Open Mike


Don't Cry For Indies

Some might argue that today's programming compares favorably to the
1990s “heyday of the independent producer” now so nostalgically recalled by
those opposing FCC media-ownership deregulation.

But Law & Order producer Dick Wolf, a
contemporary of Stephen J. Cannell's and Steven Bochco's, seems to have
scraped by despite the oppressive, network-dominated programming marketplace
decried by the Center for Creative Voices in Media.

No one saw fit to note that the “independent producer” behind
Friends was Warner Bros. (Let's make sure small, scrappy
Time Warner isn't deprived of access to the network airwaves!)

It's regrettable that so many in Hollywood's creative
community—usually fervent in their defense of “free expression”—support
media-ownership rules that give politicians the power to force broadcasters to
tread carefully—and, all too often, timidly.

High-sounding regulations dictating the size and configuration of media
companies enable politicians to maintain a dangerous grip on our citizens'
primary source of news, information and entertainment. Perhaps these
underemployed individuals should redirect their efforts toward creating product
that's cost-efficient enough to be viable in today's brutal marketplace.
NBC would love to have affordable, appealing scripted programming to air at

Lee Spieckerman, SpieckermanMedia, LLC Dallas/Fort

Katie's Not cutting it

Loved The Robins Report's “Empty Promises” (Oct. 16). The entire
Katie Couric fiasco (and let's be honest here, so far, for the money CBS paid
Ms. Couric and for the ratings she's getting, this is looking like one big
bad deal) is more representative of changes in viewer habits. Couric is now a
distant third place in almost all major markets. The simple truth is, in a
world of 24/7 news, the public really doesn't care anymore who reads them the
news off of a Teleprompter.

As a media consultant for almost 15 years, I'm in contact with
broadcasting professionals. Not one of them understood the Couric deal.

What's surprising is that a TV heavyweight like [CBS Corp. CEO Leslie]
Moonves would be out of touch with what's going on here in the heartland.

Steve Meyer, President/CEO, Smart Marketing
Consulting Services, Las Vegas