The first phase of the GLAAD Media Awards were handed out in New York City on Saturday night, with winners named in 27 of 35 categories. The rest of the awards will be handed out at additional ceremonies in Los Angeles on April 21 and in San Francisco on June 2.
Among the winners in the TV realm were "Smash" producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who were awarded the Vito Russo Award for outstanding work promoting equality for the LGBT community. In "Smash," musical writer Tom Levitt (Christian Borle) is gay, and his love life is an important part of the show.
During his acceptance speech, Zadan spoke about his experience producing another work for TV, "The Reagans." "When we did 'The Reagans,' we had death threats for telling the truth about that president's outright refusal to acknowledge the growing AIDS crisis in America," he said. "We would not have survived that ordeal, I must point out, without the help of GLAAD. They got us through the political firestorm leveled against us by the Republican National Committee. So we got to see firsthand what GLAAD's capable of accomplishing when they mobilize the troops, and thank God for them."
"Dancing With the Stars" took home the award for outstanding reality program. The ABC dance competition show was previously recognized by GLAAD last fall when it featured transgender advocate Chaz Bono as one of its contestants. The award was accepted by Carson Kressley, the openly gay TV host who also danced in the competition last fall.
The HBO movie "Cinema Verite" was named outstanding TV movie or miniseries. It featured the story of Lance Loud, the gay son of parents who agreed to have their lives filmed during the 1970s, in what became an early precursor to reality TV. Thomas Dekker portrayed Loud, who died from complications of AIDS in 2001.
In the world of TV journalism, reporter Josh Elliot picked up the award for outstanding TV journalism segment for his ABC World News report on the battle against bullying. "Anderson Cooper 360" won outstanding TV journalism - newsmagazine for a story on the "Sissy Boy" experiments. And "The Oprah Winfrey Show" won outstanding talk show episode for its show on people coming out of the closet on the her show.
Other big winners included Lady Gaga, the film "Pariah" and gay high school student Katy Butler, who has pushed to have the MPAA change its R rating for the documentary "Bully."
The awards were hosted by "Glee's" Naya Rivera and Cory Monteith.
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— Patrick Kevin Day
Photo: GLAAD Awards hosts Naya Rivera and Cory Monteith. Credit: Fernando Leon / Getty Images.