20170820

1995

Filmed in the amusement park at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, the video of the hit song 'Fairground' showed "swirling, carnival-like colors". The song topped the British charts in 1995 and became Simply Red's first and only No. 1 single in the United Kingdom. Speaking to Will Harris in 2015, Mick Hucknall explained, "Well, the reality is, apart from those two singles ('Holding Back the Years' [1986] and 'If You Don't Know Me By Now' [1989]), Simply Red don't have a career in America! 

"You know, we don't. And that's kind of been part choice, part lack of a full commitment because of being a 7-piece band. Some of the singers, someone like Rod Stewart or Tom Jones, they have an American band and they have a European band, and so they actually cut down their losses when they're traveling around. But I found early on - about 1987 - that I was making more of a living in Europe, and I was very much enjoying living and working in Europe. You know, the great thing about Europe is, it's all so close. You can enter Barcelona, you can go to Munich, and then to Vienna, and you can be in 3 completely different cultures." 

'Fairground' was said to be a song about making sense out of a relationship that was coming and going. Hence the heart-stopping roller-coaster rides. "Making a song that lives forever is actually extremely difficult," Mick Hucknall acknowledged. "If it was easy, everyone would be doing it! And getting it right is even more difficult so it's a huge challenge but that's the part I love – that's the reason I make music." Andy Wright created the unique sounds and beats displayed on 'Fairground' which showcased prominently a sample from Zki & Dobri's 'Goodmen' project. The album 'Life' was the band's 4th-biggest seller of 1995, reportedly sold over a million copies in Britain alone. 

In sport, Steffi Graf ended her 1995 tennis year with "a nine-for-nine record in finals" including winning 3 of the 4 Grand Slams. After winning the $2-million season-ending tournament, Corel WTA Tour Championships, at New York's Madison Square Garden, Steffi Graf told the press, "It's an unbelievable end to an incredible year; I've definitely passed a few barriers I didn't think I could. You win this tournament at the end of the year and it obviously makes it a lot sweeter, even if it was difficult to make this year sweeter." 

The 5-set match in the first all-German final at the Championships was the second 5-setter in the history of the event, the only final on the women's circuit with a best-of-5-set format. As reported, "The last time there was a 5-set final was in 1990, when Monica Seles defeated Gabriela Sabatini. The previous time a women’s match went 5 sets was in 1901 (some 94 years earlier), before women were limited to best-of-3 sets matches. While the 2-hour-26-minute final between Steffi Graf and Anke Huber didn't match 1990's 3-hour-47-minute final for longevity, it was unprecedented in its drama." 

In 1996, Steffi Graf took 2 hours 49 minutes to defeat Martina Hingis at the Chase Championships - the only women's tournament to test its finalists with a 3-of-5-set format since 1984. It was Martina Hingis's first trek into 5-set territory. Steffi Graf argued the 5-set format, though taxing, should stay. In 1999, the best of 3 sets resumed. ''To win a match in 5 sets is a little ironic, absolutely,'' Steffi told the press. ''It's been a really, really long year for me.''

For the whole of the 1995 season, Steffi Graf played despite back and foot problems. For the first 5 months of 1995, Steffi Graf and Arantxa Sanchez Vicario traded the No. 1 ranking 6 times. At the U.S. Open championships, Steffi Graf equaled her predecessors, Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova for the total of Grand Slam singles won after winning her 18th Grand Slam title. "This is the biggest win I've ever achieved," Steffi Graf stated. "There is nothing that even comes close to this one." 

The match against Monica Seles marked the first time that a woman finalist was able to win the Open despite losing a set at 0-6. After the win, Steffi was asked about her foot. She replied, "Well, because I had it for a few days, I got a bone scan, an M.R.I. done last night just to be sure that I didn't hurt it or didn't do anything to it. I mean, everything looked real good. Only thing I have, again, one of those bone spurs, so that is what is causing little bit of irritation, but it wasn't anything big." 

When Steffi Graf returned back to the locker room, she received a beer shower from her fellow players. Steffi recounted, "It's been a dream; it seems unreal; I think I've won every Grand Slam now 4 times, so that's pretty amazing. It has been a dream. I mean, today, it is unreal right now. It seems unreal. Everybody has been so great up there and I came back into the locker room and they drenched me with beer. First I was thinking they were going to give me beer; everybody in the locker room, and they just poured the whole beer over me and they have been so great and just walking over people were so appreciative and so it has just been incredible."

Steffi Graf believed she held a good record playing in New York because, "Well, I guess it is the city, sort of. I think my game suits every surface. I don't think it has a lot to do with the surface. I think it has to do with the city. It is my own place. It is, you know, doing different things during the week, I mean, you get to do and see different things, I mean, you don't - you see sometimes all these crazy people walking around. It is just the pulse of the city."

In August 1995, Long Islanders got to watch Steffi Graf played an exhibition match against Lisa Raymond at the all-male tennis event, Hamlet Cup. For 15 years (or since 1980), the week-long tuneup tournament before the U.S. Open was exclusively male. In 1995, 'The New York Times' reported, "This year there was an added dimension. Organizers invited Steffi Graf, the No. 1 player in the women's game, to play an exhibition match at the all-male tournament. After the match Steffi Graf's 4 male guards accompanied her to the club's ladies locker room. But they had to stay out as she walked in, followed by numerous female fans wanting to use the restroom.

"Big names have long been the hallmark of the tournament, from its beginnings at the Hamlet housing development in Jericho to the last 5 years in Commack. Seeing professional tennis players up close and personal has always been a draw at the Hamlet Cup tennis tournament in Commack. To maintain interest, the week-long tournament will offer several promotions and special days."

