The Insider

Dec 8, 2003  •  Post A Comment

None of the sports and TV executives and stars in the ballroom of New York’s Waldorf-Astoria missed the joke written into the NBC Sports ad in the program for last week’s March of Dimes 20th Anniversary Sports Luncheon.
The event’s four honorees-ESPN and ABC Sports President George Bodenheimer, Mets pitcher Al Leiter, LPGA star Annika Sorenstam and NBA Commissioner David Stern-were saluted in NBC’s ad as “Four genuine icons who define what sports and humanity are all about.”
But to Mr. Stern’s portion of the ad was added a scrawled note that read, “Yes, we still love him.”
It was, The Insider was assured, “an affectionate tip of the hat” to Mr. Stern by NBC Sports and Olympics Chairman Dick Ebersol, who two years ago let go of NBA coverage as too costly and this year spent $2 billion for two more Olympic Games that will secure NBC’s place as this country’s Olympics player through 2012.
More than two years after she left her job as executive producer of NBC’s “Weekend Today” to become special programming VP at CNN, Kim Bondy was in the right place at the right time to have a conversation that would inspire a layout on mentors in the December issue of Real Simple, another Time Warner property. Ms. Bondy’s mentor practically since they met in 1995 at an NBC Olympics planning meeting is Paula Madison, now president and general manager of KNBC-TV in Burbank, Calif., and No. 77 on the Hollywood Reporter’s list of 100 powerful media women. Back then Ms. Madison was news director at WNBC-TV in New York.
The opportunity to sing each other’s praises in a national magazine was nice. That it appeared in a favorite magazine is rich icing on the cake. “I save every issue,” said the ultra-organized Ms. Madison.
She may be saving multiple copies of another upcoming issue of Real Simple, which is covering her annual reunion/slumber party of longtime friends this January for possible inclusion in its January 2005 issue.
Ms. Bondy, who will be the youngest there, has thought about the inevitable time when professional relationships such as theirs must either end or evolve from mentor-mentee to collegial.
“It’s important for the mentee to own that,” the CNN executive said.
Kathy O’Hearn, the versatile network news veteran who produced the “Topic A With Tina Brown” quarterly specials that earned Ms. Brown a regular Sunday night spot in CNBC’s prime-time lineup starting next February, has signed to remain with the show as executive in charge.