Individual 1999

Personal Award: Sheila Nevins

Home Box Office

Sheila Nevins is one of the true independent spirits in television today, whose passion and vision consistently create excellence. In an age when much television programming seems to be seeking a lower and lower common denominator, Ms. Nevins aims high and is typically on target. Sheila Nevins was named executive vice president, original programming for Home Box Office in April 1999. In that role, she is responsible for overseeing the development and production of all documentaries and family programming for HBO and Cinemax. She had been senior vice president, original programming since 1995. During her tenure, HBO’s critically acclaimed documentary and family programs have won numerous awards, including (by last count) more than 15 Peabodys. In fact, she produced (with Ms. Magazine) the very first cable program to receive the Peabody Award, She’s Nobody’s Baby (1981). Other Peabody Award-winning programs produced on her watch include this year’s Goodnight Moon & Other Sleepytime Tales, How Do You Spell God? and Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills (1996), The Dying Rooms (1995), I Am a Promise: The Children of Stanton Elementary School (1993), Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt (1989), Suzi’s Story (1988) and Braingames (1985). Sheila Nevins’ work spans the big issues and the small stories: from women’s rights, children’s welfare and public education, to the bedtime stories parents everywhere share with their kids. As Ms. Nevins tells it, when Gerald Levin (then president of the fledgling pay TV service HBO) called to congratulate her on winning cable’s first Peabody, he expressed how, as a college student, he had dreamed of working for a company that set high standards, a company that won Peabody Awards. Two decades later, we are delighted that another congratulatory phone call has come to Sheila Nevins from Mr. Levin, in recognition of her great work and her ongoing commitment to excellence. To Sheila Nevins, Home Box Office, a personal Peabody Award.