TV Academy adds six to Silver Circle

Carol Cooling-Kopp, longtime special events director at NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5 who died last week, will be inducted posthumously into the Silver Circle of the Chicago chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Also named Silver Circle honorees for 2014 were: Jerry Bryant, founder and producer of "JBTV," the longest running music television show in the country; Carole B. Cartwright, former manager of community programs at NBC 5 and former general manager of Chicago City Colleges' WYCC-Channel 20; Rich King, sports anchor at Tribune Broadcasting WGN-Channel 9; Mike Leonard, former Chicago-based reporter for NBC's "Today"; and Larry Yellen, news anchor and reporter at Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32.

All six were announced Sunday during the 55th annual Midwest regional Emmy Awards ceremony at Alhambra Palace. They will be honored at a dinner on May 9, 2014.

Cooling-Kopp rose from community relations assistant to director of special events and director of special projects programming during a 30-year career at NBC 5. "Carol worked longer and harder than anyone in this building," news anchor Allison Rosati said in an on-air tribute. Cooling-Kopp died after a battle with lung cancer last Wednesday at 56.

Kennedy-Nixon Debate (1960)

Kennedy-Nixon Debate (1960)

The Silver Circle recognizes individuals who have devoted 25 years or more to the industry and have made significant contributions to Chicago television.

In addition to inducting the six Silver Circle honorees, the academy also will present its Board of Governors Citation to members of the studio crew at WBBM-Channel 2 who worked on the first televised president debate between John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon on Sept. 26, 1960. The historic event took place in the former studios of the CBS-owned station at 630 North McClurg Court.

"On this one night they came together and participated in creating a tradition the lives today," the academy said in a statement. "Five of them are in their eighties and enjoy telling stories of that history making evening."

Here are the six 2014 Silver Circle honorees: