It’s been providing a venue for well-known local politicians for two decades. PIX11 News Closeup airs its 970th episode this weekend, as the show marks 20 years.
The public affairs program has been decorated with numerous awards, including three Emmy Awards. PIX11 News Closeup has a loyal following of viewers who either watch or record the program 6 a.m. Sundays.
In addition, the anniversary retrospective will replay Sunday night at 10:30 p.m. Mayor Bloomberg will be a special guest.
The guest list over the years is a Who’s Who of political and community leaders from New York and New Jersey. New York governors Hugh Carey, Mario Cuomo, George Pataki, and David Paterson have appeared, along with their New Jersey counterparts. New York City mayors Ed Koch, David Dinkins, Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg have been guests.
There have been a number of heartwarming and emotional programs. Each Thanksgiving, Marvin Scott and producer/reporter Ellyn Marks put together a special program entitled “Giving Thanks.”
Timothy Cardinal Dolan did his first extensive local interview after his return from the Vatican. Nobel Peace Prize recipient Elie Wiesel made a special appearance this year and read an emotional passage from his acclaimed book, “Night,” about his horror in a Nazi concentration camp.
Disgraced former Governor Eliot Spitzer sat down with Scott for an exclusive and revealing interview. Kristen Davis, the madam who provided Spitzer with prostitutes, appeared on a subsequent broadcast.
There have also been non-political moments on Closeup.
Comedic icon Jerry Lewis provided two candid and insightful interviews, one of which won a 2006 Emmy award for Outstanding Entertainment Programming.
In a unique segment on the 40th anniversary of the JFK assassination, Scott added a voice to the historic film of President’s Kennedy murder. He used an excerpt from a 1965 radio interview he did with Abraham Zapruder and matched it to the 8 mm film the Dallas dress manufacturer had taken of the assassination, providing a narrative to the 26-second horrifying clip. Scott donated the original tape of the interview to the Sixth Floor Museum and Dealey Plaza. That, along with the News11 News Closeup program are now part of the JFK assassination archives in Dallas.