I'm sitting in my hotel room in Miami Beach watching "Entertainment Tonight" when Mary Hart reports on Regis Philbin's salary dispute, which reportedly led to his retirement decision. I'm struck by the irony: Both Hart and Philbin will be in Miami tomorrow for the same reason I'm here tonight, the National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE) convention in beautiful Miami Beach. It's a yearly event that attracts content buyers, mostly for TV, from numerous countries and across the United States, including stations in the Fort Myers/Naples market (more on that in a later filing).
It's the first time in more than a decade that the event is being held in South Florida, and the Fontainebleau Hotel is playing host, and it's obvious from a mile away. Across the road from the resort is massive yachts, sporting broadcaster's infamous logos. A police officer is keeping order and the sidewalks are full of suits, both literally and figuratively.
The day began poolside with a "Burn Notice" coffee chat with TV Guide's Stephan Battaglio moderating. The panel for the Miami-based show included stars Sharon Gless and Gabrielle Anwar, as well as show creator Matt Nix.
To give you a little tease about some of the things I'll be reporting on while I'm here:
Today I attended the "World Programming Supersession," where I got a glimpse of some of the shows that are popular around the world. As you know, many U.S. hits are exported abroad. Well, it works both ways. Broadcasters here often look at what's working in other markets. From Brazil (Brasil if you prefer -- they do) we have "La Mujer Perfecta" or "The Perfect Woman," a show about six women who'll undergo just about anything, including plastic surgery, to become the titlist.
From Denmark, there's "Too Fat To Fight," which offers a boot camp weight-loss program that makes "The Biggest Loser" look like a Sunday stroll. Then there's "Oh Oh Cherso," a.k.a. "What Happens In ... " which one NATPE-goer called a "Jersey Shore" look alike.
During this panel, the controversial new MTV show "Skins" came up. One panelist remarked that MTV should be thrilled with the news coverage. They probably are. It's likely to deliver large ratings. And those who are protesting the loudest aren't your typical MTV viewers. But those most outraged have gotten the attention of advertisers; many of whom are backing out of sponsoring the show. That's likely to be the loudest voice in this debate.
I was also at the" U.S. Domestic Syndication: Is There A Pulse" panel debate. The discussion was moderated by Paige Albiniak, contributing editor for Broadcasting & Cable, a trade publication. It was by far the best panel of the day, featuring Sean Compton, president of programming for Tribune (think "Jerry Springer" and "Maury"); Mort Marcus, co-president of Debmar-Mercury, LLC (think "Wendy Williams" and "Family Feud"); John Nogawski, president, CBS Television (think "Oprah" and "Entertainment Tonight") and Scott Sternberg, president of Sternberg Productions (think cutting edge shows like "Hey Paula" and "William Shatner's Raw Nerve").
It was a lively discussion on, among other things, finding the next Oprah; discussion on if there will actually be another Oprah, and how daytime syndicated shows are brought to market.
I can't wait to share more details on that panel. I'll be sending two more day-of online reports to naplesnews.com. My regular Stay Tuned column will be filed online Friday and in print Saturday. I'll be sharing more details from the event then (plus photos).
Speaking of photos, we'll be keeping our eyes open for the stars. Today we had a lot of close calls. We handled an Emmy, and we have met the "Porn Scene Investigator." You heard right. With broadcasters from 40-plus countries and feeding all kinds of content needs, from TV to digital to direct to DVD market, NAPTE attracts all kinds.
Until next time, Stay Tuned!
Bill Green is a Naples Daily News/naplesnews.com journalist with a secret life as a couch potato. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.