Nobody Knows Anything…Including Me!

by Norman Horowitz

There are a few lines that I wish I had “created,” but none more so than William Goldman’s famous motto: “Nobody knows anything.”

In the process of selling TV content, I used to throw management into a tizzy when, asked if a particular program would succeed, I’d reply, “I don’t have a clue.” I expect that they never understood that, when I put millions of their dollars at risk, I couldn’t guarantee that the company would get their money back, never mind show a profit. All I could ever say was that I “sold at wholesale,” which translated from the ancient Hebraic meant that the broadcasters might buy said content or they might now. It was (and still is) the responsibility of the broadcaster to determine how many of their viewers would tune in to watch a particular program.

A brief example: When I acquired the distribution rights to Barney Miller, several of the studio intelligentsia claimed that Hal Lyndon couldn’t carry a comedy half-hour. It wasn’t that I was right about the program but rather that “the fates” were kind to me. The show grossed a couple hundred million dollars or more for Columbia.

So I found it amusing that, when a high-ranking show executive was asked about the new Anderson Cooper Show, he replied, “Think Donahue.”   Continue reading “Nobody Knows Anything…Including Me!”

No, Dorothy, We’re Not in Bloomingdale’s Anymore

I’m sorry there are no pictures on today’s posts. Tagaroo — the WordPress plugin we use on this site for pictures — is acting up. We’ll try to fix it ASAP. In the meantime, I just couldn’t delay this wonderful post from Norman any longer. — AWO

by Norman Horowitz

It’s 115 degrees in the shade, and there’s no shade. A man lost in the desert for three days without food or water has almost given up hope of living to see another sunset. He crawls to the top of a sand dune and for a moment believes that he’s saved when he sees a man wearing a suit-and-tie sitting under a huge umbrella next to a table piled high with ties.

Our dying man staggers over to the man with the ties and notices a sign, “Ties for Sale: $750”. With his last bit of strength he groans, “Water, water, please I must have water.”

The man with the ties tells him, “I don’t have any water, but would you be interested in buying a tie for $750 dollars?” Seeing the devastated look on the dying man’s face, the tie salesman adds, “There’s a restaurant fifty yards ahead where you can get water.”

Our dying man crawls over the next sand dune and arrives in front of a big restaurant. He is about ready to go in when he sees a sign over the front door, “ABSOLUTELY NO SERVICE WITHOUT A TIE!”   Continue reading “No, Dorothy, We’re Not in Bloomingdale’s Anymore”