The Tuesday of that week was called 'Ladies Day' where Rod Laver would be on hand to give an instructional clinic. The next day was the 'Kids Club/Kids Day', with youngsters invited to participate in 2 hours of on-court drills. Then there was the Stefan Edberg Celebrity Golf Classic which returned to the Deepdale Golf Club, the Fresh Meadow Country Club and the Hamlet Golf & Country Club. The proceeds would benefit the Child Life Program at North Shore University Hospital. The sponsor of the 1994 tournament, Waldbaum's, was replaced by Genovese, the drugstore chain, and several others. Proceeds from the tournament would go to North Shore University Hospital, the Make-a-Wish Foundation and the Boy Scouts of America.

20170819

CPW

By August 1996, East Village was back on the map. Trip Gabriel of the 'New York Times' reported, many marketers in New York were capitalizing on its resurgence by commercializing the neighborhood to a broad audience because of its potential for mass appeal. On the World Wide Web, Charles Platkin created 'The East Village' cybersoap. "Around the world, people are more and more aware of the neighborhood," he said. "We're talking to people about putting 'The East Village' into French and Mandarin Chinese. What we've tried to do is take the energy from the East Village and create a brand name from it. It's smart, moody and edgy. Gritty yet creative." 

On network television, there was a production boom for shows with New York settings. On CBS, 21 episodes of 'Central Park West' were produced. From 1993 to 1994 alone, it was said, New York City saw a 44% increase in television production. Patricia Reed Scott of the Mayor's Office of Film, Theater and Broadcasting, advised, "There's a very strong upsurge in the number of pilots being done here (in New York). There is an increase in new series because the networks have had a strong comeback in revenues, and we're getting a much bigger share than we have in previous years."

Producers of 'Central Park West' reportedly rented a lavish duplex penthouse at 65 Central Park West (described as a "neo-Renaissance building"), near 66th Street, across from Tavern on the Green. "TV series about New York seem always to concentrate on cop shows, about the grit of the city, and this is really about the romance and glamor of Manhattan," Darren Star told 'The New York Times'.

'CPW' was CBS' unsuccessful attempt at remaking its image to appeal to a younger audience by focusing on characters who were versions of people viewers might knew, if not chose to hang out with - from a beautiful SoHo gallery owner to a handsome stockbroker to a JFK Jr.-like district attorney played by a Glasgow-born actor to an attractive magazine columnist played by an Aussie actress-model. In the end CBS hired Raquel Welch to regain viewers in its target 25-to-54-year-old age group. 

Dick Wolf of 'Law & Order' noted, "New York is very hot this year (1995) for pilots. The problem is that in L.A., you have the same acting pool, the same city that's been shot for 40 years. It's very difficult to achieve a distinctive look in a show shot in L.A. There are many more different vistas in the five boroughs." Ian Sander produced the pilot, 'New York News' added, "New York has a pulse that translates to film more than any city. I've been to most places, and maybe Hong Kong or Paris has a pulse, but nothing is like New York."

In January 1995, Diana, Princess of Wales, wearing a gelled back hairstyle and dressed in a Catherine Walker's gown told the press "No, no, no, no," to question if she was intending to move to New York. At the Council of Fashion Designers of America ceremony held at Lincoln Center's New York State Theater, Diana told the big names of American fashion industry, "Ladies and gentlemen I'm immensely proud to be here in New York tonight with you all - to be giving this award to a lady from my own country who is also a dear friend and whose talent and courage has been an inspiration to us all. Ladies and gentlemen, Liz Tilberis."

'The Washington Post' reported, "When Diana arrived she was formally received by an American fashion lineup (Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Bill Blass, Oscar de la Renta, Donna Karan) and then escorted by Liz Tilberis to a smaller area where other celebrities crowded around. The designers all seemed a little amazed that the most photographed woman in the world had come to their party." Bill Blass told the press, "This gives us a rather international flavor. We have been too long isolated." Karl Lagerfeld remarked, "The American fashion community is much nicer and more cheerful than the French fashion community. In France I would never go to an event like this."

In December 1995, Diana returned to New York City to attend the 41st annual United Cerebral Palsy Society Awards Dinner at the New York Hilton hotel. Diana received the United Cerebral Palsy Humanitarian of the Year Award at the fundraising gala from Henry Kissinger. The 'New York Daily News' reported, "Standing beside her was a beaming Henry Kissinger the award presenter and retired General Colin Powell, who got a Humanitarian Award, too.

"But all attention was focused on Diana, who jetted in late Sunday (December 1995) and was expected to depart early today after a night at the Carlyle hotel. Diana, hoping to become Britain's goodwill ambassador to the world, shook hand after hand and endured an explosion of flashbulbs." 'People Weekly' reported, "By the time 'Panorama' was over, Diana had proved that she was no pushover. And while some royal watchers saw her move as self-destructive, the public disagreed. In a November 24 (1995) poll, an astonishing 66% of respondents said that they admired her for speaking out."

Of 'CPW', Mariel Hemingway believed, "He (Darren Star) has taken the genre of evening soap opera to a new level with this show. It's a classier, more sophisticated, more intelligent show. Not that the others are stupid, but New York demands that you be smarter, that you have a sophistication about you that L.A. doesn't invite." Tim Brooks explained, "The great soaps of the '80s were very adult in orientation and had a lot of much-larger-than-life goings on.

"You had Nazi paintings planted under the Falcon Crest winery, a lot of crime and murder and villains. They died out with the Reagan-Bush era, and the soaps that have arisen since then have a very different texture to them. The Fox soaps are much more about relationships of the kind that people might actually have. In 'Melrose Place', when they blew up the apartment complex, that was an ordinary event in the soaps of the '80s. And 'Sisters' on NBC, which is the soap nobody notices, is also much more about relationships."

