TelevisionWeek's Blink page is an industry must-read, taking a sardonic look at happenings across the television business. This wry coverage is extended online and updated throughout the week.



Too Busy to Slow Down

April 4, 2005 12:00 AM

When he left William Morris in December, Sam Haskell thought he would take it easy. Instead, he's been busier than ever on what he called his "world tour" of breakfasts, lunches and dinners with friends, potential collaborators and possible employers (not other agencies, since he is still under a WMA noncompete restriction). He has also spent time with his two teenage children and worked on charitable projects such as a trip to his native Mississippi to raise funds for a performing arts center at Ole Miss. (He's shown in front of William Faulkner's house, with his wife, Mary, and England's Prince Edward.) Mostly he has been helping his wife of 23 years promote her first album for adults, called "Inspired: Standards-Good for the Soul." It crosses over both jazz and Christian markets, offering interpretations of classics such as "Just in Time" and "Bridge Over Troubled Waters" and the first recording of "Try," a song written by Dolly Parton. There is also a duet with "Everybody Loves Raymond" star Patricia Heaton on "For Good," from the musical "Wicked." Mary has been on a whirlwind promo tour that has included "The Tony Danza Show" and "Good Day Live." Mr. Haskell will also be with Mary this week as she performs in Bentonville, Ark., at Wal-Mart's district managers retreat. Mr. Haskell has put off any plans to enter public service or run for office for now, while he looks for his next act in showbiz. "I'm loving having all my friends convince me not to retire," he said. "It's been great." --ALEX BEN BLOCK

Desperate for a Good Wine

While Stephen McPherson, president of ABC Entertainment, is busy choosing shows for the fall schedule, he has also been helping create a new cabernet sauvignon called Promise for release in 2007, along with Rich Frank of The Firm, who co-owns the Frank Family vineyard Winston Hill, in Rutherford, Calif. While the limited-production wine won't be ready until 2007, it is being introduced June 4 at the annual Auction Napa Valley. The winner gets more than a fine wine. Mr. Frank and Mr. McPherson have joined with actress Teri Hatcher and others to create a unique package. The prize is a suite at the Four Seasons, use of a limo, a world-class dinner at Norman's on Sunset in Hollwood with chef Norman Van Aken, cases of Frank Family wines and a walk-on part in ABC's hit series "Desperate Housewives." Blink will drink to that. --ALEX BEN BLOCK

TV Doc Witness in Jackson Case

Dr. Stan Katz helps women rebuild their lives as staff psychologist on NBC Universal's syndicated strip "Starting Over," but last week he was a media celebrity for a different reason. Dr. Katz testified at the Michael Jackson trial in Santa Maria, Calif. He was the psychologist who first evaluated the boy who alleges Mr. Jackson abused him. Dr. Katz also filed the initial report to authorities. Superior Court Judge Rodney Melville would not allow Dr. Katz to testify about the credibility of the accusation or whether a molestation took place. He was asked to talk about when he spoke with the boy and his mother, and what he told child welfare authorities. While the trial continues, Dr. Katz is off once again to promote "Starting Over," which was renewed last week for another season. --CHRISTOPHER LISOTTA