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What’s On Michael Powell’s TV Menu?Let’s Just Say He’s ‘Mad’ for DramasAnd Hint He’s a ‘Modern’ ‘Gleek’

In an expanded sit-down with MULTIchannel
just before Cable Show 2011, new National
Cable & Telecommunications Association president
and CEO Michael Powell said this of The Wire: “I’ve
never seen anything more brilliant, ever.”

Blush, stammer, really?

Then we realized he was talking about The Wire, the
late, lamented HBO drama series about crime, politics
and media, set in Baltimore.

(He shares that opinion with many critics. One who
made himself known recently was Attorney General Eric
Holder, who last month called on the series co-creators
to do another season, or at least a movie, joking, “I have
a lot of power.”)

At, er, our beckoning, Powell weighed in with a lineup
of his current TV favorites, plus some he has caught up
with through the wonders of on-demand viewing.

“I’m thrilled that Mad Men has survived another dispute
and is going to be back in September because I
think it’s a fantastic show,” he said of the AMC drama
that has had some production drama of its own.

Back to HBO: Powell has not gotten to The Sopranos
yet. That’s on a past-TV bucket list of sorts. He now gets
HBO, though, so he can crack into that vault. The milestone
mob drama is already a favorite of his dad’s, Gen.
Colin Powell. “My father loves The Sopranos. He loves
all the mob genre. Never been my thing. But Treme [the
current HBO drama set in post-Katrina New Orleans], I
think is a fascinating version of The Wire, and Boardwalk
is a brilliant piece.”

The Wire (us, not the HBO drama) got the sense that
Powell likes well-written and engaging dramas. “I do,”
he confirmed.

But he is an equal-opportunity viewer, citing a number
of broadcast shows as well as cable. “I have left out
my passion for 24, which is now over. And I have never
missed a Friday Night Lights, which I am very sad is supposedly
coming to an end. Please, Brian Roberts, bring it
back,” he said, raising his voice in mock earnestness and
perhaps invoking Wire fan Holder.

The high-school football drama has been doing double
duty, on DirecTV and NBC, but is now in the final throws
of its final season.

The former Federal Communications Commission
chief has a taste for quality fare on the lighter side, too.

“I think Modern Family [ABC] is one of the most genius
comedies ever put together on broadcast television, and
I watch it religiously.”

Could he possibly be a … ? “I’m a Gleek, I’m going to
confess,” he admits unapologetically of you know which
Fox comedy. “I do have some sugar-coated indulgences
and that’s one of them. Great show.”

Oh, and Mr. NCTA president, referring to Chicago:
Back at you.

Chicago Sure Drew
Crowds Inside and
Outside the Hotels

No one could argue Chicago was one busy town early
last week.

At times, it got downright demonstrative.

Wednesday afternoon, a protest outside the Hyatt
Downtown Chicago
forced the Cable Show to divert
buses from that hotel, where many conventioneers were
staying. The uproar began around 3 p.m. and was apparently
directed against bank CEOs who were meeting
there. Photos on the Internet showed protesters outside
the Hyatt, some holding signs saying Give Us Back Our
Homes! and Give Us Back Our Jobs!

This was the second Hyatt-related disruption to afflict
Cable Show 2011 attendees. As The Wire reported last
week, the Hyatt Regency Chicago was overbooked by
hundreds of rooms on Monday night. Hyatt comped the
displaced one night and found them rooms at another
Hyatt, unfortunately it was one outside town, in Shaumburg,

Attendees representing Amdocs and Starz were
among those known to have gotten bumped from
the Hyatt Regency. At least some of those folks were
brought back to town on Tuesday on a school bus, The
Wire was told. At least one other convention hotel was
reportedly overbooked, and restaurant tables were hard
to find. Don’t get us started about the cab lines at
McCormick Place every afternoon, either.

Orduña Pals Stage
Neckware Salute on
Cable Show Panel

CHICAGO — When Arthur Orduña, the chief technology
officer at Canoe Ventures, arrived to moderate a panel
at Cable Show 2011 Wednesday titled “Television With
a Twist,” he discovered that the twist was that all of his
panelists — Chris Falkner of NBCUniversal, Robert Klippel
of Comcast Spotlight, Chris Faw of Time Warner Cable
Media Sales, Jason Malamud of Verizon FiOS advertising
and Todd Stewart of Bright House Networks — had joined
him in donning his trademark bow tie for the occasion.

Orduña quickly fingered who he thought was the
instigator. “I’ll get you, Chris Falkner,” he said as the
session began.

After talking about implementing the opportunities
and road blocks to advance advertising for an hour, Orduña
thanked his panel for both being informative and
“sartorially splendid.”

Then & Now

CHICAGO — New Cable TV Pioneer Steven Richey,
president of 4CableTV, said he and his pals enjoyed
seeing the 40-year-old photo MCN ran in its
Pioneers special report last week while attending
the induction on Monday. The Wire said we’d gladly
show the world his current visage, too. Congrats to
all Pioneers.