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The Men Behind the Screens

These TV Executives Show that Not All Cigar-Smoking media Moguls Are in Film
Susan Karlin
From the Print Edition:
Chuck Norris, Jul/Aug 98

(continued from page 4)

As competition intensifies, the pressure to adopt a tabloid format increases. "News executives and producers have to make a choice--to succumb to the lure or stake out a path that is truer to their own particular tastes," he says. "At CBS, we're trying to stand out from the rest in the tradition of Charles Kuralt and Mike Wallace. It's tougher and tougher to live up to that.

"The onus is on the network news organizations to provide context and analysis," he adds. "As information rises, comprehension falls, because you're constantly interpreting and digesting data. There's more raw data available, so it's more important that people in the audience

can trust and respect that we are helping viewers understand that information."

Klein isn't the only one at CBS News with a taste for cigars. He occasionally shares a smoke with Dan Rather and Bryant Gumbel, to whom he gave a Cohiba humidor to celebrate the launch of "Public Eye."

"Michael Rubin, the [former] executive producer of 'Public Eye,' usually smokes in the late afternoon when the sun is setting," says Klein. "Just smelling his office is enough. It's a nice club to be in. Wine drinkers have this, too. They appreciate a good bottle between friends. This business is driven by friendships, and it's nice to be able to share something like that."

Stogie Shtick
Dan Staley, Rob Long and Tom Anderson are the closest thing to a vaudeville comedy act this side of the Friars Club and a one-company ode to one-liners and cigars. The corporate logo for their Los Angeles-based Staley/Long Productions is two cigars in an ashtray, and an interview with them is an aural amphetamine.

Producers of CBS's "George & Leo" with Paramount Television, the three recall the countless times they've been reprimanded by Paramount security for complaints about their smoking, proudly showing off their cigar box totem pole rising to the ceiling in a corner of their office. "Our cigar logo is basically turning an annoying habit into a trademark," Anderson says.

"Our neighbors have called the Paramount security on us a few times," Long jumps in. "He comes in and says, 'There's been a report of cigar smoke.' We say, 'We're shocked.' "

"He ignores it, because he doesn't want to do the paperwork," says Anderson.

"We used to have another office on the lot and we'd smoke there in the afternoons," says Long. "When we'd have casting sessions, the casting women would come in and complain about the smoke, so that was all the more reason to turn it into a thing. You can't ask us not to smoke if it's our logo. The logo sequence actually has a cough in it, but you can't hear it, because the network music comes over it." (The cough was added to placate an irate letter from the American Lung Association.)

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