The Insider

Nov 12, 2001  •  Post A Comment

The other reason for ALTV’s pullout from NATPE
In his recent announcement that the Association of Local Television Stations was pulling the plug on its annual meeting under the NATPE banner in January, ALTV President Jim Hedlund blamed a variety of factors, including a soft advertising market and the withdrawal from the Las Vegas Convention Center by most major distributors. He failed to mention that ALTV and NATPE had been unable to renegotiate a deal under which NATPE had been giving ALTV $150,000 a year as an inducement to stage its annual programs as a preliminary event at NATPE. The two organizations originally agreed to convene contiguously nearly a decade ago in an effort to lure broadcasters and distributors to two conventions with one trip. NATPE President Bruce Johansen said he had made clear that ALTV could continue to hold its convention in conjunction with NATPE next year, even without a contract in place, but that ALTV opted not to. “It wasn’t that we shut them out,” Mr. Johansen said. At deadline, ALTV’s Mr. Hedlund had not returned phone calls.
Why Geraldo doesn’t have to run
Since the TV biz tends to take folks off the air as soon as their intentions to leave for greener (or at least different) pastures become known, it seemed odd to The Insider that CNBC wasn’t going to yank Geraldo Rivera’s “Rivera Live” from its weeknight lineup as soon as the outspoken Mr. Rivera announced that he was off to Fox News as of Nov. 16 to become a war correspondent. But some familiar with CNBC’s thinking offer up this theory: Mr. Rivera’s 15-person unit is the largest by far for any single news show on CNBC. That number is very near the number of Internet-team layoffs CNBC has been expected to make for weeks. There’s hope that the departure of the high-priced Mr. Rivera (who has long rankled news executives at parent company NBC) and his staffers might obviate-or at the very least postpone-the need for further cuts of the 400- to 500-person CNBC staff. The Insider thinks theories are like men. You go with the best one you can find until a better one comes along.
No frills for CBS’s Maureen Maher in Afghanistan
Maureen Maher is unlikely to forget the “big picture” of what she has seen in northern Afghanistan, where children unaccustomed to an American working woman in jeans and hiking boots first gawk and then beg for bubble gum or anything that passes for food, and where being no more than the length of a couple of football fields from the Taliban’s northern front means a close encounter with tank fire. (“It was startling but not frightening.”)
She has mostly been tethered to the satellite dish in the CBS-ABC compound, in which she’s invariably the only woman (occupying a room) among a couple of dozen male journalists (in tents) and in which you clean up at the spigot stuck into a water-filled oil drum. It’s “much more livable now” than when CBS News correspondent Liz Palmer choppered in among the early wave of American journalists and had to wait for basic provisions to catch up.
“She is a saint,” said Ms. Maher, a former CBS Newspath correspondent who smuggled in with her a hotel-sized bar of lavender soap and a sample-sized bottle of perfume but who confesses that her inner radio reporter and anchor (Chicago’s WLUW-FM and WWJ-AM in the early ’90s) enjoys not being required to put on much more than lipstick to do her job. “Nobody expects a beauty queen. This is the way it should be done,” said Ms. Maher, who hasn’t used her hair dryer except to dry out a wet cellphone. Still, when she rotates out of there around Thanksgiving, “I’d like to spend about 25 minutes being a girl. I think I would like to take a really nice, hot shower and blow-dry my hair.”
`Gilmore’ art does indeed imitate life
Art imitating life, or satirizing it, has taken on new meaning in front of and behind the camera at the offbeat WB hit “Gilmore Girls.” In the season opener, rising Asian-American star Keiko Agena, who plays Lane Kim, a best friend to Rory Gilmore (played by Alexis Bledel), returned from a parentally imposed summer trip to meet relatives in Korea.
It was a plot line inspired by a real-life conundrum faced by script coordinator Helen Pai, a Japanese-American who has worked for “Gilmore Girls” creator and executive producer Amy Sherman-Palladino for eight years.
“The original inspiration for that story arc is based on what Helen went through on a trip her parents wanted her to take to meet her cousins, which presented cultural barriers for her to break through as an Americanized girl,” Ms. Agena said. “Her parents are very traditional and are mindful of her understanding her heritage, which was something that just fascinated and touched Amy in so many ways.”
“I have been poring through Helen’s life for a long time, much to her potential chagrin,” Ms. Sherman-Palladino joked. “There just seemed to be this fascinating duality to her life, where Helen maintains a strong cultural link but is also a club rocker and pop culture barfly.”