On Friday, June 12th, I posted a piece in the Huffington Post titled, "There Is No Theatre Without Writers".
I received a lot of positive letters, comments, phone calls and emails and I found it all gratifying. I also received several which indicated that they were somewhat baffled by why, if I thought CBS has done a great thing by keeping the Tony broadcast going annually (and I do) and why, if I think that the CBS viewership who loves musical theatre is, in particular, well-served to see what's happening on Broadway, that the single complaint I had, was: the excising of the winning authors from the telecast in some way "tainted" the Tony Awards show.
Well, as I indicated on June 12th, it was a good old-fashioned, lavish, glamorous variety show and highly entertaining to many people.
However, I also indicated that the composers and lyricists of Grammy songs who win a Grammy and those who write the winning screenplays for Oscar-winning motion pictures are treated with a greater level of respect and appreciation in their televised awards ceremonies.
We must recognize these people. Not only do we recognize authors but there is a tradition in television identified many years ago by the founder of CBS, Bill Paley, when he initiated the Young People's Concerts with Leonard Bernstein which defined CBS as the leader of a network's responsibility to the American public's American culture. He was also recognizing the Federal Communication Commission rules and the Federal statute underlying television and its broadcast which is that the public owns the airwaves.
CBS devoted time and provided the public with an opportunity not only to be entertained but also to be educated and informed and to be told the truth in its entirety. They acted consistent with the FCC standards of "honesty and integrity" and "in the public interest" per the FCC manual.
Now this sounds like legal stuff. It doesn't sell commercials and television is commerce. I get it. I'm a businessman and a pragmatist and really want the Tonys and CBS to both thrive. But I know that the few minutes it would have taken to give this recognition was already impregnated in that show that was telecast with content that did not have to be broadcast!
Sure, you're gonna say, "He's a back seat driver. He didn't produce the show. He doesn't know all the pressures we're under." Please don't give me lectures. I'm hip and I get it. At the same time, it doesn't mean that my passion for writers wasn't impacted and that I was not distressed. That is why I felt that the omission which in my view was actually a commission by not giving a fair shake to winning writers at the winner's podium was worthy of writing last week's story.
I hope this proves to be responsive to those of you who were baffled and who were candid enough to write and ask why this meant so much to me.
Ain't no show without the writer(s). That simple.
No stage show. No TV show.
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