TelevisionWeek has eyes and ears at NATPE, with Andrew Krukowski, Josef Adalian and Greg Baumann roaming the floor and the suites to give readers the buzz in Las Vegas. Check back frequently for the sightings, asides and hallway murmurs that make NATPE a can’t-miss syndication event.


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Previous Months


Web Success Recipe: Luck and Strategy

January 29, 2009 11:31 AM

Making a hit Web series is a little bit of luck, talent and business acumen. That's the takeaway from "Anatomy of a Hit Web Series," a NATPE panel I'm observing right now.

The parenting advice series "DadLabs" landed one of its major sponsors at a trade show, said Clay Nichols, the chief creative officer with the show. Baby Bjorn has been an ongoing advertiser in "DadLabs" and the relationship grew out of meeting executives fro the baby product
company at parenting trade show, Mr. Nichols said. "We loved their products and someone at the company had started watching our show so we said, 'Do you want to come on board and sponsor a show?'" he explained.

"DadLabs" was a good fit for Baby Bjorn because part of Baby Bjorn's mission is to get dads more involved in parenting, Mr. Nichols said.

For the Crackle.com Web series "Gorgeous Tiny Chicken Machine," landing its deal with the Sony-owned site was pure luck, said Kim Evey, producer for the show. "We had the product and it happened to hit at the right time. It was luck," she said.

Brian Brushwood, the host of Revision3's bar tricks show "Scam School," explained during the session that he'd originally planned to launch the show on his own. But as he was buying hi-def cameras, he decided instead to reach out to Revision3. The online TV network was
interested in financing and distributing "Scam School," so the show launched as a Revision3 series. That partnership funds the show and also keeps the production values high, Mr. Brushwood said.

With 50 episodes under his belt, his goal now is to expand the number of tricks he offers. "It's like going back to my early days of magic and asking friends 'Can I show you a trick?' to make sure it works before we do it for the show."
—Daisy Whitney

Perfect Opportunity to Make Your Pitch—No Waiting

January 28, 2009 2:57 PM

“The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” is on the NATPE floor trying to attract people pitching product to television executives to “Pitch to America.”

Problem is, there isn’t anyone to pitch. The Leno crew is sitting around idly waiting for someone, anyone, to come up and give their minute spiel.

Assistants at the taping on the floor said they’ve shot about 29 pitches since 10 a.m. However, they said it’s about the slowest reaction to one of their shoots they’ve ever seen.

One production assistant said when “Tonight” rolls into an invention convention, the crew is swamped by willing participants.

Even past NATPEs have proven more fruitful, he said.

The crew will be back tomorrow to continue collecting footage for the segment, which is scheduled to air sometime next month.

Star-Gazing at NATPE

January 28, 2009 11:46 AM

Celebrities just don't look like the rest of us.

It's true. There's a reason they are celebrities. Because they don't look like the rest of us. So I'm sitting in the hallway at NATPE filing a story for TVWeek and this absolutely gorgeous person walks by and boom—it's Amber Lee Ettinger, known online as "Obama Girl."

And yep, there's a reason celebrities are the people we want to watch. They just look really, really good.

Home wrecker, she is not. But Ettinger said at NATPE today that she receives e-mails
from people asking, "Why are you trying to break up the [Obamas']

She added, "I mean, c'mon."

Wendy Williams Laps Up Attention From ‘Soup’

January 28, 2009 11:37 AM

Wendy Williams is ready for the television spotlight, not just from her show but also from her inevitable appearances on E!’s “The Soup.”

Host Joel McHale and “The Soup” took quite a liking to Wendy’s show during its six-week trial run, featuring the program several times during its test run.

Here’s a clip:

Ms. Williams said she loves “The Soup,” and added that she can dish it out, but she can also take it.

She said the exposure from “The Soup” even boosted her show’s national recognition, allowing people outside of the test markets to experience it, which in turn might have helped sales.

Let’s take a look at another clip:

For the record, in speaking with us, Ms. Williams said she has loved “The Soup” since its roots as “Talk Soup.”

—Andrew Krukowski

Drink Up!

January 28, 2009 11:37 AM

With Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution’s “The Bonnie Hunt Show” not receiving spectacular ratings, it is nice to see Warners is promoting the show, even if it is in appletini form.

Below is the drink menu from the company’s meet-and-greet last night at NATPE. We’re not exactly sure why TMZ is represented as a lemon drop.

Drink Menu

If we’re talking celebrities, the obvious choice is a rum and coke.

—Andrew Krukowski

Tyler Perry: Follow Your Heart, Not the Money

January 27, 2009 12:09 PM

Don't chase the money. That's a tenet actor-writer-producer Tyler Perry has held on to during his television and playwriting career, he said during a keynote interview at NATPE in Las Vegas this morning.

"The minute you start chasing money, you're in trouble," Mr. Perry said. "The most important thing is to stay true to what you feel inside. I have never wanted to compromise what I've done, and that's been a tremendous blessing every time I said no and walked away because there was a greater deal at the other end."

—Daisy Whitney

Sticky Wicket for Silverman

January 27, 2009 11:40 AM

NBC's Ben Silverman learned the hard way that women don't want used lipstick as a gift.

He's been besieged by female fans of "Lipstick Jungle" sending him lipsticks to entice him to bring the show back. During an interview at NATPE, he said he looked for a charity to donate lipsticks to, but most charities don't need lipstick. So he gave some of them to a woman he was dating. But—oops—turned out some of the lipsticks sent to him were used, and women don't really like used lipstick as a gift, he said.

—Daisy Whitney

What Do You Really Think, Ben Silverman?

January 27, 2009 11:26 AM

Times of financial turmoil (read: sucky economy) bring out the best euphemisms. Here's my favorite so far today. Here at NATPE, NBC programming chief Ben Silverman said, "This particular year has been one of the most transformative in television history and economic history."

Transformative. Yep, that's a euphemism.

—Daisy Whitney

Is ABC the Lifetime of Broadcast?

January 27, 2009 10:59 AM

ABC tends to skew family- and women-centric in its primetime programming with hits such as "Grey's Anatomy," "Desperate Housewives" and "Ugly Betty."

"So what's wrong with being the Lifetime of network television?" Ben Grossman of Broadcasting & Cable asked Anne Sweeney at NATPE this morning.

Nothing, she said. "Since we own 50% of Lifetime, there's nothing wrong with it. We have room for a Lifetime devoted to women and we have room for a Disney for kids and family and we have room for all these ways of programming."

—Daisy Whitney

Is Denny a Ghost?

January 27, 2009 10:50 AM

With a complete straight face, Broadcasting & Cable Editor Ben Grossman teed up the critical first question in his interview with Disney-ABC's Anne Sweeney here at NATPE in Las Vegas.

After all, the one thing on everyone's mind in the television business can be boiled down to this: Is Denny a ghost?

Sadly, she didn't answer. But we still want to know!

—Daisy Whitney