Former KSHB Channel 41 host Michael Mackie gets the last laugh

The Mid-America chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences covers the television broadcast markets of Missouri, Illinois and Arkansas and hosts an annual Mid-America Emmy Awards ceremony each year. This year, the ceremony was held September 27 in the grand ballroom of the Kansas City Convention Center, and among the local nominees was Michael Mackie, the former co-host of KSHB Channel 41’s morning show, Kansas City Live. Mackie’s contract with the show was not renewed this year, and he left the two-year-old program in July.

“It was that legendary excuse,” Mackie says. “They told me the show was going to go in a different direction.”

It did, in fact, go in a very different direction. Mackie — witty, outrageous and openly gay — was replaced with the middle-aged, unflappable and congenial Joel Nichols, former KMBC Channel 9 weathercaster. Nichols is now teamed with Mackie’s former co-host, Michelle Davidson. Davidson was nominated for one of the regional Emmy Awards presented on September 27 but didn’t win.

Michael Mackie did take home the statuette for “On Camera Talent: Performer/Host.” He says that when his name was called, there was applause from members of the other local TV stations, less so from his former Channel 41 cohorts.

“There had been some raucous applause from that part of the room when one of their staff people was mentioned,” Mackie says. “A lot less raucous for me.”

It was the second Emmy win for Mackie that night; he had also won an award for a video he helped create for Kansas City’s nonprofit Save Inc. Mackie says his two awards were “a very gratifying way to go out with my head held high.”

Still unemployed at the time of his Emmy win, Mackie has started a new career this month with Kansas City-based VPR Patient Outreach Program (VPR POP), specializing in developing and managing patient-to-patient health-care education programs. Mackie says that as a media specialist with the firm, he’ll be tasked with media relations, as well as recruiting and interviewing patients, script and media development, TV production and presentation coaching.

“This job takes all the skills I’ve developed in the media and wraps them up in a neat little bow,” Mackie says.

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