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Jailed would-be Letterman extortionist nominated for Emmy

The Emmy Awards are now the best trophy franchise -- ever.

The TV academy has just nominated the former CBS News producer jailed for trying to blackmail David Letterman. Ironically, David Letterman's CBS late night talk show did not cop an Emmy nom for best variety show last week for the first time since he debuted on the network in 1993.

Robert Halderman began his six-month jail sentence in May. (Louis Lanzano /AP)

Robert "Joe" Halderman is by far the most interesting nomination from among the crop announced Thursday; he's up for a News and Documentary Emmy award for having worked on a "48 Hours" story about an American exchange student charged with murder in Italy. He was one of four producers nominated for the story. The piece is in the running for best continuing coverage of a news story by a newsmag.

Halderman began serving his jail sentence in May after pleading guilty to having tried to extort $2 million from Letterman in exchange for not revealing details of the late-night host's affair with one of his former staffers. Halderman's sentence is for six months; the East Coast TV academy will award the the News and Docu Emmys on Sept. 27 in New York City. It's unclear whether, if Halderman wins, he'd be the first jailed Emmy winner ever, but we think so.

David Letterman's show wasn't nominated for an Emmy for best variety series -- for the first time since 1993. (Evan Agostini/AP)

News of Halderman's nom comes just days after the West Coast TV academy -- yes, there are two TV academys, and their relationship is much like that of the Hatfields and McCoys -- nominated Comedy Central telecasting two episodes of "South Park" the network censored.
In another delicious nomination, that academy put in the running for an Emmy Award Conan O'Brien's "Tonight Show," but not Jay Leno's "Tonight Show," after which NBC told the Associated Press it had submitted Conan's "Tonight Show" -- as well as Jay Leno's "Tonight Show" for nom consideration.

The East Coast academy, called the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, oversees the sports, news, and daytime Emmy awards, among other things. The West Coast academy, called simply the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, oversees the so-called Primetime Emmy Awards but those awards include late night programming.

By Lisa de Moraes  |  July 15, 2010; 2:53 PM ET
Categories:  TV News  
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