Between 1991 and 1993, Mariel Hemingway starred in the TV series, 'Civil Wars'. "That was a killer show," Mariel stated. "This ('CPW') isn't. This is an ensemble which means I get time off. And I have a family so that's very, very important to me. I didn't want to do another hour show, but Darren said this would be different. He wanted me to have more fun with my part. I loved 'Civil Wars' but the way they wanted me to do it, it was more of a guy with a skirt on in the courtroom.

"What I wanted to bring to this show ('CPW') is a woman in the workplace as she's not often portrayed, whose strength comes from being a woman. not from being like a man or acting like a man. A woman's courage is very different from a man's. I think that's what women in the '90s are discovering, and I hope I can be a good role model in that regard ... you don't have to be a bitchy person." 

In 1987, the New York Historical Society at 170 Central Park West celebrated the U.S. Constitution's bicentennial by exhibiting many documents, letters, manuscripts, portraits and examples of decorative art. Rufus King, a delegate from Massachusetts to the Constitutional Convention, was a founder of the historical society. Americans united to celebrate events in the ratification process and other milestones all the way up to the inauguration of George Washington in 1789 and the quiet transferring of power from Washington to John Adams in 1797, which, as pointed out, showed that the Constitution really could work. 

20170818

CPW

In June 1997, Diana was photographed dressed in a mint-green Chanel skirt suit with no blouse, carrying a white quilted Chanel bag and wearing Jimmy Choo high heels. She was seen leaving the Carlyle hotel in Manhattan's Upper East Side to lunch with 'New Yorker' editor Tina Brown and Anna Wintour, the editor of 'Vogue' at the Four Seasons restaurant. 

The 2003 book, 'A Royal Duty' by Paul Burrell stated, "The princess adored life in Manhattan: shopping on Fifth Avenue, lunching at the Four Seasons, staying always at the Carlyle hotel." The meeting was to publicize the upcoming sale of Diana's 79 dresses at Christies Auction in New York City. "I've kept a few things but you know that Catherine Walker with all the bugle beads? People in England don't wear those kind of clothes anymore," Diana explained. 

Over lunch, Diana talked about her mission to help land-mine victims, "That’s what I am for." When Tina told Diana the 1998 G7 conference would take place in Birmingham, Diana reportedly said, "Oh, God! Couldn’t they have thought of somewhere less dreary? Birmingham!" The trio also talked about Tony Blair. "I think at last I will have someone who will know how to use me," Diana remarked. "He’s told me he wants me to go on some missions. I'd really, really like to go to China. I'm very good at sorting people's heads out. All my hopes are on William now. I don't want to push him. Charles suggested he might go to Hong Kong for the handover, but he said, 'Mummy, must I? I just don't feel ready.'" 

One year earlier in June 1996, Raquel Welch joined the cast of 'Central Park West' playing Diana Brock. In one scene, the characters of Raquel Welch and Lauren Hutton were filmed involved in a contretemps at the Four Seasons. "I was getting a lot of advice from my representatives not to do it but the character is a hoot, and it's not like I'm getting every fabulous part that comes around in films," Raquel Welch told the press at the time. 

The revamped version of 'CPW' with Raquel Welch playing Diana was designed to appeal to a network which generally attracted an older audience. As noted, the old 'CPW' didn't attract many viewers of any age group. The new 'CPW' tried to appeal to a cross-section of age groups. Darren Star told the press, "It (CBS) gave me the opportunity to do two shows: 'Central Park West 1' and 'Central Park West 2'. CBS asked me to basically totally reconfigure the show. 

"I really believe we're doing the right show for CBS now. I think the audience will be excited to see Raquel. She's so much fun to watch. Looking back, the show is so radically changed. It's amazing that we were able to change this show to this degree without totally shutting down. We were sort of retooling along the way." As part of the retooling, Gerald McRaney was brought onto the set of 'CPW'. 

"He's such a tremendous actor and plays such a great character (Adam Brock). He plays a Southern media tycoon, a good guy, who ends up acquiring the magazine from Ron Leibman through this sort of hostile takeover. In retaliation, Ron Leibman discovers that Gerald McRaney has an ex-wife whom he hasn't seen in 17 years who owns 25% of his company and is living in Monte Carlo - and that happens to be Raquel Welch," Darren Star revealed. 

Raquel Welch recounted, "They sent me a script that was a very funny, bitchy, meaty character. It's New York City, it's glamorous and my character's forceful, independent and says what's on her mind. Lauren Hutton's character has been beefed up. There's going to be May-December hookups; there's going to be all kinds of things going on between the younger crowd and the more sophisticated older crowd. It's going to be glamorous. Lauren's character is more classic and understated and more traditional in her fashion look. My character is more flamboyant." 

Darren Star insisted, "To me, Raquel Welch is like the Heather Locklear of the CBS demo. She is fun to watch. It was really refreshing to work with some more mature actors, which I really haven't had the opportunity to do, and sort of play those romantic stories with older actors who had every bit as much sexuality as the young actors do. CBS is not Fox. They want quicker results, and when you are dealing with a show that is not a star-driven show, you are not going to get that instant viewership. Had this show been on Fox following 'Melrose Place', I think it would have been a different story." 

Of the new episodes, "I'm very happy it's coming back twice a week for 4 weeks. It kind of gives the show a lot of momentum. It means people don't have to wait an entire summer to get invested. We will know fairly quickly if it catches on." Overseas, 'CPW' was a big hit. Ron Leibman observed, "They (CBS and Darren Star) are obviously trying to save the show in America so they can make a lot of money. Come on, this is the world of television. We are not doing Chekhov here. This is about trying to make this show a hit in the United States as much as, apparently, it has caught on in the European market."

