More from Tuesday at NATPE
January 16, 2007 4:58 PM
NATPE officially starts for us today, but the road to NATPE has been interesting. For us the conference kicked off unofficially on Sunday when a crowd of about 60 people filled our suite for an advance sneak pre-view of our new production from Merv Griffin, “Let’s Play Crosswords”. We had a majority of the major group broadcasters represented, and Merv held the crowd in the palm of his hand. We asked him to talk about his inspiration for the show and to introduce the presentation video. “Try and get me off,” he said. Before the crowd, his anecdotes ranged from Bugsy Siegel’s Las Vegas to his own ‘contretemps with Donald Trump’ (now there’s a series to compete with the bald-headed security guard from Jerry Springer). He described how for 15 years he has been mulling over the idea of a game show based on crossword puzzles, and how only through some recent, intensive development sessions had he figured out a dramatic way to bring the format to the screen. Merv described the specific camera angles and contestant shots he envisions, presented a detailed sketch of the stage and a state-of-the-art CGI animatic pilot that reveals the game play. I’m may be the wrong person to ask how effective this presentation was, but I will tell you this: when the winning contestant completed the lightning bonus round just under the wire, the room erupted in spontaneous applause. That’s television.
There was some brouhaha about the announcement of the Merv Griffin series. In advance, we had scheduled meetings with journalists for Monday (yesterday) to go on the record with a “major announcement”. We embargoed the story until then, because we just didn’t want to take any of the air out of our dramatic Sunday meeting. But on Friday last week, a few journalists had gotten wind of the story and were going to press with it. It all worked fine for us, and we’ve been blessed with terrific media support. But when one of the journalists showed up late for an interview yesterday because their hotel room had flooded, I couldn’t resist telling them the same thing we’ve repeated over and over again to our wonderful PR representatives… Wait for it…
“We’ve got to control these leaks!”