Don't hate 'em! And I say that with love. I'm talking about the hundreds of television executives, producers and show buyers who I snapped in the picture above inside the massive lobby bar of Fountainbleu Miami Beach Hotel. You see, over the past few days I've met a ton, literally, of innovative men and women here at the National Association of Television Producers and Executives (NATPE) conference in Miami who are creating incredible ways to create, produce and deliver great content to you wherever you are. (Hey, I watch my NBA video roundup of the previous night's games at 5 a.m. on my iPhone when I'm on the... Well, you get the picture).
Sure, there are still a number of "old school" execs who are tethered to the antiquated ways of bringing you shows you love or loathe. They'll be left tied up at the entertainment dock as we set sail on this exciting new content creation cruise.
So, as my dad would ask me, "Why should I give two @#$% about this NATPE thing?" Ah, my dad, always cutting to the chase with a no b.s. approach. However, his is a spot-on question. My dad, like you, just loved good shows. Creative shows. He often lamented there was so much "crap" on TV.
In my 12 years crisscrossing the globe covering TV, film, music and awards ceremonies with Access Hollywood, many of you I met along the way often asked me something along the lines of, "Tony, how did THAT show ever get made? Who was the person who thought THAT show was good? Are they idiots?"
The answers are: I don't know, who knows and no, 99 percent of them are not idiots. Ok, maybe 95. And here's why you and my dad should care about what's happening at NATPE, especially this 2014 edition. It's because the evolution-to-possible-slight-revolution sparking here in Miami is fascinating and will directly affect you. What you see, how you see it, when you see it and what it will cost you are all being decided and innovated hour by hour, deal by deal.
Just as the Netflix innovation of creating a show, House of Cards, and letting you view the entire season at once made for an enjoyable, I'll watch the damn show when I want to watch it experience, the changes talked about here in Miami are just as disruptive.
Look for more of the Netflix model to be adopted and blended by more companies. Look for increased ways for you to view content you love in easier, more desirable ways and when you want it.
In addition, get ready for more opportunities to live interact with the star of your favorite show while the episode is playing and with more regularity. We have just cracked the door open in the past year or so on that one. Imagine, live tweeting back n' forth with the Seinfeld gang back in the day or Friends. Although, Seinfeld was a show about nothing, so I guess there wouldn't be anything to tweet. Maybe, a back n' forth with the cast of TJ Hooker?
The net-net of all this for you and me, (cuz' I love TV, too. Showtime's brilliant Masters of Sex anyone?), is that better programming is coming to you in ways you didn't even know you needed. And, it will engage you in fascinating, innovative ways with the shows and stars you love. I'm excited to see what transpires over the next 12 months!
Oh, and one final thought on your question of "Who was the person who thought THAT show was good?" Well, as I wrap up my Sun-Wed at NATPE, I think I've found that person. I can tell you that every day there is some sort of free food n' cocktail soiree happening morning, noon and night. These are put on by the networks, companies that sell shows and those who buy them. You can literally drink from the moment you wake up until to the moment your head hits the pillow.
Now, I'm not saying someone made a boozed-up, alcohol-fueled purchase of a show. But I do ask you to think back to a time in your life when you had a little too much to drink and you ended up at a diner at 3 a.m. On the menu are salads and fruit plates. The good stuff. But you ordered the grilled-cheese with fries slathered in chili, knowing full well you'd wake up the next morning regretting it. But, at the time, it was so bad it was good. Until the sun came up.
Killer Women anyone? I'll take a chocolate shake with that.