Broadcasting & Cable celebrated its 21st Hall of Fame Oct. 26 to a sold-out grand ballroom at the Waldorf-Astoria in NYC. Here are some of the best musings from this year’s honorees Wednesday night.
Click here for media coverage of B&C’s Hall of Fame.
Betty White, Actress/Comedian, Lifetime Achievement Award
(After her standing ovation) “That’s a good way to start an evening.”
“I’ve been asked, what do you like more, television or movies, and I’m a TV kid–and I use that term loosely. On television, you’re invited into someone’s home, and there are only two or three people at most who are watching you. If it’s more than three, chances are they’re talking to each other and not watching you.”
Joe Abruzzese, President, Advertising Sales, Discovery Communications
Joe Abruzzese, the always stylish president for ad sales at Discovery Communications, came to the stage as ZZ Top’s “Sharp Dressed Man” played in the background. Abruzzese thanked his wife and family and the many mentors he’d worked for over the years, including Peter Lund and Howard Stringer at CBS and John Hendricks and David Zaslav at Discovery. And then there was former Viacom COO Mel Karmazin, who was elected to the Hall of Fame several years ago, and told Abruzzese “I’m thinking of withdrawing if they inducted you.” Working for the demanding Karmazin, Abruzzese said was like “living through the first 20 minutes of Saving Private Ryan every single day.”
Ed Goren, Vice Chairman, FOX Sports Media Group
“To last this long in this business, you have to get lucky along the way. Neal Pilson [then president of CBS Sports] not convincing Larry Tisch [then CBS chairman] to renew the NFC deal…that was getting lucky. Thank you, Neal.”
“My 94-year-old mother has been looking forward for months to see that young chick Betty White get her Hall of Fame award.”
“When I heard I was being inducted I said to myself, ‘Hell, I’m in the middle of a Hall of Fame career–no way!’”
Ted Harbert, Chairman, NBC Broadcasting, NBCUniversal
“I’m truly moved beyond words…But that’s never stopped me before.”
On watching ABC when he was 11 years old: “They’re in last place…They need me!”
On Daniel Burke’s death:
“It’s a huge loss for television and a huge loss for me personally.”
To his wife Lisa:
“I love you…just as much as I love NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams, who you can see on Rock Center Monday at 10 pm!”
Andrew T. Heller, Vice Chairman of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. (TBS, Inc.)
“Typically, the thank you for your spouse and family would be at the end, but that would be inappropriate in my case.”
He went on to thank his wife, saying he couldn’t be where he is without her. “She is my my moral compass, best friend and soulmate for the past 30 years.” He also thanked her for giving up her career for his.
He thanked his first boss at his law firm who pushed him to walk away from being partner at the firm to join HBO, “for a cut in pay,” he joked.
Heller also had a big thank you to a friend who had passed, saying he had imparted to him one of the biggest life lessons of all: “The distinction of having good friends and being a good friend.” He thanked him for “being my friend and giving me my time in the sun when it was against his best interest.”
Michael L. LaJoie, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Time Warner Cable Inc.
“There are six distinct phases to any large-scale project, the first phase is excitement, the second phase is the solution, followed closely by panic and hysteria. Then comes the search for the guilty. Phase five is the blame of the innocent, and finally credit to the undeserving.”
“I’m only being inducted into the Hall of Fame, because of the people who believed in me.”
Tom Rutledge, Chief Operating Officer, Cablevision Systems Corporation
“I had known cable television as a technology, but when I realized the power and thrill that people were responding to the medium, to the television itself, I was hooked forever on selling cable to anyone who used a phone.”
“Today, a little cable business is a television and it’s also broadband and it’s phone and it’s big…but every morning, I still read our sales reports before I do anything, and if the numbers are good, and even though most modern phones no longer ring, I still feel the same thrill when King Kong dropped Jessica into the water and blew her dry with his hot gorilla breath.”
K. James Yager, CEO and Co-founder, Barrington Broadcasting Group, LLC
“I’m still proud to call myself a local broadcaster.”
“They say in the Beltway, we don’t matter anymore. To that I respectfully say…Well, I can’t say anything respectfully.”
“To the broadcasters who believe in public service and demonstrate that commitment to their communities every day, I thank you all.”
John S. Muszynski Chief Investment Officer, SMG Exchange (SMGX)
SMGx Chief Investment Officer John Muszynski, a media buyer who has helped the television business innovate over the years, humbly insisted that “my contributions pale to what this incredible industry has given me.” A fierce negotiator, Muszynski said that over the years, he’d learned to “be fair, be innovative and fight like hell for what you believe in.” And he said he not done because technology is driving even more change in the industry.
Nina Tassler, President, CBS Entertainment
“We have a unique situation at CBS. We genuinely like each other.”
On her father, who worked as a cameraman at CBS in the 1950s: “I like to think I’m following in his footsteps.”
Mike Darnell on behalf of American Idol
“It’s just been incredible for me over the years. I was part of it from day one.”