Brandon Tartikoff, who resigned yesterday as Paramount Pictures chairman, had been slated to deliver the keynote address at the National Assn. of Television Program Executives programming conference in January.Although he has not officially bowed out, convention organizers are not holding their breath waiting for him to turn up. They held off calling Tartikoff yesterday to ask his plans, assuming the departed studio chief may have other matters on his mind. Tartikoff finds himself in good company. The keynote speaker at last January’s gathering was Barry Diller, who shocked Hollywood a few months later by stepping down as chairman of Fox Inc. And the keynoter at the 1991 conference was none other than Frank Mancuso, who soon found himself out of a job and replaced by a new studio chairman at Paramount, Brandon Tartikoff. “It’s the NATPE curse,” lamented an official of the org. The role of keynote speaker at NATPE may replace the Jewish National Tree of Life Award on the industry fear scale. A day after Bud Grant received the Tree of Life nod in October 1987, he was ousted from his post as CBS Entertainment prexy. Two years later, Grant’s successor, Kim LeMasters, was forced out of the job within 24 hours of receiving the very same honor.
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