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Hollywood Notes

May 14, 2001  •  Post A Comment

Syndicator alters NATPE approach
Carsey-Werner-Mandabach Distribution will go international at next year’s National Association of Television Program Executives convention. The distributor will change its approach to the market, according to Bob Raleigh, president of the syndicator-much like the moves made earlier this year by Warner Bros., which pulled out of the annual convention because of costs and a declining attendance of domestic buyers.
The company has opted to use a smaller booth next year to be used mainly for international sales, while much of the domestic sales force will take suites at the Venetian Hotel, where Warner Bros. will be present with its domestic sales force.
Mr. Raleigh and Warner’s Domestic Television Distribution President Dick Robertson were vocal at this year’s NATPE convention, questioning the cost-effectiveness of the conference with budget cutbacks and consolidation limiting attendance of local station managers.
WGA boards approve deal
The West Coast and East Coast director boards of the Writers Guild of America unanimously voted May 9 to approve a tentative three-year contract with the Hollywood studios and broadcast networks. The next step is to mail ballots to the WGA’s 11,000-plus members. The ballots must be returned by June 4. Members of the guild can also vote at June 4 ratification meetings set up at Writers Guild Theater in Beverly Hills, Calif., and at WGA East’s offices in New York.
The rank-and-file WGA scribes are expected to ratify the new pact. There has been positive support for the new contract, which is estimated to garner writers $41 million in additional residual and minimum scale fees over the three-year term. However, the settlement was significantly lower than the $100 million-plus increase the union had sought for its membership.
Kenneally heads to CAA
Ex-ReplayTV Executive Vice President Rob Kenneally joined Creative Artists Agency’s television department last week. CAA said Mr. Kenneally will “function in all areas, including network and off-network packaging, cable, as well as marketing. … [He] will work with artists, production companies and broadcast and cable television networks to sell CAA-packaged shows that reflect an understanding of focused and inventive marketing strategies.”
Pax puts `Power’ in programming
In a continuing sign of cooperation with NBC, a one-third equity partner in Paxson Communications, the Pax TV network is set to air “The Power of One,” an original one-hour special hosted by “Dateline NBC” anchor Maria Shriver, at 8 p.m. (ET) May 23.
The show, produced for Pax by “Dateline NBC” and NBC News, spotlights individuals whose drive and determination are instrumental in bettering their communities and the world around them.
Sorkin honored with award from IRTS
After veteran producer David Brown presented the International Radio and Television Society Foundation Award to “West Wing” Executive Producer Aaron Sorkin May 9 in New York, the NBC hit’s creator thanked a long list of people, from NBC executives to “my friend and my lawyer, who’s been getting a bit of a workout lately.” There was a spurt of tentative laughter from the crowd at what was the only reference to Mr. Sorkin’s arrest last month on suspicion of drug possession.
Mr. Brown, who produced “A Few Good Men” when it was Mr. Sorkin’s play, which would later turn into a big-screen blockbuster, started his introduction by saying, “I’ll skip to the bottom line: I love Aaron Sorkin” and ended with the declaration, “I’m honored to call him my colleague and best friend.”
Fellow honoree, “Meet the Press” moderator Tim Russert, was introduced by his boss, Andrew Lack, who was promoted from NBC News president to NBC president and chief operating officer on May 8.
With contributions from Michele Greppi