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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: Tracy Green

April 20, 2007 1:36 PM

Who: Tracy Green, executive VP, Lion Television USA
Where: Cabana Restaurant, Four Seasons Hotel
When: Monday, April 2, lunch

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The Dish: The next great frontier of prime time is right at all of our fingertips, as far as Lion TV USA’s Tracy Green is concerned.

It’s the human body.

“We are a nation of hypochondriacs,” she told me the other day over lunch.

So when her colleague at Lion in the U.K. came up with what she called an inspired idea to follow the health of 100 people, she ran with an Americanized version of the concept and dubbed it “Diagnosis Live.”

The show is devised as a “mystery” in which a handful of participants undergo a battery of the most advanced medical tests available. The results then get revealed live on the air.

The format already has been sold in Australia, Tracy said, and she is pitching it to U.S. networks now while her colleagues at Lion, a busy, U.K.-based production outfit, are pitching the show internationally at MIP.

This project is her baby, she says. She’s been spending much of her creative energy lately sorting out its execution.

She also just started talking to networks and distributors about “Party Bus,” a new program inspired by Lion’s “Cash Cab,” in addition to negotiating the distribution of the live entertainment program “Let Me Entertain You.”

“Party Bus” is a game show much like “Cash Cab,” which Discovery has locked up for the U.S. Instead of being set in a taxi, it takes place—you guessed it—on a bus. Buyers have been clamoring for something like “Cash Cab,” Tracy said, illustrating how a little track record can go a long way in TV today.

Tracy, on the other hand, is dying for more live or live-to-tape productions. Her roots are in local TV, and she said she savors any opportunity to be in a control room experiencing the sort of as-it-happens moments that are unique to, well, as-it-happens TV.

In addition to “Diagnosis Live,” “Party Bus,” “Entertain” and some other shows in development, Tracy’s mind was on her U.K. bosses as we sat at the Four Seasons.

“I feel a tremendous responsibility to find and create a hit for them,” she said of the company, which charged her with drumming up a Los Angeles-based business for them in 2005.

She expected “Diagnosis Live” to be “a big star” for the company at MIP.

“The medical genre is huge, but no one’s really figured how to do it on the networks,” she said. “The idea is you’re sitting at home and watching and say, ‘Omigod I’m so glad that guy went on that show.’”

The aim is “not to find someone with an embolism about to burst on the air,” she said, but rather to find things early and help people get the attention they need before they get sick. It’s about showing the power of preventive medicine.

Dined On: Tracy picked the Cabana Restaurant for a few reasons. First, Four Seasons venues tend to be popular among international business travelers, she said, and being that she works for a global company some foreign fare seemed appropriate.

Besides, a warm-beer-and-bangers-and-mash-serving English pub, while being perhaps more fitting “might be too smelly.” Plus she got her job offer here and took her parents to Cabana once she accepted the offer.

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Whatever reasons brought me to this quiet patio dining area adjacent to the hotel spa, I was happy to be there.

My Mediterranean trio, Tracy’s chicken skewers and the cobb salad we split were good, and as I expected, I loved the freshly-brewed passion fruit vanilla iced tea concoction.

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I pay good attention to which restaurants do iced tea right, and knew even if I hated the Cabana food (certainly not the case) I’d at least have a brilliant glass of the stuff.

Every Four Seasons I’ve dined at takes iced tea seriously. They serve it with ice cubes made out of the tea—so as the ice melts it doesn’t dilute the drink. How smart is that?

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Comments (1)

Sue:

Okay - so call me dumb - I would never have thought of making the iced cubes out of the drink. Now its sounds like such a "Duh". Love reading your entries Mel!

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