Everyone can still love Raymond for a little while longer. There's no decision yet on the fate of Everybody Loves Raymond, said Phil Rosenthal, its creator and executive producer. He suggested at a NATPE panel that the real question isn't money; it's whether he and star Ray Romano
have enough new ideas to keep it going another season.
He did give a good tip on keeping a show fresh in syndication: Rosenthal purposely leaves out topical references, so shows don't seem old in syndication. "You have only one shot at this, so you may as well go for the long-term value," he said. "I think these clips will still have value in 30, 40, 50 years, and it was designed that way from the beginning."
Mitch Burg, new president of the Syndicated Network Television Association, spent NATPE greeting station executives and his bosses: the large syndication companies that hired him. Burg, 49, has spent most of his career on the ad-agency side, including a 15-year stint at NW Ayer beginning in 1979. He replaces Gene DeWitt, who left in August. In 1994, Burg was among the founders of The Media Edge, the WPP media-buying arm, which he served as chief operating officer until 2002. Most recently, he was CEO of IDT Media. Burg says he believes syndication is "underappreciated" by the media-buying community.
The TV industry's appointed loose cannons did not disappoint Monday at NATPE, when a lot of outrageous types were put on stage to say strange quotable things. Best of the lot: Jerry Springer
and Jesse Ventura.
Springer said he doesn't take criticism of his raunchy daytime talker personally. "It's a show, it's not me. I don't define myself by what I do."
Springer, whose show has made a cottage industry of exposing personal problems, weighed in on the Michael Jackson
case and the line between covering a celebrity's professional and personal life. "There ought to be a line where [the media doesn't] move into people's private lives, but often times celebrities will use the media to further their careers. Then they have lost their right to say, 'Don't cover my personal life when it goes bad.'"
Ventura said he has no idea why MSNBC
pulled the plug on his planned TV show. Otherwise, he wore his bitterness toward the media on his sleeve, disclosing that he decided not to run for office again because the media made personal attacks against his children.
Here's a quote to ponder: In the television business, "the cost of failure has escalated, and the value of success has gone down." That's the opinion of Irwin Gotlieb, worldwide CEO of Group M, the WPP
parent of ad giant MediaShare. His reckoning is this: There are so few hits and so many failures that the successes no longer make enough money to make up for the dogs.
Television's cost structure was much on his mind during a NATPE panel. For example, he's impressed that American television learned from Europeans that reality television could be very popular. But, in Europe, it's also cheap. Not here. Gotlieb said, "We became a success at doing reality [series] at nearly scripted prices... We can't behave like that going forward."
Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC's Hardball
and NBC Enterprises' The Chris Matthews Show, said in NATPE's keynote that the beginning of the TV age in politics was Richard Nixon's famous "Checkers" speech, in which Nixon went on television to convince voters that he hadn't accepted financial support from a slush fund. "Nixon was intimate, emotional, resentful, square," Matthews said. "He was Bill O'Reilly."