Friday, November 28, 2008

Post-Thanksgiving tidbits

*I don't want to tell you I told you so, but I told you so. In this blog and in several big ads in the paper, we made it clear that our Thanksgiving Day paper would fly out of the stores. To guarantee finding one, you had to be a subscriber or arrive at your favorite newsstand early Thursday morning. Sure enough, the papers quickly sold out and our phones started ringing. Worse, our production director found three people who somehow snuck into our closed-for-the-holiday building mid-morning looking for papers. Print more papers, you say? It's not an exact science, but the idea is to print just enough. It's too expensive to print hundreds of papers that may never be purchased. The solution: Subscribe. It's convenient and cost-effective.

*That sound you heard on Thanksgiving Eve was the late Ed Sullivan rolling over in his grave. The much-heralded return of a "variety show" to network TV may have been one of the worst hours in the history of the medium. "Rosie Live" sounded like a good idea. If you're like me and fondly remember the Sullivan format of a host introducing an array of acts - rock band, comedian, acrobat, magician, Broadway singer, opera star, dogs and ponies - a live show hosted by Rosie O'Donnell was must-see TV. And yes, there were some acrobats and a pop singer. But one glitzy number was marred by linking it to prizes for the the theater audience, and another featured the off-key O'Donnell and the way-past-her-prime Liza Minnelli. Singer Gloria Estefan ill-advisedly told corny jokes. Rachel Ray did a silly walk-on. So did Alec Baldwin, Harry Connick Jr. and Conan O'Brien. (And what was Conan thinking about taking a pie in the face? Soupy Sales, where are you?) The Ed Sullivan format worked because he was the no-talent MC who let the performers perform. I haven't yet read the reviews of "Rosie Live" so I don't know if I'm a one-man thumbs down here. But I hope they'll give it and her another chance. Somebody, however, please remember to go back to what has worked in this format.

*Whether it's Dean Gitter's proposed project near Belleayre or Tom Perna's dream along the Hudson, is it too much for the authorities to come to a definitive decision a lot sooner than years after plans were first unveiled? Gitter's been in this game about a decade, Perna a little more than half that. Yet they still don't know if they'll ever break ground. Of course, their plans and the issues surrounding them are complicated. Sure, it would be unrealistic to expect approval or denial within weeks or even months. But a year, two, three at most? And people wonder why developers don't want to consider parts of upstate New York.
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