I spent the early part of last night at the Stern School of Business in New York listening to two media industry veterans talking some serious television. The event, sponsored by the NYU’s Center for Communication and moderated by B&C Editor-In-Chief Max Robins, was attended by almost 200 students, faculty–and a few friendly neighborhood TV fanatics.
Robins was talking with Bill Carter about his new(ish) book Desperate Networks. Carter is a long-time media reporter for The New York Times and the author of the best seller Late Shift: Letterman, Leno and the Network Battle for the Night.
The two men sat nestled in red chairs at the front of the room and riffed enthusiastically about how fickle–and downright unpredictable– the television industry can be, and how some of our favorite shows (think Lost, CSI, and Desperate Housewives)ALMOST never saw the light of your living room. They also went on to discuss the future of the industry: What is next? What do audiences want? And then by a show of hands, they wanted to know how many people in the crowd—mostly undergraduates—watched TV programs on I-Pods, cell phones or computer screens. Hands shot up around the room—although not as many as I imagined—but Robins quickly predicted those hands in the air would multiply in the coming year.
Then the students took the floor with a barrage of really smart questions. In fact, they lodged so many at Robins and Carter, I started to wonder if we were ever going to get out of there. These kids were really plugged in, and I could have listened to them all night–mind you–but we had the Fox News 10th Anniversary party in midtown to get to….
By Caroline Palmer