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More Tim Robbins, and Other News, from the NAB: What Happens in Vegas Isn't Staying There
April 15, 2008  | By David Bianculli

Word of Tim Robbins' somewhat defiant keynote address at the National Association of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas Monday continues to spread. Two days later, you can not only hear the complete speech in audio form -- but can read it and see it, too, all thanks to the Internet.

(For background and to set the scene, since I was there as the purported but essentially unneeded moderator, read my most recent BIANCULLI'S BLOG.)

To assess Robbins' remarks in full context, there are three different ways to go.

To hear the speech, you can go to the Broadcasting & Cable website, which posted full audio shortly after Robbins delivered it Monday morning.

To read the speech, Tim Robbins himself spread the word -- and the words -- by publishing the entirety of his text on The Huffington Post.

tim-robbins-at-nab-big smiling.jpg

And you can see Robbins deliver the speech, too. An Internet Boswell, recording the event for posterity, captured and posted full video and audio yesterday. ("Shot off the video screen on a $100 FLIP camera by AR&D's Steve Safran.") Robbins didn't give NAB permission to distribute footage of his appearance, so the four clandestinely recorded parts of his speech, posted on the AR&D website, may or may not be up there for long. But like Stephen Colbert's infamous performance at the 2006 White House Correspondents Dinner, this speech may become more notorious the more often it's posted, seen and shared.

By the way, though the tsunami of interest in Robbins' speech washed away my duties as moderator of my scheduled Q&A with Robbins, I am in evidence at one point, and one point only, in part two of the video. Right after Robbins made a raw but very funny joke about Edward R. Murrow, using language that would draw FCC fines if broadcast, he said to the audience, "Listen, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, right?"


Unaware that my mike was still live (I was sitting at the downstage chair next to the one Robbins had vacated to make his speech), I said, "Oh, yeah, that'll happen."

Robbins looked up as though trying to pinpoint a voice from above, and asked quizzically, "Did someone just say something?"


Then he saw me and said, "Oh, it was you," and smiled. I explained, "I was just laughing at the idea of this staying in Vegas. But you go right ahead, Mr. Robbins."

And boy, did he.


Meanwhile, there was other news coming out of the NAB. I moderated two sessions Tuesday. One was a Pushing Daisies panel with creator Bryan Fuller, pilot director and co-executive producer Barry Sonnenfeld, and director of photography Michael Weaver. The other was a solo session with Sonnenfeld, talking about the future of the media as well as his outstanding past work. In neither case did I have to fill time by asking any leftover questions from my Tim Robbins session... though I had lots.

The talk at those sessions largely was more technical, playful or humorous than newsworthy, though Sonnenfeld gave a delightful (and relatively short) speech that, among other things, questioned whether today's teens were capable of "singleplexing" -- watching TV without simultaneously conversing, searching or interacting on other electronic devices.


We did learn, though, that the visually dazzling Pushing Daisies had just drawn a 25 percent audience share in Great Britain, that the Pushing Daisies first-season DVD set would be out in September, and that one of many actors considered originally as the show's narrator was Kyle MacLachlan.

And backstage, Fuller and Sonnenfeld told me the much-awaited musical episode of Daisies would have to be awaited much longer (probably until next May), and would incorporate familiar standards rather than new songs.

Finally, in my last bit of NAB dispatch before heading back home, I attended Tuesday's Lost panel with co-executive producers Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof. No news there, either (big surprise, the way these guys protect their plans), but some good quotes, including the following.


Lindelof, on how John Terry, the actor playing Jack's dad, has gotten more and more screen time in flashbacks even though his character was deceased as the story began: "He's one of the hardest-working dead people in show business."

Lindelof, on the decision to add flash-forwards to the show's design as a way of teasing and pleasing the show's hard-core mystery-solving fans: "Let's let them flip to the back of the book."

Cuse, on what he saw as obvious budgetary constraints on Fox's Sarah Connor Chronicles: "It would have been better with more money."

And finally, Lindelof on what's special about enjoying a show such as Lost as it airs, rather than after the entire series is finished and out on DVD: "Having time to talk about a story only exists during the initial run."


1 Comment


Scott Gunsaullus said:

I thought that the Sarah Connor Chronicles dealt with their financial constraints very well. Lack of a shoot em up in every episode allowed the producers to focus on the strengths of the scifi genre; namely plot, character development and theme.

As for effects, I found the finale shoot out sequence, where the Cromartie terminator eliminates an entire FBI SWAT team, to be incredibly innovative. Most of the action is shot from an underwater camera looking up from the bottom of an apartment swimming pool.

Comment posted on April 16, 2008 10:47 AM

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