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Last Man Standing … for Now

Jun 2, 2003  •  Post A Comment

When Tribune Entertainment President/CEO Dick Askin announced he was a candidate for chairman of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences early last week, he was prepared to face off against incumbent Bryce Zabel. Then Mr. Zabel dropped out (see Page 9), leaving Mr. Askin as the last candidate standing … for now. “In the year and a half that I worked closely with Bryce in my position as (ATAS) vice chairman I found him to be committed to doing the best he possibly could for the betterment of the academy, its members and the television industry,” Mr. Askin said in a statesmanlike statement. “I hope that Bryce will want to remain an active participant … after he leaves office.”

Now the question is what would ATAS be like under Chairman Askin? In a letter to board members, he said, “Leading companies [in TV] must be engaged at the very top and encouraged to participate and contribute.” He said he would seek “financial support from these leading companies,” adding, “I see a bold opportunity tp mobilize my contacts and relationships through high-level committee assignments to protect jobs and expand job opportunities … gain needed financial support for the Academy Foundation and expand our membership through special events held at their facilities around Los Angeles.”

What doesn’t interest Mr. Askin is taking positions on hot social and political issues, which ATAS began doing under Mr. Zabel. “I’m concerned about the issues that directly affect our membership,” Mr. Askin told TelevisionWeek. “Certainly job retention. Also a lack of diversity. It would be my intention to address those on a pro-active basis.”