Through the Wire


Suits Don’t Win Awards for Discovery

The most frequently asked question these days on the red carpet at the Emmys is “Who are you wearing?” We can say unequivocally that the executive producer from Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch was the only one to answer “Grundens!”

Thom Beers, CEO of Original Productions, which also produces Monster Garage and Biker Build Off, decided to stand out in the crowd of Armanis and Hugo Bosses at Aug. 19’s creative Emmy Awards at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles by eschewing the standard tux in favor of more colorful “foulweather” gear.

In honor of the three nominations garnered by the show, depicting the hazardous lives of crab fishermen in the Bering Strait, Beers and 10 of his producers donned the brightly colored protective gear worn by the seamen.

It got attention, all right, but not always the good kind. They were stopped by security on their way into the ceremony.

“We looked like we were wearing Hazmat suits and I think that scared them. But we think we made a great statement,” Beers relates.

Alas, they were not lucky suits. Deadliest Catch was shut out in its categories. The channel’s only win was for outstanding animated program, which was awarded to Before the Dinosaurs.

It was Amateur Night, For a Great Cause

Cable and advertising folks took their singing talents out of the shower stall and onto the stage recently before a sold-out audience at the Irving Plaza in New York.

The good, the bad and the off-tune came out in force for a Weather Channel instigated fundraiser for The Valerie Fund, a not-for-profit organization that raises money for comprehensive health services for children suffering from cancer and blood disorders.

The event, dubbed CAREoke for Kids, attracted acts including ABC Family’s rendition of Bon Jovi’s “Dead or Alive,” Neil Diamond’s “Forever in Blue Jeans,” as envisioned by executives from Zenithmedia Ad Agency; and a recreation of “We Are the World” by 15 staffers from The Weather Channel.

“We thought it would just be funny, but every act was so impressive. It was a very professional evening,” said Liz Janneman, Weather Channel’s senior vice president of cable ad sales (and Tina Turner for the evening). She marveled at the rehearsal time participants obviously put into their acts. Performers invested in wigs and costumes, too.

They were probably happy they took it seriously; a 1,000 people showed up for the fundraiser. That could have made for lots of heckling opportunities.

Clips of the acts were later posted on the Internet for voting, with 12,000 votes logged. The king of the night: Rich Bertodatti, sales account executive for NBC Universal, and his “Miller Girls.” Mark Miller, senior vice president of sales for USA Network, Sci-Fi and Sleuth, sponsored his act.

The event, which Janneman said might become an annual show, raised $100,000 through ticket sales and corporate contributions.

Photos of Big Boxes Get Marin ’Hoods Agitated

Nothing like a picture of a refrigerator-sized box placed at the curbside by the local telephone company, obscuring the view of a lovely Victorian home, to agitate neighborhoods into action.

“People were stunned, they couldn’t believe this might happen,” according to Steve Patterson of the Federation of San Rafael Neighborhoods in San Rafael, Calif. He’d sent around, to people on the federation’s e-mail list, photos of those phone company units, along with a request to ask Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to veto pending legislation that would let AT&T Inc. more easily enter the multichannel video business. (See “Calif. Franchise Bill Close to Passage,” page 13)

The boxes weren’t photographed in San Rafael, but the streets looked enough like that of the Marin County city that the pictures had an impact, Patterson said.

City manager Ken Nordhoff said AT&T has begun the process of seeking to install similar equipment in San Rafael, mostly likely in neighborhoods because that’s where the company wants to provide enhanced phone and Internet service. In the future, the infrastructure could be used to extend the new services to include multichannel video, he said. City officials are on record as opposing the pending legislation, known as A.B. 2987, because it would diminish local officials’ control over the permitting process, he said.

If people are up in arms after seeing the photos, Nordhoff said he wouldn’t be surprised. “These are large boxes,” he said.