Thursday, March 29

I Could Have Been Gelman


In the early 80s I was Director of News Operations (read "assignment manager") for WABC-TV in New York. One day the late Bill Fyffe, Vice President and General Manager, called me into his office and said, "I want to offer you a new job, 'Executive Producer of Non-News Programming.'"

I looked at him and said, "We don't DO any non-news programming except that Regis and Cindy Garvey thing." His answer? "That's it."

Those were the days before Kathie Lee Gifford, and before syndication. Regis Philbin was teamed with Cindy Garvey (the wife of the baseball star) for a program that aired only in NYC. I asked Bill for 24 hours to think about it, and talked to my boss, News Director Cliff Abromats; the next step would have been a sit-down with Regis, but my mind was already made up. What did I know about booking guests and handling stars, about entertainment and showbiz? I turned the job down.

Just as well. Some time later Michael Gelman took over the show. I'm not saying I'd have failed miserably, but I wouldn't have had the comfort level he brought to the show and the hosts. I think I would have lasted six months, tops.

No regrets: but hey, I coulda been Gelman!

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