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Chuck Ross, Vet Scribe Covering TV and Ad Industry, Pinkslips Self; TVWeek to Shutter

Jan 31, 2020  •  Post A Comment

By Chuck Ross
Editorial Director and Publisher, TVWeek

As someone born and raised in the shadow of Hollywood, I’m thrilled to have a Varietyese headline of my own choosing.

It’s time to move on. I turned 68 this month and I’m retiring. I’ll still write — I can now devote all my attentions to a book I’ve been researching for several years — but myself and my colleague and friend Dennis R. Liff, our executive editor — who has done most of the heavy lifting for this site for a long time now — are calling it quits for TVWeek. Primarily it’s been just the two of us who have been putting out TVWeek for a number of years now.

We’ll leave the site up for anyone who wants to check out old stories, but we’ll no longer be publishing our daily links to TV stories around the net. If you are interested in another site that aggregates stories about TV, we heartily recommend TVNewsCheck, run by our good friend Harry Jessell.

Today ends almost 38 years of continuous publication. We started on May 3, 1982, as Electronic Media, which became known as EM. The publication was the brainchild of Rance Crain as a spinoff of Advertising Age, which Rance’s dad, G.D., founded in January 1930.

Rance changed our name in 2003 to TelevisionWeek, and in 2009 we became an online only publication.

When I first joined EM in 2000, as its editor, it was a bustling, vibrant publication with about 50 employees, equally split between the business side and the edit side.

All the stories we published then were written by our terrific staff. Unfortunately, marketplace conditions dictated a path for us that led to our becoming a publication that aggregated and linked to stories published by others, with little original reporting.

By the way, I think I have (finally) figured out a way for TVWeek to return to those glory years. That would be if it’s adopted by a journalism school. As the owner of TVWeek for the past five years, I’d be willing to sell the pub to a J-school for a dollar.

The plan would be for journalism students to make up much of the staff, as they experience what it’s like to run a real-life trade publication that has accumulated an excellent reputation over its 38-year lifespan. With a full editorial staff, TVWeek would once again become a publication filled with crisp, perceptive, original reporting.

Dennis Liff has told me that he would be open to staying with the publication if a J-school took it over. In partnership with the new owner it would be decided which other positions needed to be filled by professionals who would work with the  J-students.

That’s the idea in a nutshell. I ran it by one dean of a J-school who liked the idea but said he didn’t think he could swing it budgetwise (paying to support a website and paying some professionals to work with the students) and that it didn’t really fit with the way his school’s current curriculum works.

I do think it would be a win-win for the right partner. There are a lot of J-schools out there, but it’s rare for one to also be able to give its students the opportunity to write for a real-life national trade pub serving a major industry, with the J-school owning the publication.

In the premiere issue of EM back in 1982, Rance Crain wrote: “Our exclusive niche will be defined as the wide range of electronic media, in all its new, old and emerging forms. We believe in the need for a publication that will blow away all the smoke and pull together, in a meaningful and useful way, the relationships involved.”

That need is still there.

I can be reached at chkross@tvweek.com if anyone is interested. Dennis Liff can be reached at dlifftv@gmail.com.

Meanwhile, I have a lot of people I want to thank before I sign off. To read those acknowlegements, please click here.

33 Comments

  1. Thanks for the great insight through the years! God speed!

  2. Bummer!

  3. Best of luck, Chuck. 🙂
    Phil Swann

  4. Good luck on your retirement. I will miss this publication. As a person in the industry, I have found many insights & information I would not have otherwise have known. Thank you.

  5. As the Content Executive for a global media service organization for the past decade, thank you for the daily insight you’ve provided. Professionally and personally I have appreciated the consistent, clear and pithy way you’ve operated here. Not gonna lie, I’m sad about this news…but more happy that you have time and inclination (and ability) to pursue your continuing passions. From one geezer to another, rock on and again thanks for what has been a constant source of intelligence, and often great humor, of my life in the “media business.”

  6. Total bummer!!! This is where I would get my information. Best of luck in your next chapter and fingers crossed a school picks it up!

  7. Loved TVWeek for many years now. Thank you for all the great information you’ve provided over the years. Best wishes for success with your new endeavors!

  8. Chuck, you are a passionate journalist who wrote and edited insightful and personal stories. TV Week, your carefully curated articles and your love for the business of TV will be greatly missed! Wishing you all the best in next adventures!!

  9. I have enjoyed this publication for my entire career and I’m sorry to see it (likely) cease. Chuck, we’ve only spoken a few times, but your enthusiasm for this industry always came through. Best of luck to you in your well deserved retirement.