Of his storyline, Ron Leibman recalled, "One day I was doing 'Melrose Place'; the next day I was doing 'Dynasty'. One day I was working with Mariel Hemingway and the next day I was working with Gerald McRaney, who was not as cute." Raquel Welch added, "I think that these bad-girl characters are the most fun to play. With this one, particularly, I saw the opportunity to have my tongue in my cheek. 

"I don't want anybody to think this is some kind of star turn. Even when I was on Broadway, I said, it's fine to have my name on the marquee, but if we don't deliver, it doesn't make any difference. Fortunately, I'm not the only name here, so it wasn't sticking my neck out that far. I'm very much a part of an ensemble. I think that television is pretty much where it's at right now. 

"I think that when you're starting out in your career, you certainly do believe that it's going to be a bit different than it actually is. I really think that it's too bad that people are more interested in the powerbrokering of the business than in the process. I am an artist, and that's why I came into the business … (and) for most artists the performers, writers and even the directors the thing that really draws them to the business is the process; they think they're going to be involved in a creative thing, and they will be immersed in that, and it will be something that will carry them through all the hardships, because they want to see a great product in the end."

20170817

CPW

The millions CBS spent on publicity buildup for the 'Central Park West' premiere was regarded a stunning marketing and promotional success. 'CPW' was a joint venture of CBS Productions and creator-producer Darren Star (of 'Melrose Place' and 'Beverly Hills, 90210' fame). The show was hugely promoted as the flagship of CBS' 1995-96 fall schedule and the symbol of its drive to lure viewers ages 18 to 34. 

However when the most-hyped new TV series of the new prime-time season debuted in September 1995, the tidal wave of advance publicity did not result in ratings payback. Co-executive producer David Stenn believed, "This genre is historically about seduction. You have to bring your audience in. It's not like 'ER' — a home run out of the box." 

Set in a big-city hospital emergency room, the medical drama 'ER' was a break-out hit of the 1994-95 TV season. As reported, no hour-long drama series in the history of television finished its freshman season a mega-hit. Although 'Have Gun, Will Travel' in the 1957-58 TV season and 'Charlie's Angels' in the 1976-77 TV season were the previous highest-rated drama show on television in its freshman year, both still ranked behind 'ER'. Only the sitcom 'The Beverly Hillbillies' in the 1962-63 TV season ranked higher in the ratings than the drama 'ER' in its first year. 

Consistently attracting 40% audience share, 'ER' made TV history in February 1995, during the quarterly ratings sweeps, when it became the first-year drama to rank No. 1 for 4 straight weeks. The last freshman drama to do so was 'Charlie's Angels' in 1977. The last drama to do so was 'Dallas' in 1982. 'ER' was described as a groundbreaking doctor drama which ran for 15 seasons between 1994 and 2009.

For 4 seasons between 1995 and 2000, 'ER' was the highest-rated program on television. At its peak in May 1998, 'ER' attracted 47.8 million viewers (25.8% households ratings and 57% audience share). That night, 'ER's' lead-in, the finale episode of 'Seinfeld' attracted 41.3 million viewers. "'ER' marked the end of a primetime era," 'Variety' voiced. "It's a different industry than it was when 'ER' started," Garth Ancier conceded. 

In an unprecedented move for a first-year drama, the ratings juggernaut 'ER' released its pilot episode in June 1995 to home video. Executive producer John Wells was "absolutely shocked" at the overwhelming success of 'ER'. "There's been a lot of research in the past that it's some place (viewers) don't want to be, so they will avoid the hospital, and they will avoid the show." Technical adviser Dr. Lance Gentile begged to differ, "This is a place where you'd want to come. These are doctors you'd want to have. These are doctors who care. And I think that's probably gone a long way to explain the audience identifying with our show." 

David Manookin of the NBC affiliate, KSL, reasoned, "It's fast-paced, the characters are likeable and even the character who isn't likeable still has a soft side, and you can see why he's driven. There's a lot of depth there, and it gets you involved in learning what medicine is about and what the emergency room is about. And you like all these people as they come through the door." 

John Wells continued, "Our average cast size for the guest cast is just under 25, so when you include our recurring characters ... normally we'll have 50 speaking parts in an episode. Lots of bodies. We don't show the doctors being infallible. At the same time we show them as compassionate and caring and having real lives. I think that removes the idea of doctors as god, which is something we have all come to distrust over the last 25, 30 years. And that makes everyone much more comfortable with it." 

Of 'ER's' huge success, George Clooney who played Dr. Doug Ross until 1999 told the press, "I've been on a lot of shows that didn't work when I thought they would. I was in no way prepared for this to take off like it did (in the first year). I'm thrilled but surprised. It's kind of like you send out invitations to a party and you don't know whether 4 people are going to come or 100 and you really hope it's the 100. But you don't know if everybody likes you or not. But it took off immediately. And I think we were all very surprised. I mean, my expectation was that 'PrimeTime Live' was going to be winning the hour because there were going to be 2 medical shows ('ER' and 'Chicago Hope') that basically would be competing for the same audience." 

John Wells, formerly writer and producer of 'China Beach', confessed, "We were very lucky when we broke (into) sort of the 40s (in the weekly ratings). We'd kind of get together and have a little party. And we look at each other every day and say, 'I don't really know what the difference is.' We have a wonderful cast, terrific writers. But if you knew what it was you'd bottle it, and we'd have lots of very successful television shows. The alchemy is much more difficult than that. And I don't think anybody knows how to really put it together again." 

