NEW YORK — Comedian Ben Gleib, host of GSN’s returning (April 1) quiz show Idiotest, welcomed reporters and advertisers to the network’s annual upfront breakfast. “It was great getting to know several of you during our brief, 15-second conversations,” he deadpanned at the March 10 gathering at the Sony Club.
With apologies to GSN CEO David Goldhill, who emceed the previous couple of years, this Gleib guy seems like a keeper.
First Gleib introduced Goldhill, calling him “a wonderful guy and my longtime boyfriend.”
“I guess we know what the big news is going to be tomorrow,” Goldhill replied, before saying he had “quite enjoyed” being emcee. (Hey, that’s show biz.)
After Goldhill’s spiel, Gleib said the CEO had meant to announce GSN ordered another five seasons of Idiotest.
“So, it’s true, five seasons of one episode each, beyond this year,” Goldhill said, telling Gleib, “I need that suit back.”
Gleib introduced GSN’s ad sales chief as the “very, very bald” John Zaccario.
“That’s the best you can do, bald? This guy over here could do better and you’re a professional,” Zaccario said, referring to Goldhill.
When programming chief Amy Introcaso-Davis took her turn to speak about new shows and returning series, she said GSN was attracting younger-than-usual audiences thanks to Idiotest and to Skin Wars, the bodypainting competition skein that in 2014 became the channel’s top performing original ever in key demos such as women ages 25-54.
GSN even had a model at the breakfast event, Katherine Terreros, bodypainted (by the artist known as Vargas) as a tiger.
While Introcaso-Davis spoke, Gleib apparently gave Goldhill back his suit. The host returned to the podium wearing only black underpants, jacquard socks and black shoes, his chest bearing the painted slogan “GSN 2015 Upfront” under a Manhattan skyline.
“We all have to agree to the bodypainting in our contracts,” he explained.
“This is the end of our presentation, and judging by my nipples, it is 40 degrees out there,” he declared, inviting guests to linger a while.
(Cord-)Cutting Satire as ‘Onion’ Weighs In
You know you have earned your zeitgeist cred when The Onion takes aim from its satirical perch.
Such was the case last week as cable’s battle against cord cutters made it onto the Onion website (how appropriate) in the form of some tongue-in-cheek responses to the cord-cutting phenomenon of giving up traditional cable service in favor of watching online (mostly also possible because of cable companies wearing their “invest hundreds of billions in ISP hat,” but we digress).
Some of The Wire’s favorites.
• “Cable boxes to emit loud, pained moan whenever users attempt to unplug.”
• “For added convenience, four-hour installation windows will be reduced to 16 separate 15-minute windows.”
• “Reminding customers there’s probably a James Bond marathon on Spike right now.”
• “Highlighting the exciting added level of suspense that comes with viewing shows whose plots are constantly interrupted by two- to four-minute commercial breaks.”
• “Massive rebranding effort to portray cable industry as plucky, $300 billion underdog.”
— John Eggerton
Wonder Women Coming March 19
Thursday’s Wonder Women luncheon has been a hot ticket for weeks and only a limited number of seats are still available to honor 13 Wonder Women and a dozen Women to Watch, aided by three star guest hosts: Alisyn Camerota (l.), the co-host of CNN’s New Day; Andrea Canning (c.), anchor for NBC’s Dateline; and Pam Oliver, reporter for Fox NFL Sunday, the NFL on Fox and Fox Sports 1.
The event, returning to the Hilton New York and co-sponsored by the New York chapter of Women in Cable Telecommunications, celebrates the accomplishments of the 17th class of Wonder Women. If past luncheons are any guide, the speeches will be warm, funny and educational, and the opportunity to network with hundreds of cable-industry peers will be invaluable. For more about the event and the honorees, please visit mcnwonderwomen.com.