By BroadCasting & Cable Staff -- Broadcasting & Cable, 4/25/2004 8:00:00 PM
Indecent Private Ryan
Editor: I just watched an old tape I had made of Saving Private Ryan from an ABC broadcast. If I read the FCC's recent ruling correctly, that movie could no longer be shown on an over-the-air network station.
Jeb Bing, Pleasanton, Calif.
Back to the Age of Victoria
Editor: Why don't we just go back to the Victorian Era and hide things behind closed doors and dark drapes. This is becoming ridiculous—and scary. People used to laugh at the idea of "Big Brother," saying it couldn't happen here. It could—and it has.
Neal Thompson, Los Angeles
Don't 'Double' Foul
Editor: If B&C has to talk about foul language, how about not spelling it out, okay? I think we can figure out what the subject is. Under the circumstances, you aren't much better than the offenders.
ABC? No. 1, Eventually
Editor: It has always been astounding to me that senior creative executives are "on a very big guess" and their results are to a great extent affected by a serendipitous marketplace that few, if any, understand.
The Walt Disney Co. is once more trying to "fix" the ABC Television Network by "moving people around." Recently, ABC fired Lloyd Braun and Susan Lyne, the latest shifts in their ever-changing network management.
Sooner or later, ABC will rise again, not because the network has rearranged its organization chart but rather just because it was "time" for whatever they were doing to "work," and whoever is in charge at the moment will accept all of the credit for something they had nothing to do with. In fact, the corporation's management uncertainty will only serve to interfere with the cosmic forces that govern network ratings.
All of the major networks have equal affiliate lineups, equal financing, and equal access to the creative community. This part of the business does not respond to committees, nor does it respond to the ever-present "reporting" lines. It works best when the decisions are entrusted to one person, who is prepared to make decisions, and take responsibility for them.
But the people who are responsible for making organizational charts at Disney will continue to write them in pencil in anticipation of the next change in management—and that won't help either. Michael Eisner is rich and powerful and hasn't asked for my advice, but I will give it to him anyway: Stop managing everything to death, pick the people you trust and put them in positions of authority, and keep everyone else out of the network business.
Norman Horowitz, Los Angeles
(Horowitz is former divisional president of Columbia Pictures, PolyGram and MGM/UA and a CBS/Viacom executive)
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