New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo scores International Emmy Award for coronavirus briefings — to Meghan McCain's chagrin

Kevin Polowy
·Senior Correspondent, Yahoo Entertainment
·3 min read

Depending on whom you ask, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s coronavirus briefings have been essential or tyrannical; informative or contentious; entertaining or maddening.

Now they’ll officially be Emmy Award-winning… or at least International Emmy Award-winning.

The International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences announced Friday that Cuomo will receive the institution’s Founders Award for his leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic and “his masterful use of TV to inform and calm people around the world.”

NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - 2020/09/29: New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo holds daily media announcement and briefing at 633 3rd Avenue, Manhattan. Governor discussed Stabilization and Recovery Program for the state as well as uptick of positive infections in some areas of the state. Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that he will meet with Orthodox Jewish leaders to address COVID-19 clusters in communities downstate. He emphasized importance of wearing masks, social distances and enforcement of compliance. (Photo by Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - 2020/09/29: New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo holds daily media announcement and briefing. (Photo by Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

“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 L. 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.”

Between March and June, Cuomo’s daily briefings have become must-see TV as he’s laid out, in sometimes brutally blunt fashion, the dangers of a disease that’s now claimed the lives of more than 250,000 Americans, engaged in a war of words with President Donald Trump, and included fascinating choices of visual aids.

Though there has been criticism directed towards Cuomo for a state directive that led to deaths of more than 6,400 nursery home residents at the onset of the pandemic, the Empire State’s 56th governor has largely received high grades for his active efforts in curbing the spread of COVID — especially in turning around the densely populated New York City, which was once considered the epicenter.

The politician hit peak popularity in late April when fans of his passionate handling of the pandemic branded themselves “Cuomosexuals.”

Cuomo’s latest recognition shows he’s popular beyond American borders. The International Emmys are generally handed out to the best television programs initially produced and aired outside the United States.

Past recipients of the honorary Founder’s Award include Vice President Al Gore, Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg.

Cuomo is the second member of the family to earn an Emmy; CNN-hosting brother Chris has a News Emmy in his trophy case.

Still, the news wasn’t universally well-received. Meghan McCain, currently on maternity leave from her day job as the resident conservative commentator on ABC’s The View, took to Twitter to voice her displeasure.

(As a View co-host, McCain is winless in three nominations for the Daytime Emmys, which are administered by the New York-based National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.)

Cuomo will receive the award during the Academy’s live International Emmy Awards show streaming Nov. 23 at www.iemmys.tv.

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