Creator, “Mad Men”
I was a senior in high school when (Brandon Tartikoff) hosted “Saturday Night Live,” and I remember thinking, “Who is this executive?” I loved how funny and self-deprecating he was. It wasn’t until I got into television that I realized he was responsible for everything I liked to watch. You really got the feeling someone was in charge who really wanted to entertain people and help creative people pull that off. And also, by the way, the real Tartikoff moment … just growing up in a writers room, and hearing every executive compared to him — and often not in a positive way — I realized he was a different kind of person.
President of station operations, Fox
I was a general manager in Chicago, and when I was looking for a replacement for the a.m. show there, I saw an audition for Oprah Winfrey. I’m thinking to myself on a Saturday morning over Labor Day weekend in 1983, “Oh my goodness, I can’t be this lucky. This woman is the most unique, dynamic and best I’ve ever seen.” The trick for me was to get her under contract.
VP of production and content, Colombia’s RCN TV and creator, “Ugly Betty”
I have always being involved in complex projects. I told the story of the Colombian coffee trade in telenovela format, and the protagonist was an impotent man who fell in love with a coffee collector woman who used to move around the country, and just appeared during the harvest, and who had the key to his sexuality.
CEO, FremantleMedia North America
Very soon after I arrived in Los Angeles and started working in the business, I started hearing references to (Tartikoff’s) name as the gold standard in all creative matters. He loved what he did, had fun doing it and took people on the ride along with him, from his staff at the network, the producers he engaged and of course the talent.
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