Outstanding Lighting Design/Lighting Direction For A Variety Special, it was runner-up to “The Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games Opening Ceremony.”
And for “Outstanding Sound Mixing For A Variety Series Or Special,” the award went to “The 56th Grammy Awards,” where, ironically, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr both appeared. The Grammy Awards show was also nominated, but lost, in the Outstanding Lighting Design category.
The Beatles show is also nominated for two more awards that will be handed out at the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards taking place at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles on Aug. 25 and being broadcast nationally on NBC. The program's executive producer Ken Ehrlich and writer David Wild are nominated for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special. Director Gregg Gelford is nominated for Outstanding Directing for a Variety Special.
"The Beatles: The Night That Changed America" was taped Jan. 27, 2014, the day after "The 56th Annual Grammy Awards." It was broadcast at 8 p.m. ET/PT Feb. 9, 50 years to the day, date and time of the original broadcast of "The Ed Sullivan Show" when the Beatles made their first appearance on the Sunday night TV variety series.
"This year's historic Beatles special and 56th Annual Grammy Awards telecast were spectacular musical and cultural celebrations filled with countless unique Grammy moments that recognized many extraordinary and gifted artists," said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy after the Emmy Award nominations were announced.
“These eight nominations for our two shows is a tribute to our truly amazing staff, most of whom worked on both of these shows simultaneously, which is no small feat," said Ehrlich, who acted as executive producer of both the Beatles special and the Grammy Awards telecast. He also acknowledged the cooperation of Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison.
HBO's “George Harrison: Living in the Material World” documentary was nominated for six Creative Emmys in 2012 and won two. Olivia Harrison was on hand for the ceremony.