  10. Well that was a boomer move. Anyway. Thank you Chuck for giving me my start in Media Sales. Working with you at TV Week was one of my favorite jobs. Walking in to a sales presentation with you, riffing off the client, solving problems and developing products and solutions in the moment was always a lot of fun and provided the basis for the last ten years of my career.
    Best of luck in the next chapter of your life.

  11. TV Week and you will be missed, Chuck.
    Congratulations on the success it has been and best wishes on the next endeavors. We’ll be looking for the book!

  12. I started out in the EM era and have kept reading it even after leaving the industry. I’ll miss the daily roundup but I understand wanting to retire–I’m a year behind you! Good luck pursuing your writing dream!

  13. Only two of you compiled this every day? What a tremendous accomplishment. It was way more than a round-up of aggregated stories. Who else would have given us the enlightening obit about Bob Dorough, the creative force behind “Schoolhouse Rock,” or compelled us to watch Rod Serling’s “Patterns,” (“One of the Absolute Finest TV Dramas Ever”). Your headlines drew us into the stories.

    Thank you for your years of dedication to keeping us industry-informed. Enjoy your next “chapter” in life. I hope that one of the J-schools takes you up on your offer.

  14. TVWeek as the main resource I used to go from communication student to TV industry professional and expert. I am indebted to this publication and so thankful to have learned from it. Thank you very, very much ❤️📺

    There will be a hole in my inbox where TVWeek used to be. Hope to see it resurrected by J-students soon.

  15. Wishing you nothing but the best

  16. What??? Maybe you should have talked this over with your wife???? Retired?? WTF, are you gonna be home now 24/7???!!!….. yeah yeah, just kidding, I love you Chuck Ross, you’ve been the bestest of the best, providing for our 4 kids and keeping your sense of humor ( and sanity) intact. Onward we go my sweet!!!
    Susan

  17. My thanks for the many years of indispensable journalistic acumen and wishing you safe sailing as you embark upon the next adventure. TVWEEK will be sorely missed.
    Kindest regards,
    Todd P. Leavitt

  18. Wow, dad! I can’t believe your stint at TVWeek has come to a close. You’ve stayed with this publication through so many upturns and downswings and changes and permutations.

    Many readers may not appreciate how hard you worked to maintain TVWeek over the years–it was very hard, indeed. You traveled extensively, worked on weekends, and woke up at 4am consistently, owing in equal parts to your commitment to quality journalism and your commitment to supporting our family.

    So thank you, dad. Glad you’re finally getting to sign off, and on your own terms.

    –Schuyler (Chuck’s son)

  19. You fought a good flight, Chuck. It was a pleasure to work with you in the early days, and I’ve been impressed how you’ve kept things going during turbulent economic times for trade journalists. You deserve a break.

  20. Best of everything for your next adventures (including vege out time!). It’s been great to be along with you on various segments of the ride. Always good to be with true professionals!

  21. All the best to you, Chuck. EM/TVW had a great run. And EM will always live on in the movie Scrooged!

  22. Have always respected and loved you. That surely won’t change. Thanks for all the education.

  23. Best wishes, Chuck. It’s the end of an era. You’ve always been a must-read. You have good reason to be proud of your work.

  24. Ever since I retired from Warner Bros. I have depended on TV Week to keep me updated on the goings on in the industry. You will be much missed, Chuck but retirement has a lot going for it too!
    Jean

  25. I have read TV Week for so many years, you deserve kudos for keeping us informed. Your idea of having a J school adopt the mantle is inspired. Best of luck.

  26. Have you contacted the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia? Grady hands out the Peabody Awards each year and houses the Peabody archives. Just a thought …

  27. Hi Chuck, As an original writer and NY bureau chief with Electronic Media (splitting my time with Ad Age), I’m sorry to see TV Week fade away. All the best in your retirement — and good luck in landing a J-school!

  28. Good luck to you guys. You will be missed. I just retired last week also.

  29. Thank you for taking care of us for all these years – the best combination of all the right information – for the industry- will be missed for sure – please enjoy retirement! (And love the journalism school idea)

  30. Chuck, thank you so much for all the years of great information and insight about the industry.
    I looked forward to receiving the newsletter every day. You are already missed in my inbox!
    Enjoy retirement and life in general! The idea of having a school take over is brilliant. I hope somebody takes advantage of what you have built.

  31. Best wishes! I know the feeling.

  32. We’re sorry to see this daily and very informative publication come to an end. It’s been a great source and fountain of information and we wondered why suddenly TVW stopped showing up in our mailboxes. Best of luck gentlemen in your future endeavors and let’s hope a J-school will pick up the gauntlet and carry on. Stay safe and carry on.

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