TV Executives Look For Guarantees -- In The Worst Way

You can always interview for a new job while still at your existing job.  But it's probably not a good idea to do too much for your prospective new employer.

The smart executives at CNN thought MSNBC's David Shuster could fit the bill for them. Seeing as how Shuster's contract was up with MSNBC this year, why not try to grab him? Better yet, how about convincing him to do a pilot?

This was kind of like Teri Hatcher of "Desperate Housewives" thinking about doing another satire on the state of suburban housewives and starring in a pilot for NBC - except that she didn't tell ABC.

TV talent likes to get the most out of their efforts. Less-well-known ensemble actors are known to appear in different TV shows at the same time - but not lead actors.

But a TV news anchor is different. CNN wanted to picture what a new daytime news show would be with Shuster. Credit them for being brazen and smart.



Shuster is now suspended, and will possibly be fired. What leverage does he now have if that happens? A lot less than if he were still employed.

CNN doesn't lose much. In fact, it gains knowledge about what a new show would look like. It might not even be all that interested after looking at the pilot.

Blame Shuster? Blame his agent? Blame his manager? Who made this bright decision anyway?

In the high-stakes game of TV, producers are looking for more -- more testing and more guarantees.

With the failure rate of TV shows - including news shows - increasing with the advent of new competition, expect more stuff like this to come out, about TV executives looking to protect whatever they have left.

Talent -- actors and on-air newspeople -- should just beware. TV executives are looking for ways not to fail-- at the expense of looking for ways to succeed.

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