You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Tartikoff Honorees Reflect on Past, Gaze Into Future

Jon Feltheimer, Lauren Zalaznick, Emilio Azcarraga Jean and James L. Brooks get tribute treatment

After expressing the requisite gratitude and humility, Lauren Zalaznick did away with the  niceties at NATPE’s Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Awards and asked the obvious question.

“A legacy award — really?” she said. “Shouldn’t I get it when I’m really old, or retired?”

Zalaznick, the former NBCUniversal cable and digital maven, was one of four honorees at the 11th annual Tartikoff kudos, recognizing industry figures who have made an impact on the biz in the spirit of the late NBC master programmer.

LIonsgate boss Jon Felthemer, Television CEO Emilio Azcarraga Jean and veteran TV and film hyphenate James L. Brooks were also recognized with heartfelt tributes.

Zalaznick, the youngest of the group, made a point of looking forward in her remarks, noting the “tremendous transformation of our industry” at this fraught moment when to many it feels as if “there’s a siege on our audience and a siege in the value of our content.”

To illustrate the pace of change that the biz has experienced in the past few years, she offered a characteristically heady theoretical exercise in envisioning the history of the arts as if they were compressed into a seven-day time frame — meaning that the world of streaming media on pocket-sized devices would have only emerged “three seconds ago.”

“We’re still just at the beginning of the modern media age,” she told the slightly bewildered audience in conclusion. And for those who fret about where the business of TV is headed, she offered reassuringly “I have nothing but faith that we’re going to sort that out.”

Feltheimer spoke of his memories of working with Tartikoff when the former was a young television exec at New World Entertainment. Like his father, Feltheimer recalled, Tartikoff was a great salesman, and he recalled his father’s maxim: “A great salesman doesn’t start selling until the customer says ‘No,’ “ he said.

Azcarraga Jean was intro’d by Mexican comedy superstar Eugenio Derbez, star of the cross-border B.O. hit “Instructions Not Included,” distribbed by the Televisa-Lionsgate joint venture Pantelion Films.

Azcarrage Jean joked about the length of time it took Derbez to write the script for “Instructions,” and further joked that he hoped the actor would sign a “150-year” contract with the Mexican media giant, which Azcarraga Jean has been actively turning into a global media force since he took the reins at age 29 in 1997. He noted that even from afar, Tartikoff “represented everything I love about this business.”

Brooks closed the ceremony, hosted by “Entertainment Tonight’s” Nancy O’Dell, with an “ass-kissy” love letter to the great bosses he’s had in TV over the years.

The list included Grant Tinker (who went to bat for him and Allen Burns on their vision for “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”), former CBS programming chief Bob Wood (who gave “MTM” the coveted post-“All in the Family” timeslot), Tartikoff (who rescued “Taxi” from cancelation by ABC) and Fox’s Peter Rice and 20th Century Fox TV chairman Gary Newman, who was on hand to intro Brooks’ tribute. (Newman was the pinch-hitter for “Everybody Loves Raymond” creator Phil Rosenthal, who had to bow out because of illness.)

Brooks characterized Newman as the only person who is consistently “the adult in the room” when it comes to dealing with all things involving “The Simpsons.” Considering the drama over contracts and compensation that has periodically erupted behind the scenes on  landmark toon series, that’s saying something.

Pictured from left: Jon Feltheimer, Lauren Zalaznick, Emilio Azscarrage Jean, James L. Brooks

More TV

  • American Music Awards Alessia Cara

    American Music Awards: What You Didn't See on TV

    After expressing the requisite gratitude and humility, Lauren Zalaznick did away with the  niceties at NATPE’s Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Awards and asked the obvious question. “A legacy award — really?” she said. “Shouldn’t I get it when I’m really old, or retired?” Zalaznick, the former NBCUniversal cable and digital maven, was one of four honorees […]

  • Tig Notaro Writers Room

    Tig Notaro on Louis C.K. Scandal: Only Positive Is 'Victims Were Not Told They're Lying Anymore'

    After expressing the requisite gratitude and humility, Lauren Zalaznick did away with the  niceties at NATPE’s Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Awards and asked the obvious question. “A legacy award — really?” she said. “Shouldn’t I get it when I’m really old, or retired?” Zalaznick, the former NBCUniversal cable and digital maven, was one of four honorees […]

  • The L Word

    'The L Word' Sequel Series Taps Marja-Lewis Ryan as Showrunner

    After expressing the requisite gratitude and humility, Lauren Zalaznick did away with the  niceties at NATPE’s Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Awards and asked the obvious question. “A legacy award — really?” she said. “Shouldn’t I get it when I’m really old, or retired?” Zalaznick, the former NBCUniversal cable and digital maven, was one of four honorees […]

  • Marvel's Runaways

    Our Staff Picks: TV Shows to Watch the Week of Nov. 20, 2017

    After expressing the requisite gratitude and humility, Lauren Zalaznick did away with the  niceties at NATPE’s Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Awards and asked the obvious question. “A legacy award — really?” she said. “Shouldn’t I get it when I’m really old, or retired?” Zalaznick, the former NBCUniversal cable and digital maven, was one of four honorees […]

  • Della Reese dead

    Della Reese, 'Touched by an Angel' Star and R&B Singer, Dies at 86

    After expressing the requisite gratitude and humility, Lauren Zalaznick did away with the  niceties at NATPE’s Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Awards and asked the obvious question. “A legacy award — really?” she said. “Shouldn’t I get it when I’m really old, or retired?” Zalaznick, the former NBCUniversal cable and digital maven, was one of four honorees […]

  • Adolfo Lagos Televisa Executive Murdered

    Televisa Executive Adolfo Lagos Killed Near Mexico City

    After expressing the requisite gratitude and humility, Lauren Zalaznick did away with the  niceties at NATPE’s Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Awards and asked the obvious question. “A legacy award — really?” she said. “Shouldn’t I get it when I’m really old, or retired?” Zalaznick, the former NBCUniversal cable and digital maven, was one of four honorees […]

  • CBS Warns of Blackout for Dish

    CBS Warns of Blackout for Dish Subscribers

    After expressing the requisite gratitude and humility, Lauren Zalaznick did away with the  niceties at NATPE’s Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Awards and asked the obvious question. “A legacy award — really?” she said. “Shouldn’t I get it when I’m really old, or retired?” Zalaznick, the former NBCUniversal cable and digital maven, was one of four honorees […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content