For 'CPW', there was no "delicious payoff" of the ratings kind. Darren Star maintained, "I know the audience will find us. I'd much rather start here (with low ratings) and work my way up. This is familiar territory." Of a full season's worth of shows CBS ordered, each episode reportedly budgeted at $1 million, 'CPW' could only attract between 6 million and 8 million viewers each week (roughly between 5.0% households ratings and 10% audience share). Only twice in October 1995, did 'CPW' attract over 9 million viewers. 

Critic Eric Mink argued, "Audience shares that hover around single digits suggest strongly that the new show is not being rejected so much as it isn't even being sampled." Four of the original 21 episodes produced were not shown during its first run. In November 1995, CBS took 'CPW' off the air so that the show could be revamped by switching the focus of the characters to appeal to the 35-to-54-year-olds crowd. CBS traditionally attracted older folks. 

Mariel Hemingway played a Seattle editor who was hired to come to Manhattan to take over the struggling New York magazine Communique, appeared in the first 13 episodes. With its relaunch, Ron Liebman and Lauren Hutton who played the Rushes would be moved to the forefront joining Raquel Welch and Gerald McRaney who played the Brocks as the show's primary conflict would be the battle between the two media moguls. 

David Poltrack remarked, "We've found that the older demographic likes that kind of 'Dallas'-like tension between big power players." As such, Camille Marchetta "has quietly been brought in to the 'Central Park West' set." Along with storyline changes, costumes would also be toned down and the soundtrack shifted from funky new music to Bobby Short-style pop. One network executive disclosed, "So far, they are still calling the show 'Central Park West' but it's now strictly Upper East Side." 

CBS burned the 8 remaining episodes off over the 1996 summer just after the May ratings sweeps and before the July ratings sweeps. 'CPW' would be shown twice a week on Wednesday and Friday nights competing against 'PrimeTime Live' and '20/20'. At a press conference held in January 1996, Leslie Moonves of CBS noted, "The audience spoke by not crowning any of the 42 new shows a hit - something they love, something that was, excuse the expression, 'Must-See TV' this year (the 1995-96 season). There was nothing they grabbed onto. 

"The whole ('CPW') campaign - of 'We are hipper, we are younger, we are Fox' - basically said to our (CBS) core audience, 'Not only is 'Central Park West' not for you, but neither is CBS. If you're 35 or older, get lost!' That was the wrong message to put out there - (that) with 'Central Park West', instead of being a younger 'Knots Landing', we want to be another 'Melrose Place'. That's not what CBS is all about. So we've added characters I think that people can root for." 

After watching the pilot episode, critic David Zurawik made the comment, "I have to hand it to (Darren) Star. Had I not viewed the pilot twice, I would not have believed that any writer could create this many complications, develop this many entangled relationships, and generate this much back-stabbing in just one hour. It's unbelievable." 

Television editor Scott D. Pierce added, "'Central Park West' wasn't campy enough to be funny and wasn't involving enough to be serious. If 'Central Park West' had any fans at all, they were exceedingly quiet ones." David Zurawik continued, "CBS and Star are pulling all stops to lure viewers into 'Central Park West'. But all that glistens is not gold. This is an incredibly calculated show with less than zero heart or soul. And I suspect that more than a few viewers are going to leave 'Central Park West' after an hour tonight feeling like they've been intellectually mugged. 

"'Central Park West' is so obvious in its manipulation, it gives mindless escapism a bad name. Stephanie Wells and Carrie Fairchild are the Krystle and Alexis on the Hudson. Peter Fairchild was a too-obvious John Kennedy Jr. character and Lauren Hutton as a Jackie Kennedy type." Betsy Frank of Zenith Media Services told the 'Advertising Age' in 1996, "It's ('CPW') got strong name recognition but much of the perception of the show is negative." 

One CBS insider made the observation, "They're (the Raquel Welch episodes) really putting on a different show. We tried 'Central Park West' and the marketplace said no. The reviews weren't good and the 'Melrose' crowd never came to CBS to watch it. If we want an older-skewing soap, why don't we just come up with a new one?" At the preshow party for 'Central Park West', Mariel Hemingway told the champagne-soaked crowd at New York City's Museum of Modern Art, "Maybe we should never air the show. Just keep putting it off. I mean, the hype is so great, how can we live up to it?"

20170815

DALLAS

"Using the strongest artillery in their programming arsenals, the 3 commercial television networks (NBC, ABC and CBS) went head to head over the weekend (in September 1985), and preliminary ratings in 10 major cities came up with a number of surprising results," 'The New York Times' reported. "The networks have tried to devised their schedules this year (the 1985-86 season) to attract viewers who have, in recent years, turned to the alternatives of cable television and video cassettes. 

"Last week (in September 1985) the viewers were there: 'The Cosby Show' on NBC got a 31.6 rating and a 48% share of audience on Thursday, closer to the high ratings that television series were getting 20 years ago (back in 1965), when the networks had no competition. 'Dynasty', the ABC Wednesday night drama, got a 28.1 rating and a 42% share of the audience (for the aftermath of the wedding in Moldavia)." 

David Poltrack of CBS enthused, "Based on 4 nights of ratings, it looks like premiere week has substantially higher viewership than it did last year (the 1984-85 season). It's an encouraging start for network television in general." On Friday night of that week, NBC scheduled the 2-hour season premiere of 'Miami Vice' against a 2-hour episode of 'Dallas' on CBS. 'Miami Vice' (22.1% ratings; 35% share) lost by a narrow margin in the 10 cities to 'Dallas' (23.3% ratings and 37% share). David Poltrack reminded, "The two programs are playing to different audiences." It was understood 'Dallas' usually attracted its largest audiences outside the major cities. 

