TVWeek.com is putting its readers in the thick of the action at the National Association of Program Executives 2007 conference with the help of guest bloggers Ritch Colbert and Josh Raphaelson, principles at Program Partners. Mr. Colbert and Mr. Raphaelson, consummate insiders, will be prowling the floors and suites and sending their impressions via instant messages. Their company, Program Partners, distributes shows including “Degrassi: The Next Generation,” “Da Vinci’s Inquest” and “Cold Squad.”


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January 17, 2007 7:18 PM

You have to love this business. For a show we unveiled on Sunday, we are starting to take orders and gain momentum on Wednesday. We have found broadcasters interested in a new concept—getting ratings for their station. But over the course of these two days we’ve had stations taking every possible position, and its opposite, on the market. Some say there aren’t enough shows to go around, some say they have plenty. It’s running about 2-1 in favor of the “low supply” siders.

Well, there goes the neighborhood. In life you can’t choose your parents, and at NATPE you can’t choose your neighbors. We’re in suite 61-904. Suite 61-903 is Roger King. And entourage.

Roger, who today is the CEO of CBS Television Distribution (CBS/King World/Paramount/Eyemark), once worked for one of our mentors, Dick Colbert. Dick’s son, is Ritch Colbert, co-author of this blog and a Program Partner principal. In fact, when Ritch started in the industry, he and Roger were occasionally roommates on the road.

In case you don’t know Roger, he has a somewhat out-sized personality, and he can be fun to have around. He (truly) could not have been more gracious in our suite when he came over and warmly welcomed Dick and Ritch and myself and wished us well with the new game show from Merv Griffin, “Let’s Play Crosswords.”

But here’s the thing. We’re all about the Golden Rule. And we’re all for trade show spirit. But Roger keeps coming over here to borrow stuff. First it was an ash tray, then a DVD. He goes on and on about the $3.2 billion in sales he’s made this year. According to one publication, NATPE is “his giant playground.” With 70,000 hours of programming you don’t get your own ashtray?

We mention Amy Carney, our colleague from Sony, out of sheer vanity and hoping that she may finally notice us.

In the grand tradition of NATPE, we have talent in our suite. This year, we have six members of the cast of our young adult daily drama, “Degrassi: The Next Generation”. They are Canadian, at or under twenty-years-old and absolutely adorable. They blush whenever anyone asks them to sign something (which is a lot). I’ve been doing the same thing, but for a completely different reason. It’s usually a waiter or catering staffer who asks me.

Our crack PR team from Priority includes a European rep, Marylou, who lives in Nice. At our team dinner the other night, Mary Lou told Josh that she is the product of an American father and a French mother, and that her parents met in France when her father was there under the Marshall Plan.

“You seem so young,” Josh said. “Was that the ‘Gary’ Marshall Plan?”

Is this on? We know you’re out there…

Josh Raphaelson and Ritch Colbert


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