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Fred Seibert's Blog

Archive for September, 2006


Your call.

September 18th, 2006

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Lately, a lot of us at the Frederator Blogs have been posting with links to YouTube and Google Video. I kind of like the quality of the Google player more, but YouTube is pretty convenient because you can play the video directly from the blog window.

So, my question to all of you: Do you have a preference? (YouTube here, Google Video here.) Do you care? Do you even notice?

We’ll do whatever you like best.

[signed]
Your loyal servants.

Thanks Avi.

September 12th, 2006

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It must be something about being in the cartoons business, because we get the greatest interns. Our last goodbye and thank you for this summer goes to Avi Tuchman.

Avi goes to Yeshiva University High School in the Washington Heights neighborhood of upper Manhattan, New York. He’s been a lifelong fan of animation, and started working on his own cartoons and websites when he was 10. His fandom caused him to track down Frederator Studios and, lucky us, he agreed to spend several weeks with us in New York. Avi spent his time developing a promotional strategy for ReFrederator on the web, and building an internet game for Anne Walker’s Mind The Kitty.

When Avi’s done with high school and college, he’s going to be a great addition to whatever business he decides to enter; if we’re lucky he’s going to choose the cartoon industry.

Thanks again Avi, we’ll look forward to seeing you again.

My mentors: Bob Pittman

September 5th, 2006

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Writing about Tom Freston earlier has got me reflecting on the great boss we both had who brought us up in the early days of the cable TV business.

An old bio (or Wikipedia entry) of Bob Pittman can fill you in on his media life before he became the key force behind the explosive growth at AOL and as vice chairman of AOL Time Warner. But for me and Tom, MTVN CEO Judy McGrath, and a whole bunch of others, Bob was the inspiration that made us work like hell to build, launch, and grow (like weeds) MTV, Nickelodeon, and Nick-at-Nite, which of course led to the explosions of 27 wildly successful cable networks around the world. As John Stewart mentioned to someone earlier today, Bob (and then Tom) built a company that spawned almost every interesting and worthwhile cable executive today (and the worthwhile ones that didn’t work there desperately hoped to).

From my perspective, Bob not only is/was smart, shrewd, and a saavy judge of talent, but, he has the best immediate media instincts of anyone I’ve ever met. To this day, if I need a ‘right’ judgement on any media issue, small or huge, I call Bob, ask him a question, and the first thing out of his mouth is right. Every. Single. Time.

As to animation, while I had done a lot before, it was Bob’s notion to do what became the revolutionary 10-second animated network IDs we produced for cable throughout the 80s. He had some wild ideas that were too weird even for MTV, and his vision of what they could be really created an alternative career for me and my partner Alan Goodman.

Not everyone had the great luck of timing to be in a room with Bob Pittman in 1980 like me, Tom, Alan, and all the others. Can’t imagine where I’d be without that luck.

Tom Freston.

September 5th, 2006

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I looked for a picture of Tom Freston smiling, since it’s the state one would most often find him. But he takes his job seriously, so most often the pictures you find are him with a very earnest expression. He’s been tops in the media culture for almost 30 years, but has always kept his kindness, his people, and his mission, front and center.

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The reason I mention this is that Tom resigned his positions at Viacom today after 26 years with the company. And the reason I mention that is without Tom Freston I would have no career and no Frederator. Tom and I started together at MTV Networks together in the spring of 1980 and served together at the dawn of MTV: Music Television. When I left to form my consulting/ad agency/production company in 1983 Tom was my client and great supporter. He kept in touch during my years at Hanna-Barbera and then asked me to come back to work with his teams at the end of the 90s.

Tom was a one of a kind of leader. A man who only got better in each succeeding job, he not only kept the profits humming, but, against all odds, kept a unique culture alive in what was essentially a creative company. Since we focus on cartoons here, just look at his tenure: Liquid Television, Beavis & Butthead, Ren & Stimpy, Rugrats, Spongebob Square Pants, South Park, and of course all of our stuff. That’s just in one area of entertainment. He willed Comedy Central into being, he supported Logo, MTVN’s gay & lesbian network, long after the politics shifted against it, and because of his vision MTV is the world’s most distributed television channel in more than 27 different countries.
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Thanks for a great ride Tom. We’ll all miss you.