In the 1984-85 TV season, 3 of the Top 10 shows in the United States were produced by Lorimar Productions; 'Dallas' (with an average households rating of 24.7% and 39% audience share); 'Knots Landing' (with an average households rating of 20.0% and 33% audience share); and 'Falcon Crest' (with an average households rating of 19.9% and 34% audience share). 

That season, Lorimar broke new ground by distributing already-aired 'Dallas' episodes into the syndication market (or sold rerun rights to 112 independent stations around the country). It was groundbreaking because the independent stations would air the hour-long weekly continuing drama series daily. As reported, "('Dallas') is primarily watched by slightly older, slightly less educated Americans, and it is watched more in the South and in rural areas than in the rest of the United States, but throughout the country, through all television-watching groups, the program's audience is as high as anything being broadcast."

In 1981, speaking to 'American Film' magazine, Lee Rich argued, "Don't make the American public something it's not. You can't talk about sophistication when you're talking about the American public. You can't give them relevance that hurts." Around the time, 'United Press International' reported, "Not in the 35-year history of network television (since the end of World War II in 1945) had a prime time series captured the imagination of so many viewers as the J.R. shooting controversy.

"Early Nielsen ratings showed that Friday's episode (in November 1980) garnered 65% of the total viewing audience in New York, 68% in Los Angeles, and a whopping 76% in Chicago. The overall rating was expected to increase when figures were available from the hinterlands. CBS earlier estimated that between 70 million and 80 million viewers would tune in to watch the climactic episode of 'Dallas.' Bookmakers in London and Las Vegas placed odds on the prime suspects, among whom Kristin ranked high.

"The dining room at Chasen's restaurant exploded with cheers when the puzzle was finally resolved. Not since Robert Service's epic of the 'Shooting of Dan McGrew' in the famed Malamute Saloon had public interest been whipped to such a frenzy over the shooting of a fictional character. CBS and Lorimar Productions tantalized viewers through the long summer and during the 10-week actors' strike, prolonging the suspense until November 21, 1980" when 120 million Americans tuned in to find out who shot J. R.?

"Rarely has the television industry succeeded in recycling a serialized program, as opposed to series with self-contained plots," 'The New York Times' noted. Ken Page of Lorimar maintained, "We're in a speculative arena. We debuted the program in Dallas last week (in September 1984). We did spectacularly. Is that conclusive? I don't know. It's one week. 'Dallas' is a phenomenon. A phenomenon is something that defies description. We have zero here, no prior description, no experience about what happens when this kind of program is run every day. I do know that we'll be looking at a $25 million investment running across the screen Monday-to-Friday."

It was understood Lorimar had spent $500,000 to film "a series of 45-second openers for the syndicated programs with plot teasers" to create a fresh situation with the recycled series otherwise viewers may not watch a series run in sequential order without supplying some plot information. Pat Servodidio of WOR-TV in New York stated, "With 'Dallas' the question is, can you turn old audience habits into new loyalty?" B. Donald Grant of CBS insisted, "I think it will have a long life. Usually after this many years, a series is in the twilight of its career. J.R. gets us high ratings. He drives the story. Without him it would be a pretty boring show."

'The Los Angeles Times' reported in 1986, "Despite the hype, 'it was a very tough sell,' says the programming director of one independent television station in California. Program buyers in many markets shunned the show; in others, Lorimar had to settle for less-desirable UHF stations. As a result, 'Dallas' ranked 49th among all syndicated shows in Nielsen's most recent national ranking of syndicated shows and was available to just 57% of the nation's households.

"By contrast, 'M*A*S*H' was available to 88% of the nation's households and 'Wheel of Fortune', the No. 1 syndicated show, covered 98% of the nation. Still, 'Dallas' reruns have generally outperformed the shows they replaced, and that bodes well for future syndication sales of 'Knots Landing' and 'Falcon Crest'. Demand for syndicated programming has risen sharply in recent years because of the dramatic growth in the number of independent television stations."

In February 1986, producer Lorimar and marketer Telepictures Corp. merged. By May 1986, 'Fortune' magazine reported, "Lorimar has sold reruns of 161 'Dallas' episodes for about $80 million so far. The merger with Telepictures is designed to solve such problems as Lorimar faced in this video lotus land. By last September (1985), when merger talks started, Lorimar was fast running out of network hits to syndicate.

"Most of the 'Dallas' riches appeared on the company's books last year, and episodes of 'Knots Landing', a lower-rated show, were selling for 60% less. Merv Adelson knew that Lorimar's most recent hit, 'Falcon Crest', which debuted 5 years ago (in 1981), would be the hardest sell of all because program buyers at TV stations were hungering for situation comedies.

"Two peculiarities of the rerun business made Lorimar's position tougher. Stations usually air reruns in 5-day-a-week 'strips.' That practice consumes episodes so fast that TV stations are reluctant to buy even network megahits unless they run 3 seasons and accumulate about 75 episodes. So Adelson knew that no matter how popular Lorimar's new network series might prove, they would not be ready for syndication before 1988.

"The second difficulty stemmed from accounting rules. After selling a batch of reruns to a station, a producer usually must book all the revenues the deal calls for when the first episode airs, even though the cash from the station arrives in a steady stream of equal monthly payments that lasts for years. So while cash from rerun sales was sure to keep Lorimar liquid, the company's reported TV profits were likely to drop.

"Producing the three shows costs $30 million a season and no network is footing the bill. Telepictures would not have risked so much alone, and Lorimar's profit might have evaporated if an independent distributor got a big chunk of the proceeds. Networks are covering a shrinking portion of series' production costs. New competition is squeezing syndicators' profit margins. And new tax legislation is expected to eliminate the investment tax credit for TV and film production, which has kept Lorimar's tax rate under 20%.

