Your Bucky Gunts moment

“I hope it’s Bucky Gunts, ’cause I didn’t know you could say that on television. … Let’s face it, we’re all Bucky Gunts here.”

Ricky Gervais’ tribute to NBC Winter Olympics director Bucky Gunts for winning an Emmy for his outstanding performance in a variety, music or comedy special was more comical for a variety of reasons.

It was on Gunts’ network, NBC, where his name was being mocked by Gervais, the executive producer and creator of NBC’s most popular show, “The Office.”

Gunts also came off as the most rigid during the video question: What did your mom want you to be when you were growing up: “First choice, a Baltimore Oriole baseball player. Second choice, the TV business, like my dad.”

As he walked up to accept the award, John Houseman said over the music: “Bucky Gunts majored in hotel management at Cornell but changed to television after his thesis on ice-making machines was deemed wildly speculative and wildly dangerous. That name again is Bucky Gunts.”

Who is Bucky Gunts?

Those of us who’ve known of him in the sports TV business didn’t realize we’d been sitting on a punch line all these years.

NBC’s bio of the man made a running joke at last night’s Emmys:

The Vancouver win was Gunts’ fourth Primetime Emmy, having previously won for directing the Opening Ceremony for Salt Lake, Athens, and Beijing.

Gunts, who has been with NBC Sports since 1983 and has worked nine Olympic Games, has directed every Olympic primetime program since 1996 and every Opening Ceremony since 2002.

For his Beijing work, Gunts also won a Director’s Guild Award and the Opening Ceremony won a Peabody Award. He has also won 20 Sports Emmy Awards.

Gunts was promoted to Head of Production, NBC Olympics in 2002 after serving as Coordinating Director of NBC’s Olympic coverage beginning with the 1996 Atlanta Games. As the Head of Production, Gunts’ day-to-day responsibilities include supervising all broadcast and cable production units. In particular, Gunts is at the forefront of NBC’s continued evolution of the use of new technology to enhance its coverage of the Olympic Games.

In June of 2010, NBC Universal Sports & Olympics Chairman Dick Ebersol announced that Gunts would lead the newly formed “NBC Olympics Production Group,” which is responsible for overseeing all production elements for the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Gunts has played an integral role in NBC’s Emmy Award-winning Olympic coverage, directing NBC’s primetime show for every Olympics since the 1996 Atlanta Games. He also directed every Opening Ceremony since the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Olympics and won a Director’s Guild Award, Peabody Award and a Primetime Emmy for the Beijing Opening Ceremony.

Gunts has directed “Football Night in America” since 2008, and directed the Super Bowl XLIII pregame show in 2008.

He returned to NBC Sports from NBC News in February 1994 when he was named Coordinating Director for NBC’s 1996 Atlanta Olympics. In addition to his Olympic duties, Gunts has served as the lead director for NBC’s Emmy Award-winning golf coverage. He also worked on NBC Sports’ coverage of the NBA and NFL. Gunts has directed NBC Sports’ U.S. Open Golf coverage since 2005; the 1995, 1997, 1999 and 2002 Ryder Cup; and handled directing duties for the 1994-97 NBA and NFL seasons. This is Gunts’ second stint with NBC Sports–he had previously served as an NBC Sports Staff Director from 1983 through 1990, before directing NBC News’ “Today” show from 1990 through 1993.

During Gunts’ first run with NBC Sports, he served as a key director of NBC’s Emmy Award-winning coverage of the Barcelona Olympics in 1992. In 1988, he directed the studio portions of both the late-night coverage and the telecast of the Opening Ceremony of the Seoul Olympics, for which he also earned an Emmy. Additionally, Gunts directed NBC’s NFL pre-game show “NFL Live” for six years, as well as the Super Bowl pre-game shows in 1986 and 1989. He also directed coverage of numerous Major League Baseball games–including the 1987 National League Championship Series.

Gunts began his career in his hometown, Baltimore, Md., as a Staff Director for WBAL-TV from 1972-78. He later worked at KPNX-TV in Phoenix, Ariz., and directed newscasts at WNBC-TV.

Gunts graduated from Cornell University in 1972 with a degree in economics. He was a member of the school’s 1971 NCAA-champion lacrosse team. Gunts and his wife, Dennyse, live in Wilton, Conn., with their two children, B.J. and Kate.

At least no one was confusing Bucky Gunts with Temple Grandin.

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