Comedian receives NATPE Chairman's Award
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Proclaiming that this was the first award he had ever received before having breakfast, Jerry Seinfeld put together a few minutes of syndie shtick in front of a near-capacity ballroom Tuesday as part of NATPE’s opening general session.Seinfeld was there to receive the org’s highest honor, the Chairman’s Award, given to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the television industry. And Seinfeld wasn’t the only performer with Strip showroom experience to take the stage. Blue Man Group, currently appearing at the Luxor Hotel and one of the hotter tickets in town, also performed. They entertained with a drum beating, colored-paint splashing routine and then with a 10-minute marshmallow tossing gag — where two members of the three-man troupe catch the marshmallows in their mouth and then purge them onto a canvass — that opens their show at the Luxor. The event was led off by remarks from NATPE prexy Bruce Johansen, who spoke of the three C’s that attendees should keep in mind while walking the floor and making deals: content, consolidation and convergence. He also listed several observations, taken from a recent issue of Fortune magazine that received some positive feedback from the crowd, including, “Youth does not equal intelligence” and “Cool does not mean profitable.” Johansen was followed by NATPE chairman Steve Mosko, whose brief speech preceded Seinfeld taking the stage. Mosko is prexy of Col TriStar Television Distribution, which licenses the reruns of “Seinfeld” to 233 stations covering 99% of the country. Seinfeld admitted that he’s gratified that the skein is doing so well in syndication, considering the competition. When the laffer was a powerhouse on Thursday nights for NBC during the 1990s, Seinfeld said, the show only needed to beat two of the competing Big Three nets during the 9 p.m. period to win that time slot. Now, he agreed, it’s going against all other syndie shows on the air and the competition is tougher. The comedian received the most laughs for a bit on the popularity of nature shows. He was amused by the fact that no matter how busy people are in their homes and a how tough it might be to capture an audience’s attention, “When they see a crab having a difficult time, they’ll stop right there.”