Celebrating Silverman at Syracuse

Although I wasn’t able to attend and participate, I wanted to throw out a plug for an upcoming event at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, “From Test Patterns to Pixels: Envisioning the Future of Television.” The day-long April 8 seminar will explore the work of producer and network executive Fred Silverman, which will include a look at Silverman’s programming history and an interview with him conducted by “60 Minutes” correspondent Steve Kroft. (Both Silverman and Kroft are Syracuse grads, class of ’58 and ’67, respectively.)

I’ve always enjoyed and valued Silverman’s input and observations about the state of the TV business, and he continues to analyze the primetime landscape as if he were still in charge of shuffling the programming squares at CBS, ABC and NBC, all of which he headed for a time during his storied career.

That said, the timing didn’t work out for me to make a pilgrimage to Syracuse, and having been there a few years back (to attend the NCAA basketball tournament, if you must know), well, it just wasn’t on top of my list of vacation destinations. Moreover, I’d feel like a bit of a hypocrite given that the retrospective will be hosted by Robert Thompson, the ubiquitous founding director of Syracuse’s Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture, who is quoted so frequently in media circles about such a staggering array of topics that I have joked about him turning up at local Wal-Mart openings if there’s an outside chance a camera crew might be there.

At any rate, those wanting more information about the event should visit silverman.syr.edu, which will offer journalists a chance to contribute questions that will be posed at the seminar or at the least answered online.

Oh, and if anybody is going to be honored at the University of Hawaii in the near future, for that kind of boondoggle, hey, I’m there!

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