The Insider

Aug 4, 2003  •  Post A Comment

NBC closed the recent Television Critics Association summer tour with a casino-inspired party at which a good time seems to have been had by all from start to finish. Indeed, departing partygoers were given decks of playing cards picturing a full house of NBC players, from suits who occupy executive suites to entertainment and news stars. Late-nighters Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien were the jokers, of course. Lost in the shuffle was the image of Brian Williams, anchor of an eponymous nightly newscast on CNBC and heir apparent to “Nightly News” anchor Tom Brokaw, but he wasn’t alone. Nobody in the NBC cable family made the cut, because there just aren’t enough cards in the full deck.
For games, there were the usual (craps and roulette) and the unusual (a Jeff Zucker slot machine).
But the big hit was the board on which the fun folks at NBC posted the odds on a number of scenarios, ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous, and all tilting at someone’s sacred cow(s).
The Insider’s favorite: “Jeff Zucker names new son Leslie.” Odds: “A million to 1.” The runner-up: “`Coupling’ gets second run on Pax.” Odds: Also “A million to 1.”
The punch lines were honed by an assortment of folks from the publicity, promotions and programming departments, but The Insider hears that some of the punchiest lines came from NBC West Coast executive VP Marc Graboff, who is usually focused on the bottom lines of business deals.
Meanwhile, at NBC News on the East Coast, the search has slowed to find someone to step into Jane Pauley’s vacated co-anchor spot on “Dateline NBC.” With only two editions scheduled each week this fall, the plan now is to rotate in assorted NBC News talent as Stone Phillips’ co-anchor. “We don’t need to rush,” said one NBC source.
CBS Sports Communications VP LeslieAnne Wade is no longer “very expectant,” as The Insider put it when noting her being honored as a WISE Woman in July. She and hubby Kevin McGinn became parents July 30 of a bundle of joy named Gavin Michael McGinn. More important, perhaps, young Maggie became the big sister of a 7-pound, 15-ounce bundle of boy.