"By October (1985), just before the merger was announced, the price of Lorimar's stock had slumped to 8 times earnings per share from 14 times just over a year earlier. Enter Telepictures, whose reliable 50% annual earnings growth had helped win it a price-earnings multiple of 16. Together, with an unmatched 21 1/2 hours of freshly produced shows airing weekly, this entrepreneurial upstart wields as much clout in TV as the major film studios that are its main competitors.

"Wall Street is enchanted with the company and with TV, the safest and most lucrative segment of show business. But this achievement does not satisfy Lorimar co-founder Merv Adelson, 56, the straightforward, often brilliant chief of the merged enterprise. He wants to make movies too, a glamorous but treacherous endeavor that has sunk sound companies before. Against long odds, Adelson is betting he can win Lorimar-Telepictures the status of those overlords of entertainment, the top studios.

"But in its 17 years (since 1969) before the merger Lorimar consistently flopped in films, and the cyclical movie business is a sucker's game just now. Making and marketing a major feature film costs roughly $20 million, more than most films can recoup in a market currently inundated with pictures. This year the company plans to make 5 movies. Up to now Lorimar has released 24 for a loss of about $12 million.

"Half the loss stems from Lorimar's latest, 'Power', a tale of political intrigue that has been dying in theaters since February (1986). Says Barry Diller, head of the 20th Century-Fox studio: 'Theatrical motion pictures are the big game in entertainment, but not necessarily the most profitable.' By contrast, Lorimar's mainstay of producing TV series for networks has proved a virtually unbeatable business.

"Financially strong, the company is getting stronger. It is exchanging outstanding bonds for newly issued shares; since the bonds have effective interest rates over 19%, retiring them will save so much money that the exchanges will not dilute per-share earnings. Assuming the stock price holds up long enough for the company to retire all its bonds, Lorimar-Telepictures will end up with about $500 million of equity and less than $100 million of debt. That solidity is extraordinary in the highly leveraged entertainment industry.

"When Lorimar went public in 1981, its debt-to-equity ratio exceeded 3 to 1, and the debt was for movies. The next year, bad luck in movies forced Lorimar's profits down 84%. But Lorimar-Telepictures is still missing something every major studio needs. Unlike the studios, the company has no organization to distribute pictures to U.S. theaters, the most important market for films.

"In return for the marketing of a motion picture, which can easily cost $10 million these days, distribution companies typically pocket 30% of receipts from theater owners. In the boom-and-bust movie industry, those fees often make the difference between a profit and a loss - or between a merely handsome profit and a bonanza. To keep from losing the whole 30%, Adelson has carved out a clever deal with 20th Century-Fox. Fox distributes his films at a cut rate; Lorimar-Telepictures has to pay for advertising but controls the marketing strategy.

"The deal will increase LorimarTelepictures' risk, but also its share of what Hollywood types lovingly call the upside. Pressed to discuss the downside, Adelson insists his company cannot lose more than $15 million annually on movies, even if every picture performs as poorly as 'Power'. That amounts to about 20% of Lorimar-Telepictures' estimated pretax income for the fiscal year that ends next March (1987). But the real downside is still incalculable. Adelson knows that to be a major studio, his company must soon establish its own U.S. theatrical distribution. The cost of achieving that, whether through acquisition or by building from scratch, could be enormous."

20170813

SHELLEY HACK

To establish democracy through media such as televised political debates in war-torn countries such as the former Yugoslavia, the Shelley Hack Media Consultancy (SHMC) firm was set up in 1997. Speaking to Mark Voger of the New Jersey website (NJ.com) in 2010, Shelley explained, "I traveled all over the world. It was not a cause; it was a business, but a very satisfactory business. It's pretty hard, if you've never been a democracy before. It's learned and earned. When I did the first televised debate in Bosnia, the candidates looked at me, like, 'Why should we debate?' It's a huge, huge thing to do in a post-war country. But if you move forward and enable people, people get it." 

In 1992 war broke out in Bosnia and Herzegovina when the Bosnia's Serbs, comprised 70% of the country, boycotted a referendum which saw the Bosnia's Muslims and Croats voted for independence and which the European Union recognized. Radovan Karadzic campaigned for a Serb Republic laid siege to the capital Sarajevo in what became known in history as the Siege of Sarajevo. 

On November 21, 1995 (the day after the Diana's interview on 'Panorama'), 'Reuters' reported Bosnian Muslim President Alija Izetbegovic, Croatian President Franjo Tudjman and Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic agreed to a U.S.-brokered peace deal in Dayton, Ohio which became known in history as the 1995 Dayton accords. The Dayton accords aimed to unite a still bitterly divided society. 

In the 'Panorama' interview, Diana told the BBC, "I understand that change is frightening for people, especially if there's nothing to go to. It's best to stay where you are. I understand that. But I do think that there are a few things that could change." Diana also recognized, "I've been in a privileged position for 15 years. I've got tremendous knowledge about people and how to communicate. I'd like to be an ambassador for this country. I'd like to represent this country abroad.

"I think the biggest disease this world suffers from in this day and age is the disease of people feeling unloved, and I know that I can give love … I think the British people need someone in public life to give affection, to make them feel important, to support them, to give them light in their dark tunnels. I see it as a possibly unique role, and yes, I've had difficulties, as everybody has witnessed over the years, but let's now use the knowledge I've gathered to help other people in distress." 

