Four of a kind
NATPE's Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Award honorees share a commitment to risk-taking
Executive producer, writer and co-creator, "Two and a Half Men" and "The Big Bang Theory" (CBS)
Lorre has heard all about how the once-golden off-net syndication market for comedies has all but dried up in the age of iTunes and Hulu. But he's not buying it. Not when his "Two and a Half Men" has become a genuine syndie success since its fall 2007 launch. "It's still a terrific thing to bring apples to market," Lorre says. "There's an enormous infrastructure of independent station groups all over the country, and I don't see it going away anytime soon. Local TV stations still need programming." The multihyphenate says he's especially honored to receive an award with the legendary Brandon Tartikoff's name connected to it. "I was fortunate enough to spend a little time with him when I was getting started in TV. Brandon was a remarkable guy who really and truly loved television, and he was the last of the great showmen."
Screenwriter, playwright, producer, director, actor and author
Somebody forgot to tell Perry that succeeding on your own terms in Hollywood simply isn't possible. The writer-producer of such successful stage and screen productions as "Diary of a Mad Black Woman" seamlessly branched into TV and broke all the rules of syndication as executive producer and writer of "House of Payne." Perry produced 100 original episodes of the comedy for TBS, cutting a deal for all 100 upfront. In October, the four first-run seasons of the series started airing on stations in syndication nationally and pulling in surprisingly solid numbers. Concurrent to the syndie unveiling, Perry opened Tyler Perry Studios on 200,000 square feet of sets and office space in Atlanta, becoming the first African-American to launch his own TV and film studio.
Co-chairman, NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios
In a mere 18 months in his current post, Silverman -- in tandem with his NBC Entertainment co-chairman Marc Graboff and NBC Universal president and CEO Jeff Zucker -- has transformed the network primetime television model, in the process crafting a far leaner and meaner framework. He moved the advertiser upfronts earlier; had a hand in altering the wasteful pilot season formula of dropping untold millions of dollars on developing and producing scores of projects that never go anywhere; and pushed the idea of spreading on-air sponsorship and branding throughout the schedule. That's all in addition to having brought to American TV successful homegrown versions of the international series hits "Ugly Betty" (to ABC) and "The Office" (to NBC).
Co-chair, Disney Media Networks and president, Disney-ABC Television Group
The television distribution system ain't broke, Sweeney insists, and therefore doesn't need fixing. Tweaking, maybe. And certainly a persistent vigilance. "I have great confidence in how television content gets distributed, but the key is keeping track of how consumers are accessing it, which always is evolving," she says. To be sure, Sweeney's Disney/ABC empire is constantly evolving, whether it be ABC's 228 station affiliates in the U.S. or the more than 200 territories around the globe that are serviced with programming from Disney-ABC Worldwide Television. She also oversees some 65 separate Disney Channels and their international offshoots, reaching some 500 million people in 127 countries. "We're well- positioned as a company for the digital future," she says.