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TelevisionWeek's new blog by World Poker Tour boss Steven Lipscomb marks this publication's second blog by a member of the television industry. As the founder of WPT, Steve often is credited with starting the televised poker boom. He's also known to say a controversial thing or two.

Just as Rich Goldfarb, senior VP of sales for National Geographic Channel, offered candid insight into the upfront advertising selling period, Steve plans to pull no punches in discussing the people, practices and pitfalls of the television business.

And remember: TVWeek.com encourages you to respond to what you read here. So feel free to post comments on Steve's blog.

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July 2007 Archives

The Other Hollywood

July 22, 2007 1:22 PM

Just got back from Washington DC – the other Hollywood. Walking the halls of Congress, talking with the power brokers of our political process, I walk away surprisingly optimistic. I am discovering that the system may actually work a lot better than most of us think.

How many lazy non-voters have you heard tell you that they don’t participate because the process is so screwed up (or corrupt). But, I just don’t think that is the truth of the matter. The people we met, their staff and employees are working to make things better (here and abroad). We hear about the scandals, the hypocrisy and the vice, but we seldom hear about the successes. Or, more appropriately, we seldom spend time to contemplate the remarkable reality that it actually works most of the time. How historically unique is that. And, when power gets too concentrated ... pride always brings the fall (read: ABSCAM and Abramov).

Amazing, really ...

Surely You Mock Yourself . . .

July 19, 2007 8:50 AM

Okay, people crack me up. Really, they do.

I just attended the Television Critics Association gathering with GSN, the Network for Games. Though I am sure I would say nice things just to bolster the new relationship, I am honestly impressed with the vision and positioning of the network. It is nice to be around people who dare to program out of vision rather than fear . . .

But, that’s not what prompted the blog. The TCA turns out to be the perfect industry people-watching extravaganza. And the guys who crack me up are the ones who take themselves so seriously.

The game show guy who used to be the network exec guy who thinks that makes him a genius—but not many people buy that any more . . . and he just doesn’t understand what has happened to his world.

The journalist who has done this for way too long—and hasn’t really enjoyed it for the last hundred years . . .

Which, in my mind, is an important life lesson. I am of the opinion that no matter where we start, we eventually become some kind of cliché. And, if we were watching the movie of our lives, it would become a poignant (and perhaps even hysterical) mocumentary.

Politicians enter their world believing they are public servants—then they do a million stump speeches and start to believe their own press (or they simply have to raise too much money to remember what public they were supposed to serve).

Closer to home, TV and film producers start off with a dream. We want to make great content—to tell stories—to change the world in our own particular way . . .

Then, somewhere along the way, we decide to make the thing that we can sell. And, if we’re lucky enough to have a hit, we get addicted to the buzz that surrounds a hit and the people who created it. Then, we find ourselves doing a weird thing.

We start trying to create another hit. And, that’s a very different thing . . .

But, then again, as Al Burton would say . . .

“No matter what, kid, you’re in show biz. How bad can it be?!”