The World-Famous Harlem Globetrotters Set to Host 41st Annual Mid-America EMMY® Awards


At NATAS Mid-America:
Maggie Eubanks
Executive Director
(314) 512-9000

[email protected] 

At The Vandiver Group, Inc.:
Andy Likes
Senior Vice President
(314) 606-1878 (cell)

[email protected]

Publish Date: 
Tuesday, August 15, 2017

ST. LOUIS, MO – August 15, 2017 – The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) Mid-America Chapter today announced Big Easy Lofton and Handles Franklin from the world-famous Harlem Globetrotters will host the 2017 Mid-America EMMY® Awards Gala presented by Branson and Silver Dollar City. The 41st anniversary gala will take place on September 9, 2017 at the historic Chase Park Plaza Hotel in St. Louis, Missouri. This year will be the first time in more than a decade that the event will be hosted at the landmark hotel.

Each fall, distinguished media professionals throughout the central and southern United States are invited to attend regional EMMY® awards. The Mid-America EMMY® awards honor the best work in the NATAS Mid-America chapter, consisting of portions of eight states including Missouri, Illinois, Kansas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Iowa, Oklahoma and Kentucky.

Since 1976, journalists, video editors, digital experts and everyone in between have attended the Mid-America EMMY® awards, along with celebrity hosts and guests.

Nate “Big Easy” Lofton, a Globetrotter showman since 2006, has also appeared on reality competition TV shows “The Amazing Race,” “Cupcake Wars” and “The Price is Right.” Big Easy returns to Missouri for a second year in a row to take part in the Mid-America EMMY® awards, having participated as a special guest presenter in 2016 in Branson.

Chris “Handles” Franklin has played with the Globetrotters for nearly 10 years, and has traveled with them throughout the United States and dozens of foreign countries. During his tenure with the world-famous team, Handles broke the Guinness World Record for farthest kneeling basketball shot made backwards for 60 feet 7.5 inches away from the basket (November 2015). His record still holds today.

The Harlem Globetrotters are an exhibition comedy basketball team which has performed throughout the world since 1926.

“Handles and I are excited to be back at the Mid-America EMMYs this year,” said Big Easy Lofton. “Being able to participate in a show that celebrates media professionals is an honor and we are looking forward to showcasing our talents by co-hosting this year’s gala.”

“The Globetrotters are entertainment and broadcast icons,” said Stacey Woelfel, President of NATAS Mid-America. “They are a part of a brand with which most of our membership grew up. The players’ appearance last year in Branson was a huge hit and it just made perfect sense to have them take over and host this year’s gala.”

The 41st Annual EMMY® Awards Gala presented by Branson and Silver Dollar City will begin at 5:30 p.m. with the red carpet and cocktail reception, followed by the dinner and the awards ceremony itself. A limited number of gala tickets are now on sale for the 41st Annual Mid-America EMMY® awards in St. Louis. They are exclusively available by calling (314) 533-2993.

About NATAS Mid-America Chapter:
The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences is dedicated to the advancement of the arts and sciences of television and the promotion of creative leadership for artistic, educational and technical achievements within the television industry. It recognizes excellence in television with the coveted EMMY® Award. For more information, visit You can also follow @EMMYMidAm on Twitter and like us on Facebook.