Archive for July, 2009

Mike Dann and The Golden Age of Television: Next on TV CONFIDENTIAL

Saturday, July 25th, 2009

Legendary executive Mike Dann will be our special guest on the next edition of TV CONFIDENTIAL, Tuesday, July 28, 10pm ET, 7pm PT on Share-a-Vision Radio, KSAV.org.

Mike Dann may not have created prime time network television, but he knew how to make it work, first as an assistant at NBC in the early 1950s, then as head of programming for CBS from 1958 through 1970. Implementing strategies that he learned at NBC under the tutelage of the great Sylvester “Pat” Weaver, Mike Dann’s keen eye for programming and counterprogramming helped keep CBS at the top of the ratings for 14 consecutive years (a record that has never been broken). And while his job, first and foremost, was to pay attention to the numbers, he never lost sight of the desire to present quality programming that benefitted “the Tiffany Network.” That wasn’t always easy to do, especially when dealing with the likes of the “Smiling Cobra,” Jim Aubrey—Mike’s boss for five years, and a man whose penchant for backstabbing would have made J.R. Ewing proud.

Mike Dann’s memoirs, As I Saw It: The Inside Story of the Golden Age of Television, is a colorful look at the first 25 years of network television, from the birth of the first full network schedule through the creation of such staples as The Today Show and The Tonight Show, to the rise and fall of such prime time giants as Tom and Dick Smothers. It’s also chock full of great anecdotes about working with such legends as Mary Martin, Lucille Ball, Danny Kaye and Judy Garland, as well as broadcast pioneers David Sarnoff, William Paley and Pat Weaver. Mike Dann will be joining us beginning at 10:05pm ET, 7:05pm PT… we hope you’ll join us as well. 

Ed Robertson
Co-Host, TV CONFIDENTIAL
Every other Tuesday at 10pm ET, 7pm PT
Share-a-Vision Radio, KSAV.org
www.tvconfidential.net
blog.tvconfidential.net
Also available as a podcast via iTunes and FeedBurner

Walter Cronkite: “He Did Not Change Society, He Reported the Change as He Saw It”

Saturday, July 18th, 2009

In August 2006, Dave White and I co-hosted an hour of Talking Television in which we looked at the changing face of television news. Our guest that evening was Tony Gill, a professor of journalism at American International College with extensive experience as a radio and television news anchor, field reporter and radio talk show host in several major markets. Among other topics, we discussed some of the major news stories covered by television, including the assassination of President John Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963. In commenting on Walter Cronkite’s report of Kennedy’s death that afternoon, our friend Chicago Bill, a regular listener of Talking Television and later TV Confidential, wrote of Cronkite: “He did not change society–he reported the change as he saw it.” Our guest Tony Gill then commented on how even Cronkite was effected by the magnitude of the moment, removing his glasses and wiping a tear from his eye before signing off. Gill also commented on how Cronkite just missed out on the era in which the television anchor also served as the managing editor of the evening news… a role that Cronkite no doubt would have served with relish.

As we remember Walter Cronkite this evening, I thought that in addition to Tony Figueroa’s excellent coverage we’d also share a clip from our 2006 conversation about Cronkite and the state of network television news. You can hear that clip by clicking here.

Ed Robertson
Co-Host, TV CONFIDENTIAL
Every other Tue, 10pm ET, 7pm PT Share-a-Vision Radio
www.edrobertson.com
www.tvconfidential.net
blog.tvconfidential.net

This Week On TV Confidential

Saturday, July 11th, 2009

Author, speaker and stand-up comic Tom Dreesen will be our special guest this week on the season premiere of TV CONFIDENTIAL, Tuesday, July 14, 10pm ET, 7pm PT on Share-a-Vision Radio, KSAV.org.

Most of us know Tom Dreesen for his many appearances on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and The Late Show with David Letterman, as well as his many years as the opening act for Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. and other show business legends. Less known, however, is the story of his partnership with comic/actor Tim Reid (WKRP in Cincinnati) in the late 1960s as America’s first, and only, interracial comedy team. At a time of racial unrest, riots and assassination, Dreesen and Reid worked nightclubs across the country, facing racist heckling, threats and even violence. And while they would never enjoy the success as a team that they would later have in their solo careers, their individual triumphs would not have been possible were it not for the struggles they went through together. It’s a remarkable story of passion, perseverance and a 40-year friendship that will appeal to anyone, no matter what field you work in. Tom Dreesen will join us live in our second hour.

In our first hour, Tony Figueroa and David Krell will join us as we take a look at the world of television during the first half of 2009. From the changing of the guard on NBC late night television to the Letterman/Palin controversy, from notable series finales (E/R) to shows that were perhaps canceled before their time (Life on Mars), from the inauguration of Barack Obama to the death of Michael Jackson and a whole lot more. Be sure to join us Tuesday, July 14, beginning at 10pm ET, 7pm PT on Share-a-Vision Radio, KSAV.org.

Ed Robertson
Co-Host, TV CONFIDENTIAL
Every other Tuesday at 10pm ET, 7pm PT
Share-a-Vision Radio, KSAV.org
www.tvconfidential.net
blog.tvconfidential.net
Also available as a podcast via iTunes and FeedBurner