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Technical Disaster at TNT/TBS Upfront Turns Network President Steve Koonin Into a Star TVWeek

In a scene reminiscent of a vintage Hollywood movie plot, a star was born today at the TNT/TBS upfront presentation in New York: Turner Entertainment Networks President Steve Koonin.

It started with a technical glitch, as things took a disastrous turn in mid-presentation. Just as Conan O’Brien attempted to introduce an old movie clip featuring programming head Michael Wright, a power surge knocked out the video.

O’Brien improvised for a few minutes, lamenting that he had worked last night on his TBS show, got two hours’ sleep and flew 3,000 miles ... for nothing. O’Brien’s vamping was well-received, but turned out to be just the opening act for Koonin, who came out a short time later--and killed.

Introducing himself as the “former” president of Turner Networks, Koonin started off by saying he wasn’t going to be much help with the technical difficulties. “Look, I’m Jewish,” he said. “I have no idea what happened.” Koonin went on to do about five minutes of what amounted to stand-up, as the audience roared.

Noting that the teleprompter was out of commission, Koonin said: “Let me tell you about TBS and TNT. (Pause.) I’ve got nothing.”

Koonin apologized that the presentation was going to take longer than expected. "We'll try to get you out of here in time for the Telemundo presentation tomorrow," he quipped, cautioning attendees to "ration your pastries."

And so it went, until the tech crew was able to get the show back on track. Wright later came out and joked that the network may want to give Koonin his own sitcom.

The video continued to be problematic, going out at least once more, but the network forged ahead bravely with the presentation.