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James Hibberd

Marder the Master

July 17, 2006 3:48 PM

It’s Keith Marder’s Television Critics Association summer press tour, and the rest of us just live in it.Marder, who now runs press for CBS Corp. sports cabler CSTV, was working CBS’s TCA days over the weekend like he was the mayor of the Ritz Carlton. He told me, for instance, I looked like former WB Entertainment President David Janollari’s “younger, buffer brother.”Marder once again had me at hello.For years Marder has been a must-see for critics with his comedic opening remarks for his former employer, The WB. A born standup, he made a surprise appearance at the start of The CW’s inaugural press tour session Monday morning, a move that delighted critics, including a couple who gave Marder a standing ovation as he strode out on the stage.

“Well, I told you UPN would never last,” he sighed. “It feels like only yesterday The WB was in business and ‘7th Heaven’ was cancelled.”

Marder’s biggest laugh came from his proposed CW slogan:

“The CW: Two Wrongs DO Make a Right.”

Sparing not even his former bosses, Marder said Janollari could do a special episode of “Six Feet Under,” a show he produced before he got his WB gig. A graphic flashed showing a dead Michigan J. Frog on the “Six Feet Under” title credit.

The episode would be titled “Garth Ancier killed the frog,” he said.

He noted that most everyone was caught off guard by CBS Corp.’s and Warner Bros. Entertainment’s surprise announcement in January that The WB and UPN were being retired for The CW.

In hindsight everyone could have known about it, since the two sides “broadcast their meetings in episodes of ‘Pepper Dennis.’”

Like any good standup, Marder included some political humor, some topical stuff, and even worked a little blue. Some examples:

“President Bush pitched a show to The New CW. It’s called ‘Stop or My V.P. will Shoot.’”

“Star Jones quit ‘The View’ four months after she was fired… I guess she’ll have to pay for her own divorce.”

“My first reaction when HBO cancelled ‘Deadwood’—those cock suckers!”

Mr. Marder noted that the HBO show that has as much profanity as “Deadwood” is the pay cabler’s new comedy “Lucky Louie.”

“You can’t tell them apart, except for the fact ‘Deadwood’ is funnier,” he said.

At the end of the ten-minute set, The CW’s top press executive Paul McGuire thanked Marder, noting that he was flying back to New York almost immediately.

Stay Keith, stay!   


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