FCC Dem spurs H’w’d to fight mergers

Copps, Dreier receive American Spirit awards

Federal Communications Commission member Michael Copps urged Hollywood guilds and activists not to become complacent in their battle to curb media consolidation during an address Sunday night, saying it is “all up for grabs right now” and that renewed action on regulation will likely occur in the next year.

Copps made his remarks at the Caucus for Television Producers, Writers & Directors dinner Sunday at the Beverly Hills Hotel, where he and Rep. David Dreier (R-Calif.) were honored with the newly created American Spirit Awards.

Speaking to representatives of various Hollywood guilds who were in attendance as well as caucus members, Copps noted that the industry’s creative talent needs to deliver “a collective message.” They must remain vigilant because major media companies are reluctant to cover the implications of deregulation, he added.

“Big media doesn’t have to cover me, but they have to cover those folks,” he said, referring to Hollywood stars.

Copps — part of the Democratic minority on the five-member commission — also reiterated his support for a 25% to 35% set-aside of the primetime schedule for independent producers to promote a diversity of voices in production, which not surprisingly was met with enthusiasm by the 200 or so in attendance.

In his introduction, caucus chairman Vin Di Bona maintained that entrepreneurial individualism in TV production is “on its last breath.”

Dreier, meanwhile, was recognized for his efforts on behalf of stemming so-called runaway production, which producer Lionel Chetwynd labeled a “pernicious” force in its effect on the local community.

Dreier said he was proud to be viewed as an advocate on behalf of the entertainment industry, citing the needs to make clear the impact diminished U.S. production has on rank-and-file workers and expose inaccurate perceptions.

“The view of this industry is that everyone makes $20 million per picture,” Dreier noted. He stressed his goal is simply to ensure that Hollywood “can compete … on a proverbial level playing field.”

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