In the television business, you are where you eat as much as you are what you eat.

TelevisionWeek Managing Editor Melissa Grego is tapping into Hollywood's penchant for the working meal with her TVWeek.com feature, Mel's Diner. Ms. Grego sits down with television industry players at their favorite restaurants, giving readers a window into the minds -- and appetites -- of industry heavyweights.

As each Mel's Diner guest dishes about what they're working on, planning and thinking about, Ms. Grego provides a unique view of the television business from the insiders perspective.

TVWeek.com invites fans of Mel's Diner to report back in the comments section on the meals, deals, or anything at all that is eating them about what the featured players have to say.

Dig in!


Mel's Diner

Mel's Diner: Andy Friendly

January 16, 2007 12:45 PM

Who: Andy Friendly, producer and consultant
When: Lunch, Jan. 8, 2007
Where: Café Med, Sunset Plaza in West Hollywood

Dined On: Although it was a rare 80 degree day in January, Andy and I both had soup—minestrone for him, lentil for me. He had the lobster salad and I opted for the tricolore. We shared Pellegrino and lime.

The Dish: With the National Association of Television Program Executives conference a week away, Andy reminisced over lunch about NATPE’s heyday.

Andy was president of programming and production for King World in 1998 when the distributor threw its legendary party at the Superdome in New Orleans. Elton John performed and Barbra Streisand attended the concert along with executives from many of King World’s competitors.

“People from the other companies cancelled their parties that night because everyone wanted to go the King World party,” Andy said. “Then they started calling trying to get tickets for themselves.”

King World announced that year that Whoopi Goldberg would sit in the center square of former syndicated game show “Hollywood Squares” and that the company was launching a talk show with Roseanne Barr.

“I’m not sure there will ever be a NATPE party like that,” he said. “If there is, King World will be the ones to do it.”

Andy will not attend the NATPE conference this year, so he is free of the frenetic company preparations he used to handle before the show. Instead he is busy working on various projects of his own creation.

He is developing a Monday-Friday show for syndication as part of a consulting and development deal he made a few months ago with NBC Universal Television Distribution. He just pitched the concept to NBC station executives and could have the show ready as early as this summer.

He also is consulting with Real Simple about continuing to expand the magazine’s brand in television, and developing a show featuring producer Gavin Polone. Andy said he is finalizing a deal with a cable network to carry the Polone show, which sprang from one of the Hollywood Radio & Television Society Newsmaker Luncheons. Mr. Polone’s candid approach to moderating the event impressed Andy, who is the immediate past president of HRTS.

In addition, Andy is collaborating with his brother David Friendly (“Little Miss Sunshine”) on a feature film set in the world of golf, and he continues to serve as a senior consultant for Sucherman Consulting Group.

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Hey there...Just saw Les Moonves and Gil Schwartz having a drink -- looked like vodka on the rocks -- and some bar snack food, as well as ice water, at the bar at the Four Seasons here in Las Vegas...

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