Observations From the Premiere Week Passing Parade - Simon Applebaum - MediaBizBloggers
Published: September 28, 2009 at 02:26 PM GMT
|Simon Applebaum - Tomorrow will be Televised|
Last Updated: September 28, 2009 at 02:26 PM GMT
By Simon Applebaum
Take the first week of the new broadcast TV fall season, Advertising Week and the fifth annual New York Television Festival, and a few other circumstances, and you end up with a lot of material for a column like this one.
In case you're wondering what "passing parade" refers to, it's a salute to the famous series of 1940s Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer short subjects (presented often between features on Turner Classic Movies), and the force behind them, storyteller/narrator John Nesbitt. A decade later, Nesbitt would narrate and co-write Telephone Time, an anthology drama sponsored by AT&T, then commonly known as the Bell System.
***The most interesting foresights of last week came from the New York Television Festival's panel led by NBC Universal Cable president Bonnie Hammer and William Morris Agency TV chief Rick Rosen. At the NYTVF panel, Rosen didn't win any friends with broadcast station owners, suggesting that when local station advertising rebounds, there "will be fewer TV stations" to enjoy the spoils. He also concluded that "advertising on free TV will not be what it once was," when that marketplace returns. Moreover, "I wouldn't be surprised if five years from now, (talent agencies) pilot shows directly to advertisers, then to the networks."
***Hammer's big contribution to the proceeding: "Who's to say that down the road, the Olympics won't be (fully) on a cable network?" We'll get an answer next year, when bids on the 2014 Winter and 2016 Summer games go before the International Olympic Committee. Meanwhile, I have a question for the IOC: Are you going to penalize Chicago's bid for those 2016 games because you got riled up over the U.S. Olympic Committee's effort to launch a television network earlier this summer? The committee's plan to start that channel in association with Comcast following next February's Winter Olympics in Vancouver were derailed after the USOC promised the IOC not to move forward without their blessing.
***Best panel of the week: the all-star Advertising Week "Future Of Media" town hall, uniting an eclectic set of notables from Martha Stewart to Mark Cuban and MTV Networks CEO Judy McGrath. Wired editor-in-chief Chris Anderson was as great as a moderator gets, giving everyone a say while keeping the pace up and throwing his own analysis when appropriate. The forum provided a platform for Cuban to join the growing list of interactive TV executive advocates. "There's better opportunity for interactive on TV than there is for interactive online," he said. "We're seeing standards (like tru2way and EBIF) to make it happen, and people are investing time and money on better platforms."
***As tremendous as that panel was, there was something missing. Not one, again, not one executive of color was involved on that roundtable, a circumstance the forum's organizers should have done everything in their power to sidestep. Don't let that be the case next year, or the years after that.
***Law & Order marked its 20th season debut on NBC last Friday night, tying Gunsmokeas the longest-running drama series in the medium's history. The milestone deserved attention--and didn't get it from TV critics at the New York newspapers, the Los Angeles Times or The Washington Post. Or from USA Today. As Yul Brynner in The King and I would say, a puzzlement. Come on, people. We're talking about a program that like I Love Lucy, is seen somehow, someway, somewhere, every hour of our lives, for crying out loud.
***Another nice Advertising Week panel was "Show Me The Money," covering the current and future state of venture capital investments. Kleiner Perkins partner Aileen Lee came off as someone willing to reconsider current thinking, namely the avoidance of TV possibilities as noted in recent columns. Good rationale why industry officials should visit her office and make the case for programming and technology investments.
***Attention, FX president John Landgraf: Check out a new Web pilot from Fox TV Studio's 15 Gigs unit. Ashley The Wise, created/written by one of the people behind Burn Notice, tells the tale of a valley girl in search of both her boyfriend and life's purpose in a burned-out metropolis. It's fun, inventive, and hits the right sweet spot for FX to convert into a half-hour weekly series. Your move, John. Thanks, NYTVF, for giving 15 Gigs the chance to screen Ashley, as well as Heartfelt, just your atypical human/puppet relationship dramedy located in the Big Apple.
***After years of always the bridesmaid, never the bride, those Budweiser Clydesdales reached the Madison Ave. Walk of Fame last week. See, good creatures of nature who grace TV commercials can finish first.
***** Simon Applebaum is host/producer of Tomorrow Will Be Televised, the Internet radio program covering the television scene. The program runs live on Mondays and selected Fridays at 3 p.m. Eastern time/noon, Pacific time over www.blogtalkradio.com. Replays are available 24/7 at www.blogtalkradio.com/simonapple04, and on podcast. ***** Have a question or comment? Reach Simon through firstname.lastname@example.org.
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