Once a fall TV tradition, the HRTS lunch was scrapped in 2008 after a tussle over who should appear on the dais on behalf of NBC. That lunch never happened, and also didn’t take place in 2009.
But with a clear entertainment topper now in place at HRTS — as well as the departure of ABC Entertainment prexy Steve McPherson, who wasn’t believed to be a fan of the lunch — the network entertainment topper lunch has been reinstated for some time in October (a date to be announced later).
In 2008, the issue surrounded the lack of an entertainment prexy at the Peacock. At the time, NBC Universal TV didn’t think either of its co-chairmen — Ben Silverman and Marc Graboff — should be onstage when it’s entertainment presidents who traditionally headline the event. NBC offered up the net’s scripted series topper, Teri Weinberg, but NBC’s rivals balked.
In bringing back the lunch, HRTS chairman Kevin Beggs said the network presidents were “given assurances that this would not be eight talking points from each press department about the fall lineup. That’s what this became.” Instead, Beggs said he hoped to steer the lunch discussion toward issues facing the industry, such as economics and piracy.
HRTS kicks off its 2010-2011 season on Tuesday with a luncheon headlined by News Corp.’s Chase Carey. Other events through the year will include a First Amendment debate (dubbed a “First Amendement Throwdown”) in June; as well as the return of panels on reality TV, cable and showrunners.