Robertson makes an exit from WB
The era of the super syndie salesman may be over.With the ankling of Warner Bros. Domestic TV prexy Dick Robertson last week, the last of a breed had hung up his hat. These old-style syndie schleppers, however neatly attired and well-recompensed, relished the down-and-dirty dealmaking. If a station GM seemed reluctant to pony up for a new talker or quizzer, they’d hop a plane or a train to Paducah to get the job done. But the top jobs in syndication are increasingly about managing the business models and fashioning new alliances as the medium shifts into a more personalized, niche-ified viewing experience. “Forget bickering over barter splits and backslapping on the golf green. The new game is about web-streaming, iTuning and allying with all sorts of new partners,” says one pundit. In Warners’ case, it’s also about managing the largest content inventory in town and the biggest sales and marketing team. Robertson himself will segue into a senior advisory role at Warner Bros., while his erstwhile No. 2, Jim Paratore, will hang out his own production shingle, paraMedia, also at Warners. Ken Werner, Robertson’s replacement, hails from the WB netlet, and boasts well-honed collaborative and negotiating skills. He’ll need them.