ORLANDO, Fla. — It’s hard to say
what was more bizarre: Vanilla Ice
as a self-deprecating and thoughtful
public speaker — or the crowd of
mostly middle-aged cable executives
that he had eating out of his hand.
Vanilla Ice, the white rapper who
had one of the fastest selling rap albums
of all time — To the Extreme
— rose to fame overnight in 1990.
He dated Madonna, starred in Teenage
Mutant Ninja Turtles: Secret of the
Ooze and has sold more than 160 million
copies (latest tally) of the catchy
single “Ice, Ice Baby,” which he wrote
at the age of 16.
As guest speaker at the Independent
Show here last week, he warmed the
crowd up with cracks about “the running
man dance,” his ’90s hairdos and how he
had “a weekend that lasted a few years.”
Rob Van Winkle’s fall from fame was
fast and hard: He was mocked mercilessly
by comedians and other rappers without
ever getting the due some critics say
he deserved as a white rapper from the
These days, he’s enjoying a second career
as a home remodeler and starring in
his own reality home renovation series,
The Vanilla Ice Project, which premiered
on DIY Network in the fall of 2010, complete
with an “Ice My House” contest.
“Yesterday’s history — tomorrow’s
a mystery,” he said, alluding to his new
passion for real estate and remodeling.
“You can’t go back and change. But the
negatives, you can turn into positives by
saying, ‘You know what, I’m not gonna
do that again.’ ”
He talked about his transformation
from rapper to remodeler and how he
essentially refocused on working hard
at that he liked to do.
“Even though I’ve had some rough
spots in my life,” he said, “I’m a perfect
example of ‘You can endure.’ ”
The Iceman’s Words
“We are who we are because of who we
“Shake a hand. Make a friend.”“Show me a smile, I’ll show you one back
— they’re contagious.”“Take life day by day.”“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”“There’s no shame in my game. I love it
still the same.”“Always expect the unexpected.”
Martin Franks,,a familiar name to cable operators
facing station renewals (he heads up talks for
CBS), had more than retransmission consent on
his mind last week.
At the hearing
on the Cable
Act in the Senate
more, see Rules), Franks
and on point in
his defense of
the current system.
But the proud
papa had to
fight back tears
in a brief aside
to London last
week to watch
his younger son
coach in the
His point was that American TV was the envy
of the world. “I’m looking forward to every moment
of the trip,” he said, “except for being stuck
watching British television.”
After the hearing, Franks told The Wire that
his son, Nate Franks, is an assistant coach of the
U.S. women’s field hockey team. His assessment of
that 2012 squad, which finished eighth in 2008 in
Beijing and last medaled in 1984: “A very talented
team that is brilliantly coached.”
— John Eggerton
Wireless Hand in at FCC
Rick Kaplan isn’t running the Federal Communications
Commission’s Wireless Telecommunications
But that’s not stopping him from advising FCC
chairman Julius Genachowski on Verizon Wireless’s
proposed spectrum buyout from top cable companies.
Kaplan, former senior counsel to the chairman,
left his post as wireless bureau chief in mid-June,
when former chief Ruth Milkman returned. Kaplan’s
name no longer produces a phone number in
the FCC’s online phone directory.
But according to an ex parte letter dated June 29,
Kaplan has still been providing some leadership as
senior counsel to the chairman for transactions, taking
meetings with activist groups on the Verizon/
SpectrumCo deal. He was still on the job as of last
week, according to one commissioner’s aide.
It’s familiar territory for Kaplan, whose FCC bio
states he “helped lead” reviews of such planned
mergers as Comcast and NBCUniversal, AT&T and
T-Mobile and AT&T and Qualcomm.
A Genachowski spokesman said the chairman
had indicated Kaplan would continue to be involved
with transactions before he left the agency for good.
— John Eggerton
Brooklyn’s welcome sign had ’70s TV
exposure on Welcome Back, Kotter.
Now The Bronx has its own TV tip of
the hat, courtesy of Cooking Channel’s
The Culinary Adventures of Baron
Ambrosia. The Wire spott ed this lit-up
greeting on the Bronx side of the RFK
(formerly Triborough) Bridge. The first
season of the offbeat travel show airs
in reruns on Saturday nights (11 p.m.).