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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.

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Mel's Diner



Mel's Diner: Phil Gurin

January 30, 2007 1:53 PM


Who: Phil Gurin, president and executive producer, the Gurin Company
When: Jan. 18, 2007, dinner
Where: Fleur De Lys, Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas

Dined On: While waiting in the lounge area for our table, we shared in one of Phil's favorite libations: Ricard pastis, an anise-flavored liqueur that we mixed with water.

“When you go to this restaurant, you can go to the bar and enjoy a Ricard and it puts you in the mood for France,” said Phil, a self-described Francophile. “You just put yourself in the hands of the waiter.”

One of Phil’s biggest missions in life is to bring a French show to the U.S. He has sold formats to companies for potential airing in France, but has yet to translate a French project stateside.

One of the challenges is that French TV, of course, “culturally is just different,” than U.S. television, he said. Many French shows tend to be two hours in prime time.

Fleur De Lys presents dinner in a choice of 3-, 4- or 5-course meals. Considering Phil and I both had eaten plenty by this, the last night of the National Association of Television Program Executives conference in Las Vegas, which is packed with fine dining options, we figured the minimum three courses of rich French food would do it.

Phil started with the chilled Maine lobster salad, followed by a main course of filet mignon with braised oxtail tortellini. He had a chocolate dessert.

I started with artisan foie gras, followed by braised beef ribs for the main course and that day’s special, crème brule, for dessert.

The Dish: Phil, whose credits include Fox’s New Year’s Eve telecast and TV Guide Channel’s red carpet shows, is very active selling versions of original American shows and what he calls “paper formats” overseas.

He was in Las Vegas to spend just a couple of days meeting with fellow NATPE attendees, particularly members of the international TV contingent.

NATPE has become a “mini-MIP,” he said, noting he spends most of his time at the conference meeting with colleagues from Latin America, Europe and Asia.

Most of Phil's American shows at this point have an international tie-in, too.

He, for example, produces the Miss USA pageant for NBC, but also the Miss Universe contest. Phil, who also produced the format “The Weakest Link” in the U.S., brought “Lingo,” GSN’s longest-running original series, to the game show outlet from the Netherlands.

Among his most recent international formatting deals, he sold the upcoming “Wanna Bet?” to ABC. The show is one of the longest-running, most popular shows in Germany.

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