The Insider

Dec 17, 2001  •  Post A Comment

Negotiating Russert
The morning after he was toasted for having moderated “Meet the Press” for 10 years and for signing a new contract to continue with the top-ranked newsmaker show for an unheard of 12 more years, Tim Russert awoke to a message from “NBC Nightly News” anchor Tom Brokaw. “Just think, Tim, only 11 years and 11 months and 30 more days,” Mr. Brokaw said.
But Mr. Russert looks at the hard-earned long-run contract not as a sentence but as a wish granted. More precisely, a wish negotiated by Mr. Russert, who has no agent but who was trained for the law and then seduced by politics.
“You know what they say about a lawyer who has himself for a client,” Mr. Russert joked to The Insider. But he’s no fool for leaving out third parties. “I have a very good sense of the economics of the industry and the players.”
His strategy boiled down to: “I know what’s fair. You know what’s fair. Let’s move on.”
Mr. Russert kept financial particulars to himself but happily looked ahead.
After getting the media’s favorite left-leaning grouch, Don Imus, to wear Groucho Marx glasses for an hour-long chat on his “Tim Russert” CNBC interview show, Mr. Russert took his son and pals to see the Washington Wizards host the Miami Heat.
Because key primaries have been moved up, he noted happily, “The next presidential race is really only two years away.”
Paula Zahn is an `A.M.’ person
The Insider sooooooo doesn’t want to be a Grinch so close to Christmas-coal is sooooooo not what she wants from the Hefty Man in Red-but she’s not going to wait for CNN to announce the title for its fast-developing morning show anchored by Paula Zahn. Barring unexpected bolts of lightning, the three-hour block that has been using the interim title of “Mornings With Paula Zahn” will become permanently titled “A.M. With Paula Zahn.”
`Rummy’ dummied up on HDTV
Washington’s man of the hour, Donald Rumsfeld, will forever be remembered for his moment in the spotlight as defense secretary during America’s war on terrorism. But “Rummy,” as he’s affectionately known around the nation’s capital, has worn many hats during his storied career. One was as a member of the Federal Communications Commission’s High Definition Television Advisory Committee from 1992 to 1993. How did he end up on that team? Rummy was on the panel while he served as chairman and CEO of General Instrument Corp., a developer of HDTV technology. He attended the committee’s meetings but was usually quiet and didn’t make any lasting, memorable contributions, an FCC source said. Perhaps DTV issues were just never his forte. Too bad, of course, for Osama bin Laden that warfare is Rummy’s forte.
Two by two on Viacom’s ark
It seems only right that parents who work in two different territories of the Viacom empire should have twins. And so it happened on Tuesday, Dec. 4, when Fran Eigendorff, senior vice president of affiliate relations for CBS Television, and Richard Eigendorff, executive vice president and chief operating officer of MTV, became parents for the first time with the arrival of two boys. Patrick O’Donnell Eigendorff weighed in at 5 pounds, 41/2 ounces. Sean O’Donnell Eigendorff weighed in at 4 pounds, 111/2 ounces.
The Insider thinks those are lovely names but also thinks the Eigendorffs still have time to score suck-up points by nicknaming them “Little Sumner” and “Little Mel.”
Color cops true `Blue’
The Insider knows that a bad cop show is a crime and is prepared to give testimony if necessary. But what do the cops themselves think is the best police drama on TV?
More than 1,000 subscribers to American Police Beat magazine, mostly cops themselves, fingered “NYPD Blue” as the most accurate cop show on the tube and “Blue’s” dyspeptic Andy Sipowicz as the most accurately portrayed detective. According to the national poll conducted by Police Beat and Court TV, where ABC’s “Blue” just happens to play in reruns, almost two-thirds of the women and men in blue polled think realism is the most important quality for a cop show, while a mere 3.3 percent think that good acting is most important.
Asked whether TV violence makes young people more violent in real life, the respondents voted yes overwhelmingly (60.6 percent).