Win One for the Seniors
August 16, 2004 12:00 AM
When Doris Roberts was starting her career during the Golden Age of live television, she remembers, shows often included older sidekick characters who added comic relief. These days, she said sadly, TV usually caters to the young viewers advertisers covet by casting young characters. "Isn't that insane?" said Ms. Roberts, who plays Marie Barone on "Everybody Loves Raymond." "Yet in less than 20 years [the United States] will have the oldest population in the history of the world. People forget that." Not Ms. Roberts, who has testified before Congress about ageism in Hollywood. "Why should anyone tell us that because we are over 45 we're finished?" Ms. Roberts said. "Would you do that to Picasso or Einstein?" On Sept. 19, Ms. Roberts could win an impressive fourth Emmy in a row. If she does, she knows how she will dedicate her victory. "I think it makes a great statement against ageism," she said, "and that's why I want to win." "Raymond" will enter its final season this fall despite Ms. Roberts' pleas for the show to continue. "I'm really sad," she said. "I think it still has a lot of life." And so does the 70-something performer, who will also be seen in the upcoming indie films "Lucky 13" with Jami Gertz and "I Can See You.com" with Beau Bridges.
--Alex Ben Block
The reality is that few in Hollywood feel free to talk about hot-button issues. It might anger a competitor, who next week could be a collaborator. Instead, a few fearless journalists and analysts are frequently quoted. One of the most popular for the past two decades has been Larry Gerbrandt. Then earlier this year his position at Kagan World Media was downsized out of existence. Now he has resurfaced as senior associate at AlixPartners, a global financial advisory firm involved in broadcast, broadband and multicasting. "The Holy Grail-converging the broadband connection with the TV-will find new life," Mr. Gerbrandt predicts, "with video delivered using IP over broadband to the next generation of flat-panel displays, laptops and plasma screens scattered throughout homes connected by high-speed wireless networks."
--Alex Ben Block