Mel's Diner: Rick Feldman
March 14, 2007 3:15 PM
Who: Rick Feldman, president-CEO, National Association of Television Program Executives
Where: Pizzeria Mozza, Los Angeles
When: Monday, March 5, lunch
Dined On: I made it to Mozza!
The new pizzeria collaboration from L.A. restaurateur Nancy Silverton and chef and Food Network personality Mario Batali is one tough place to get into.
I was skeptical, but it did not disappoint.
At first when I walked in I thought, What on Earth is the big deal? Best pizza in L.A.? Seriously?
The atmosphere struck me as neither here nor there. It’s busy and crowded and orange.
As it turns out, the service was attentive.
The pizza, well, it was great. The star of the show really.
A simple salad to start and lemon dessert were good book-ends, but the minute I tried my pizza—“funghi misti, fontini, taleggio and thyme”—I understood the draw. Delicioso!
NATPE honcho Rick Feldman, who has the pull to get that 1 p.m. Monday reservation, shared some of his pizza with fennel sausage, panna and red onions. It was good, not necessarily my thing, but a repeat order for him.
He’s from the Bronx, but is not one of those “only New York has good pizza” people, he said. He’d definitely come back for the sausage pizza.
Neither of us was willing to put a “best pizza in L.A.” stamp on this. Not that we didn’t love it.
“It’s gourmet,” as Rick put it, not the place to pop in for one classic slice.
Would love to hear readers rec’s on the best place for the best classic slice, though. Please cast those votes in the comments below.
The Dish: Hollywood, of course, is all about power and money.
NATPE, a non-profit for programming people “doesn’t have power or money, so it’s about being nice and depending on the kindness of strangers,” said Rick Feldman, the org’s boss since 2003. “You just have to listen well to find what people want.”
What he’s hearing: News flash! NATPE-goers don’t love the schlep between the exhibition floor and meetings in hotel suites.
That’s the most common beef in some 750 surveys NATPE just got back about their January gathering at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.
Not that Rick and his own sore feet didn’t know it already.
For years, syndicators spent gobs of money putting on big displays on the exhib floor of NATPE. In recent outings, several companies opted to conserve costs and hold meetings in hotel rooms. So attendees have to run back and forth between suites and the exhibition.
Rick’s already talking to folks about next year. It’s all part of his annual listening tour, which starts as soon as NATPE wraps and continues for about six months (not that “listening” ever stops for this guy).
This means keeping track of NATPE’s 8,000 or so constituents. A challenge to say the least.
Still, in a way Rick has it easier than his friends operating studios, he said.
“They are dealing with all these rights, which ones to hold, making long term deals into the future when they don’t know what things will look like or what will work,” he said.
Everybody who owns content is concerned about deciding “whether to give it away to a Google, a YouTube,” he said.
He questioned why any creator would “ever give your stuff away.”
“The amount of money you will make I think from sharing revenue with a third party doesn’t mitigate against driving people to your Web site,” he said. “That’s a big battle.”
TV stations retransmission consent is another big battle. Rick, a local broadcasting veteran, said he is dedicated to making NATPE helpful in sorting these types of issues out.
“I really consider NATPE a sort of public trust,” he said.