Tuesday, October 23, 2007

EPPS Spotlight Legends of Entertainment Publicity

Mike Casey and Cliff Dektar
At EPPS "Legends of PR"

Legends of Entertainment Publicity Say,

"Never Lie To The Media"

Four legendary entertainment publicists with experience totalling more than 150 years took center stage in Hollywood to tell the exciting television publicity story of diverse and informative secrets of the business over the last 50 years. The panel discussed the dramatic changes in production, tactics and what has keep their passion over the years in the evolution of Holllywood publicity.

(l-R ) Doug Duitsman, Gene Walsh and Mike Casey.

Hollywood, CA -“Never lie, or mislead the media, because they’ll never forget,” TV Publicist Legend Gene Walsh, a publicist with NBC for 30 years told a small crowd recently (10-23-07) attending the Entertainment Publicists Professional Society (EPPS)

The event was also sponsored by International Cinematographers Guild Local 600. He was among four legends in TV publicity discussing their “unique” situations and how TV publicity has evolved.
“Legends of Entertainment Publicity” event at the fine arts theatre, Hollywood, CA.

Walsh closely worked with many of TV’s legends, including Grant Tinker, Brandon Tartikoff and Fred Silverman. He is a founding member of the Television Publicity Executive Committee (TPEC) in Los Angeles and continues as a Member Emeritus.

“Nothing makes a public relations job easier than having a star like Johnny Carson,” Gene Walsh, a publicist with NBC for 30 years. “Carson would do everything from getting his picture taken in front of an oven to the top of a hotel in New York, where he would say, ‘this is a long way from the beach.’” After the session Walsh told us, “Johnny had nurtured Joan Rivers into a great job as his permanent substitute host. He (Johnny Carson) was upset because Joan never contacted him before suddenly calling a press conference announcing she was leaving ‘Tonight’ and accepting a late-nite job at Fox,” he said.

Walsh said Carson was upset when Joan Rivers, a weekly fill-in host, announced at a news conference that she was going to host a show on Fox.

Additionally, Walsh noted that “NBC felt obliged to release some sort of statement and that Johnny did not want to say anything. We (NBC) released the statement, ‘We wish her a modicum of success.’"

Doug Duitsman said his last eight years were the most gratifying, and said, “I discovered during that time that women are more equipped to do this job, than men. I don’t know how men feel about it out there, but emotionally women are better prepared to handle this type of job. You look around today, 21 and you see a lot of women are getting into PR departments of major corporations, so I think there might be something to it.”

Duitsman is the founding chairman of the Television Publicity Executive Committee, known as TPEC. He served 34 years in Television Publicity, beginning as a Publicist with NBC and later as Vice President of Publicity, Promotion and Advertising of Columbia Pictures Television and Warner Bros. Television.

Duitsman is also one of only two public relations executives to serve as President of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Publicity departments he headed were honored on three separate occasions by the Publicist Guild of America for “Best Conceived Publicity and Promotion Campaigns.” “Be dead honest with the media,” he advised.

The moderator was Thomas Roberts, anchor and correspondent with Entertainment Tonight/The Insider.

Thomas Roberts ET Anchor

What’s different today, compared to 50 years ago? “There are a lot of nasty people and regular reporters we need to dump today, because there is no reason for them to be nasty,” said Cliff Dektar, who began his career in entertainment publicity at ABC TV in August 1956. Dektar’s TV publicity career included many TV shows including “The Rifleman,” “Man with a Camera,” “Robert Taylor’s Detectives” and “The Big Valley.” He also helped launch ABC Sports. “Jerry Buck, who was one of my favorite writers at Associated Press said he left the AP, because it was such a strange organization,” said Dektar, who did publicity for the TV show “Hee Haw” for 15 years and as a governor of the public relations branch of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, and president of the Los Angeles Chapter. He is also a founding member of EPPS and the Television Publicity Executives Committee (TPEC).

“I love getting a client, and watching them grow and become famous after a year,” said

Panelist Mike Casey, who did publicity for the Ninja Turtles movies. “When I told my son that I had to do an red carpet event, and he learned it was the Turtles movie, he got so excited, and that’s when I realized they had a real following.” Casey had a long and eclectic career as a press agent and later publicity director for Warner Bros. Television, NBC Productions and KTLA. He was also a senior publicist at Universal Pictures, 20th Century Fox Television, Lorimar Television and served at two major entertainment PR

firms in Los Angeles. He started his showbiz career as night manager of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and later became stage manager and assistant director of CBS Television. He is currently executive vice president of Hanson & Schwam and handles publicity for the “Broadway on Ice.” And Olympic champions Dorothy Hamill and Nancy Kerrigan.

Also at the event the 2007 EPPSilon award was handed Jill Hudson and the “American Idol” publicity team for the “American Idol” $75 Million Plus campaign, IDOL GIVES BACK. The campaign brought “American Idol” fans, celebrity entertainers, show participants and corporate America together to raise much needed funds through “call-ins” and corporate donations from Ford, News Corporation, Coca-Cola, AT&T, Allstate, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and ConAgra. The funds were distributed through charity Projects Entertainment Fund, which combats extreme poverty in the U.S. and through the world, particularly in Africa. No one showed up from American Idol to accept the award.

JS2 Communications entry took second place: “The Wonder of Reading holds its 2nd Annual Explore-A-Story: A Celebration of Books Family Festival and Fundraiser” raising $580,000 through ticket sales and donations-surpassing the inaugural year’s results. The event also raised awareness of Pacific Theatres’ charitable work.

2005 EPPS Pres. Scott Pansky
hands JS2 EPPSilon Award.


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