CTAM Panelists Play The Newlywed Game

Boston -- It was an unusual spin on the typical CTAM Summit panel: In a funny mock version of The Newlywed Game, programmers and MSO officials were paired up Tuesday to see if they could guess each others’ answers to questions relating to the oft-rocky relationships between both parties.

The panel, entitled “The Newlywed Game: MSOs and Programmers Surviving the Honeymoon,” was moderated -- appropriately enough -- by GSN senior vice president of interactive and online entertainment John Roberts, who acted as host for the mock competition.

The format, like that of the vintage TV game show, was for one-half of a couple to guess their partner’s answers to several questions.

In CTAM’s case, the sets of competing odd couples were: Brian Kelly, senior VP of marketing for Time Warner Cable, and Susan Scott, The Weather Channel’s senior VP of distribution; Cesar Cruz, director of multicultural marketing for Cox Communications Inc., and Doug Lindauer, senior VP of sales and marketing for Turner Broadcasting System Inc.; and Italia Commisso Weinand, senior VP of programming and human resources for Mediacom Communications Corp., and Paul Colichman, president of gay network Here! TV.

One of the campy sample questions the group tackled was: “Programmers think that offering free VOD [video-on-demand] is,” with the multiple-choice options including “the best idea since Gigli and the XFL,” “something MSOs thought up to torture the programmers’ CFOs [chief financial officers]” and “a brilliant idea if someone from Comcast [Corp.] is in the room.”

Another question asked the panel to compare the operator-programmer partnership to being like a marriage between “Bill and Hillary Clinton,” “MTV’s Nick and Jessica [from MTV: Music Television’s Newlyweds” and “a eunuch and a nymphomaniac.”

As it turns out, Commisso Weinand and Colichman won the game, predicting each others’ answers with the most accuracy.

But on a more serious note at the end of the session, the panelists agreed that operators and programmers need to collaborate with each other.

Commisso Weinand said that when she and her husband of 27 years have a squabble, they “harken back to how we got started.” Both parties need to support each other, she added.