“(Ernie is) among the best interviewers I had ever experienced. His intellect, charm and charisma make for television that is informative and entertaining. In the course of conducting a superb interview, he conveys his talent, humor, intelligence, compassion, understanding and wit.”
Three time Emmy winner Ernie Manouse first gained national attention by securing the only interview granted by Stella Byrd, the mother of Jasper dragging death victim James Byrd, Jr. (a feat unattainable by even Oprah Winfrey and Ted Koppel).
A native of Binghamton, New York and a graduate of Loyola University Chicago, Manouse started with NBC Network News, and then moved into radio with WLS in Chicago, and back to TV at HoustonPBS. With a naturally inquisitive nature, and a gift for gab, Ernie has worked his way through all aspects of talk – from producing a sex therapy show to hosting his own brand of chat and magazine programs. Manouse can be seen on over 100 PBS Stations across the country on his Emmy nominated series “InnerVIEWS with Ernie Manouse,” or hosting numerous national pledge and entertainment specials, including three of public television’s most successful fund-raising events with financial guru Suze Orman.
Houstonians first got to know Ernie from his six years hosting and producing the daily magazine program WeekNight Edition (which evolved into WeekDAY). In October 2002, Ernie helped to create and produce the primetime magazine “the connection,” which he hosted for two years. The summer and fall of 2003 was spent co-producing and moderating the first three Houston mayoral debates.
Manouse followed that in 2004 with the launch of the syndicated series “InnerVIEWS with Ernie Manouse,” (which won an unprecedented five consecutive KATIE Award for outstanding Interview/Talk Show for the southern region).
2005 took Ernie to late night with the launch of “The After Party,” an upbeat fun chat show focusing on the arts, and reminiscent of Jack Parr’s “Tonight Show”. The series was a hit with critics and audiences alike, garnering the coveted Emmy nomination for Best Entertainment/Variety program in its first season. Also in 2005, Manouse received an Emmy nomination as Best On-Air Talent (non-news) for his body of work.
In 2007, Ernie produced the arts documentary “The Last 24” featuring the Dominic Walsh Dance Theatre, which eventually won the Houston Press Club’s Lone Star Award for best documentary in the state of Texas, in addition to being nominated for three Lonestar Emmy awards (winning two of them).
In Early 2008, Ernie took over producing HoustonPBS’ political round table program “Red, White & Blue”, hosted by Gary Polland & David Jones, leading the show through the 2008 debate season and elections, in addition to moderating the nationally televised Texas U.S. Senate Debate.
June 2008, marked a decade since the death of James Byrd, Jr., and continuing his commitment to this story, Ernie produced and hosted the critically acclaimed “A Conversation on RACE” – a panel discussion focusing on where we as a country have been and where we are going in regards to race relations. The program stimulated discussion across the viewing area and launched the website www.houstonpbs.org/race/ (where you can still watch the program and join the conversation).
2009 brought new challenges and experiences – Manouse began co-producing and hosting the annual HoustonPBS Scripts Spelling Bee – the largest regional spelling bee in the country. He also launched his newest television venture “Houston 8” – a weekly prime time discussion show focusing on local and national stories and how they affect those of us living in the Gulf Coast region. This series won the Emmy award for best informational program in its first season.
Manouse’s honors include 3 Emmy Awards, 7 additional Emmy nominations, 5 KATIE Awards, multiple viewers choice recognitions from local and regional magazines and publications, and the Houston Chronicle‘s Ultimate Interviewer title.
From a philanthropic point of view, Manouse’s generosity of time and talents reach far and wide. Locally, he is instrumental in raising over $2 million a year for funding HoustonPBS. On the national level – Manouse has become a much sought after fund raisers, raising tens of millions of dollars to aid in the educational outreach, broadcasting, programming and mission of Public Television.
For Manouse, giving back is part of the responsibility that comes from being able to do what he loves, surrounded by people he cares about. With a keen eye on organization, numerous contacts and a desire to improve any project he is involved with, Manouse has served on numerous boards, in addition to being elected Vice President for STAGES Theatre; The Dominic Walsh Dance Theater; The USO of Greater Houston; PRIDE Houston; and PRIDE Fest Film Festival.
Even when not performing board service, Ernie keeps busy within the community by helping organizations prosper. He has become a popular master of ceremonies, host and auctioneer for events as diverse as The Pride Parade, the U.S. Military Ball, Houston Grand Opera, and has even worked the “Big Board” at the Cattle Baron’s Ball. And for the last four years, Ernie has been the “Simon” judge for PRIDE Idol Houston (benefiting PRIDE Houston), an annual event that Manouse now organizes and runs with the Chronicle’s Joey Guerra.
Be it in the arena of arts, equality, education or animal welfare, Manouse is always willing to lend a hand, get involved, make a difference, or simply help to bring a smile to someone’s face.
2011 will mark 25 years of public life for Ernie Manouse – who knows what the next 25 will bring?
For more information on Ernie and his work, visit ErnieOnTV.com