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Heard At the B&C Hall of Fame 2013

Broadcasting & Cable celebrated its 23rd Hall of Fame Oct. 28 to a sold-out grand ballroom at the Waldorf-Astoria in NYC. Here are some of the best musings from this year’s honorees Monday night.

Steve Bornstein, CEO, NFL Network and executive VP of Media at NFL

“Do whatever it takes to hire the right people, the smartest people, the most motivated people, the people with the most integrity and give them the tools to do their job and get out of the way”

Jon Feltheimer, CEO, Lionsgate

“My mom started me down this road. She got me guitar lessons when I was 7. And she taught me something that I now teach to my children. It’s ok to get a C f you did the best you could. But if you get an A when you could have gotten an A+, then it’s time to go back to work.”

Gary Newman, chairman and CEO, 20th Century Fox Television

“If I’ve done anything smart in my career, it’s that I’ve been lucky to stumble into enough great relationships.”

Dana Walden, chairman and CEO, 20th Century Fox Television

“I’m often asked what’s the secret to developing great, zeitgeist shows…Step one: make a deal with Ryan Murphy; there is no step two.”

Tom Rogers, president and CEO, TiVo

“When electronic media became the key means by which people came to be informed and entertained, being able to create a diversity of electronic media and news sources to advance the cause of a truly robust market place of ideas became critical too.”

Richard Plepler, CEO, HBO

“And while [John] McEnroe may have found his place in the Newport Tennis Hall of Fame, I, alas, did not,” Plepler said of losing a tennis match to McEnroe during his childhood. “So I’m nothing but grateful that there is at least one hall of fame that will have me and that I can call home.”

Randy Falco, president and CEO, Univision Communications

“All these years I thought I was Fonzie. Turns out I’m Richie Cunningham,” Falco said after the the sizzle reel showed a photo of him, young and red headed, next to Richie Cunningham. “Television, as a boy, allowed me to dream. As an adult, it allowed me to fulfill those dreams.”

Deborah McDermott, president and CEO, Young Broadcasting

“I’m really blessed with a wonderful family…My sons are fortunate to have their mother’s athletic ability.” - One son plays football for the Niners, the other for UCLA.

“I stayed because you stay with family,” said McDermott about her decision to stay with Young through bankruptcy woes. “The hard times don’t last, but family does.”

Neil Smit, CEO, Comcast Cable

“It’s all about the team,” he said about what he learned from his training as a Navy Seal.

The Comcast team has “integrity, creativity, determination and trust in each other,” he said. “I accept this award on their behalf.”

Jo Ann Ross, president of network sales, CBS

“My team works hard for our clients but we play hard too and we play to win.”

“Could someone tell [NBCU CEO] Steve Burke to lose my number,” she said about being obsessed with CBS.

She later confided that “my Spanx are at live plus three hours, but I’m not getting any incremental lift.”

Michael Gelman, executive producer for LIVE with Kelly and Michael 

“It’s hard for us to think of ourselves as Hall of Famers because we still feel like we’re a brand-new show. We’re so glad we’ve had the opportunity to reinvent and reinvigorate the franchise so many times over the years. People often watch the show and say to themselves, ‘I could do that,’ because we try to make it look easy, but trust me it’s anything but easy.”

Bill Goodwyn, president and CEO, strategic distribution and Discovery Education, Discovery Communications

“I’ve had the privilege to work for a company that I admire as much today as I did 26  years ago when I first started.”

“I was working for Xerox and I met an executive recruiter and I tried to sell her a copier.  I was 23 years old. I didn’t know what an executive recruiter was. I was just trying to  sell her a copier…well, I didn’t get an order for a new copier, but I did get a job offer, and I joined Scripps Howard. And I knew immediately that I’d found a home in the cable television industry.”

“I hope that wasn’t a sign that my time is up, because I swear to you, the first speaker was a lot longer than I am.” said Goodwyn, after the spotlight trained on him while he was speaking momentarily faded out.

“This is the only business I can think of where you could be trading F-bombs in a heated negotiation in one moment, and then you’re out having dinner and having a beer the next. So I’m very thrilled that tonight, many of those brilliant, F-bomb dropping, beer-drinking executives are here… I’m indebted to each of you and I sincerely appreciate your friendship.”

Alex Trebek, host, Jeopardy!

Thank you all for keeping the applause going until I made it up the stairs. I was telling the people at our table earlier that at a night like this I wish I had changed my name years ago to Alex Adams so that I would have gotten up at the beginning of the program and spent the last two-and-a-half hours drinking. There is no advantage to being the last guy up here except perhaps, if I’m lucky, most of you have had a considerable amount to drink and you’ve got a little buzz going, and I promise not to disturb you or wake you with my comments.”

“A lesson in humility taught unwittingly and unknowingly by the Queen of England. That little experience so early in my career has influenced me greatly because ever since then I have gone through my professional life with this mantra if you will: Take your job seriously but don’t take yourself too seriously. It has helped me a great deal. Now in the interest of full disclosure, I suppose I should end by mentioning that Queen Elizabeth is not the only woman in my life who didn’t know who I was the next day,” said Trebek, relating a story of a lengthy conversation he’d had with Queen Elizabeth after an event early in his career—a conversation the Queen had utterly forgotten the next day when meeting Trebek at a different event.

Compiled by Tim Baysinger, Luke McCord, Rob Edelstein, Michael Malone, Jon Lafayette, Paige Albiniak and Dade Hayes