TV Critics’ Winter Tour Next Year Must Navigate Around Rose Bowl

CTAM faced a major challenge developing the cable portion of this year Television Critics Association Winter Tour. The organization had to energize cable networks and more than 200 television critics to gather at the Pasadena Langham Hotel, just two days after New Year’s Day and the city’s annual Parade of Roses and big Rose Bowl college football game.

With few networks wanting to hold panel sessions so close to the New Year’s holiday, the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing decided to shorten cable’s TCA appearances to two days instead of the typical threeday confab, which ultimately drew more than 20 networks and 200 television critics.

CTAM will have an even bigger challenge in January 2014: How to schedule cable’s portion of the Winter TCA around the college football’s BowlChampionship Series championship game, which will be held at the Rose Bowl Stadium on Jan. 6.

With thousands of fans and media descending on Pasadena in the days and weeks leading up to the biggest college football game of the year, CTAM and the TCA are tentatively planning to launch the Winter TCA tour with cable networks on Jan. 8.

That should give the Langham time to prepare for what is shaping to be a return to a three-day cable TCA schedule in 2014.

CTAM said it will look to again look to cut down on reporters having to move from room to room after each panel by running two or three network panel sessions together in one ballroom. TCA writers seem to appreciate not having to drag their computers from ballroom to ballroom after each presentation, although it’s unclear whether the networks will once again be willing to compete with other networks for space for the press materials and big promotional signage typical of TCA events.

Justice Powell? NCTA Chief Sounds Smart On ‘Chevron’

National Cable & Telecommunications Association president Michael Powell did not argue — or even hear — last week’s oral argument in the U.S. Supreme Court in a case involving the limits of a court’s “Chevron deference” to regulatory agency decisions (See Rules).

But he probably could have been helpful.

At a Minority Media & Telecommunications Council summit last week, Powell was asked to weigh in on the issue. He said that the original intent of the Chevron doctrine was “to defer heavily to technical judgments or ones that required a degree of expertise that was believed to be uniquely embodied in the regulatory state.”

Powell said he was surprised by the case because he always thought that, by contrast, an agency was not “uniquely positioned” to interpret questions of its own jurisdiction.

“Since the days of Marbury v. Madison” — the landmark 1803 Supreme Court decision that established the principle of judicial review of executive decisions — “the Supreme Court has established the principle that the court is the ultimate arbitrator of someone’s subject-matter power, given the constitutional implications of making sure that agency is operating consistent with the one branch of government that is actually mentioned in the constitution,” Powell opined. “Chevron can’t be some carte blanche approach to plenary power on an administrative-agency basis.”

Powell said he had not paid a lot of attention to the case, which begged the question of just how much more thoughtfully he could weigh in when he has been paying a lot of attention. More than one observer has labeled Powell among the best and brightest extemporaneous speakers around.

— John Eggerton

‘Devil’ Daneyko Says Fast Start Key to NHL Success

After the lockout cost 40% of schedule, the National Hockey League finally faced off its truncated 2013 season on Saturday. To celebrate the start of the season and return of New York Rangers and Islanders and New Jersey Devils to the ice and MSG Network and MSG Plus, the company rolled out its on-air talent at Toy restaurant on Jan. 16 to size up the clubs and season.

There, The Wire caught up with Devils studio analyst Ken Daneyko, the former defenseman who hoisted Lord Stanley’s Cup after the club swept the Detroit Red Wings during a similarly lockout-shortened 1995 season.

“Mr. Devil” — he skated in more games than any player in franchise history — said that today’s players, benefiting from superior training techniques, are in better shape than those back in his day, so the onus is squarely on the coaching staffs.

“Having just a week to get ready is clearly not enough,” he said, noting the Devils had 10 days before the abbreviated 1995 campaign begun. “They have to develop team chemistry and find the right line combinations quickly.”

Getting off to a bad 10-game start would make it difficult to attain a playoff position, according to Daneyko. “During the course of an 82-game schedule, individuals, lines and the team all go through mini-slumps. You can’t afford that now. The mental focus has to be there every night,” he said.

The coaches will likely map out the schedule in five-game increments, he added. “You have to be over .500 every five games.”

Daneyko, acknowledged that it won’t be easy for the Devils, last year’s Stanley Cup runnersup, to make up for the loss of former captain ZachParise, who is now a member of the Minnesota Wild. But this is a franchise that embraces adversity: “They’ve lost so many players over the years, but it’s a matter of other guys stepping up. That’s the mentality of the organization that has won many division titles.”

What advice would he offer to the 2013 Devils as they prepare for the shortened season? “Don’t blink. It happens so quickly. Be prepared, be consistent. You have to be sharp every night. The points are so important. It’s going to be great action for the fans.”

 — Mike Reynolds

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.