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Mandabach speaks out about the Big Four

Networks have 'no trust in the creative process,' panelist sez

LAS VEGAS — Caryn Mandabach, a principal in Carsey-Werner-Mandabach, lashed out at the Big Four broadcast networks for “wanting to sell only to themselves” in lining up programming for the primetime schedule.

Speaking at a lively, well-attended panel on the opening day of the Natpe convention, called “Boom, Gloom or Doom,” Mandabach said that her company is the last of the independents producing scripted programming for the networks. She added that, in today’s economic climate, shows like her “Roseanne” sitcom and Castle Rock’s “Seinfeld” could not have got off the ground.

Two other panelists tried to counter Mandabach’s charges. Tony Vinciquerra, president and COO of the Fox Network Group, said “That ’70s Show,” “The O.C.” and “Nip/Tuck” are three shows that Fox and FX have commissioned from outside suppliers.

And Janice Marinelli, president of Buena Vista TV, said ABC does deals with Warner Bros. and Twentieth TV.

But Mandabach pooh-poohed those assertions, saying that 90% of network primetime product last year was “self-dealt” because the networks have “no trust in the creative process.”

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