By 2000, 'The New York Times' informed, "In a nation (Bosnia) that now (in 2000) has 3 parliaments, 3 postal systems, 2 armies and more than 80 local television stations, the diplomats intend to use the station to create a unified national evening news program that will inform Muslims, Serbs and Croats." Austrian diplomat Wolfgang Petritsch told Alessandra Stanley, "It was television and radio propaganda that led Yugoslavia into the war, and quite cynically, I want to use media propaganda to build a democratic, multiethnic Bosnia. I am the final authority for the interpretation of Dayton, so what I say is the law, so to speak." 

'The New York Times' continued, "After an initial infusion of about 14.5 million euros - about $12.75 million at current exchange rates - in Western funds over 2 years, it (the Public Broadcasting System, Bosnia's first nationwide public television network) is expected to sustain itself on viewer fees without foreign or state subsidies. He has a new media team, with scores of Western advisers hired to reorganize Bosnia's television system, among them Shelley Hack, a former television actress ('Charlie's Angels') who has worked as a media consultant for American and European diplomats and is now helping Mr. Petritsch mold his Public Broadcasting System." 

In Sarajevo, lawyer Radovan Vignjevic stated at the time, "We need a unified institution we can trust. We cannot go on having 3 different interpretations of the same news event." Rade Budalic worked at the Bosnian Croat station cautioned, "Sports is easy. It's a celebration of individual achievement. Politics is essentially about loss." 'The New York Times' also advised, "The plan is the West's boldest effort yet to depoliticize television news and blur the differences among 3 ethnic communities."

In 1973, Shelley Hack caused a sensation when she appeared in a series of commercials for the Charlie perfume. "Within, like, 2 weeks," Shelley told NJ.com, Charlie became the best-selling fragrance in the United States. "I guess I had the right look for the time. It was a signature product for the time. They (Revlon) found out (Charlie's popularity) that, for one thing, it was the time.

"This was the beginning of women starting to become more independent. In the commercial, I pull up in a car and very confidently walk into a restaurant by myself. In those days, women didn't walk into restaurants by themselves. So the response was, 'This woman looks so confident. If she can do it, I can do it.' It hit the time exactly right. The other thing was that I was attractive, but not so attractive that girls would hate me. And also not so attractive that guys wouldn't think I was approachable. That had a lot to do with it. So it was playing on the subconscious, playing on women's independence and liberation, if you want to use that word."

In the 1979-1980 TV season, Shelley Hack joined the cast of 'Charlie's Angels', the series created by Ivan Goff and Ben Roberts and produced by Aaron Spelling and Leonard Goldberg for ABC TV. The 110 episodes were originally shown between 1976 and 1981. The 'Chicago Tribune' reported in 1979, "The ratings, perhaps more than any other single indicator, clearly demonstrate that television is much more than show business. It is also big business, designed to sell viewers to advertisers, with ratings as the principal gauge of success or failure.

"In 1977, advertisers spent $7.6 billion on TV advertising, paying a higher rate to expose their products on the better-rated programs. While a top-rated show like ABC's 'Charlie's Angels' can command $145,000 for a one-minute commercial, the lower-rated shows competing in the same time slot on CBS and NBC can ask for only about $85,000. Since all regularly scheduled programs cost the networks approximately the same to produce, a higher-rated show simply earns more money for the network.

"So to keep the profit-minded stockholders happy, programming executives aggressively cancel shows that have lured only limited audiences and juggle the schedules of the new and remaining ones to try to find the perfect combination to attract and hold viewers." In the first 4 seasons, ABC scheduled 'Charlie's Angels' on Wednesday nights. The show's season average  households ratings were: 1977 - 25.8%; 1978 (Cheryl Ladd debut) - 24.4%; 1979 (Kate Jackson's last season) - 24.4% and 1980 - 20.9%. In 1980-1981, ABC moved 'Charlie's Angels' to the weekends. The show finished the season ranked the 59th most watched program on television.

David Poltrack of CBS made the point in 1995, "Movies need promotion. When your ratings go down, your promotional opportunities go down. It's an exponential kind of thing. Without the football, we really had no promotional capability with men." It was understood the networks sold commercial time based on demographics - among adults 18 to 49, women 18 to 49, men 18 to 49, adults 18 to 34 and adults 25 to 54. 

20170812

ROWENA WALLACE


Following the death of David Crosby in 1985, Rowena Wallace was elected president of Actors Equity in 1986. Rowena spoke to Prue MacSween, "I laughed and thought: 'How ridiculous' (when approached for the job) but then I went away and thought about it and decided it would be a terrific challenge for me and also an opportunity to get involved in all areas of the industry.

"I’ll be able to understand how the industry works as a whole instead of just my fairly narrow experiences as an actor and I’d like to be involved and influential in union decisions. I don’t run around saying that we simply must do everything that the union says, but I believe they’re necessary and I think the industry would be impossible if we didn’t have somebody to guide it and to keep all those loose ends from unravelling. Otherwise people are taken advantage of, and that happens in any kind of profession.

"I don't know half of it yet. I may be terrible at chairing meetings and organising. Only time will tell. I’ll never fill Don Crosby’s shoes. But I have been 20 years in the business (made her TV acting debut in 1966). I don’t know that Equity members want to change their image, but I think they certainly want to boost it. But the business of the union will go on, and decisions will still be made and I won’t make any change to that in essence.

"We have to have a constant monitoring process so that as the industry changes and different influences are brought to bear on it, we have to update policies and decisions. What we've got to do is convince the members that it's not the union that it used to be and that it's a much more cohesive and active union. It doesn’t have the sort of infighting which was a problem in the earlier days and which turned a lot of people off. I'd like to see more people participating, but it depends on whether you’re in town that day or at the other end of Australia or overseas. The people you get at the meeting are the people who are able to attend."

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