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FROM THIS EPISODE

Toblerone

This is Rob Long with Martini Shot on KCRW.

For some reason, the major networks decide and announce their fall schedules in New York, though they-re all based in Los Angeles. I guess they do this for two reasons: one, the various media buyers and advertising executives are planted in Manhattan; and two, executives of all stripes in all industries get an erotic charge from eating a $53 room service breakfast.

But because they fly out there, everyone with a pilot or a series in contention flies out, too. And so do all of the big agents. And the studios. And the other producers and writers who are vying for staff jobs or mid-season orders. We do it because-well, ostensibly because if the network wants a last-minute creative meeting, or an adjustment or two to an existing series, we-ll be available. But as far as I can fathom, we go there for two reasons: to get wildly, lower-lip sagging, knee-walking drunk, and to give money to Hillary Clinton.

Last year, I was in New York with a promising pilot. My agent called, excited. MY AGENT (V.O.)
I-m going to a Hillary Clinton fundraiser tonight!

ME
Oh, gosh. Well. That-s very nice but I-m meeting an old friend from college for dinner and --

MY AGENT (V.O.)
I wasn-t inviting you. Do you know who gave me these tickets? David Geffen. He gave me these tickets.

ME
Then why are you telling me this?

MY AGENT (V.O.)
Are you kidding? I-m telling everybody this.

ME
But --

MY AGENT (V.O.)
Look, the reason I called is to tell you that I haven-t heard anything official yet.

ME
What have you heard?

MY AGENT (V.O.)
Nothing official.

ME
What-s the rumor?

MY AGENT (V.O.)
Don-t talk to me about rumors. Rumors are rumors. They swirl. That-s what they do. They swirl and they fly.

ME
But isn-t the rumor always true?

MY AGENT (V.O.)
Where did you hear that? Where do you pick up this nonsense?

ME
Name me one time when the rumor turned out not to be true. One time .

MY AGENT (V.O.)
Okay. That-s easy.

A long silence. MY AGENT (V.O.) (CONT-D)
What, you me an now?

ME
Yeah.

MY AGENT (V.O.)
Can it wait until I-m back in my office? I need to refer to my notes.

ME
See?

MY AGENT (V.O.)
Okay! Okay! The rumor is your show is dead, okay? Are you happy? And yes, yes, it usually -- okay, mostly -- okay, always -- turns out that the rumor is true. There. I wanted you to have a nice couple of days in New York, but you made me say it. Satisfied?

ME
But there-s still a chance, right? My agent turns instantly soothing. MY AGENT (V.O.)
Of course! Of course! Yes. Yes, there is still a chance.

ME
Really?

MY AGENT (V.O.)
Yes!

ME
Really?

MY AGENT (V.O.)
Why are you doing this to me ? CUT TO:

Because the thrill of raiding the minibar and ordering room service and gratuitously dry-cleaning my clothes at the studio-s expense has worn off, I bite the bullet and actually go to the Hillary Clinton fundraiser. My enjoyment of the event is marred somewhat by two things: one, I-m not a Hillary Clinton supporter; and two, right before she starts to speak, an executive from our network approaches me with a sad, wan smile on her face, and whispers -you-re not on the fall schedule- in my ear, and then, as the senator begins her speech, the executive adds, -probably,- and moves off.

I do not do the wise thing. The wise thing to do would be to head back to the hotel, catch the next plane home to Los Angeles, and start planning the next show. Instead, I head back to the hotel, get drunk, and send my pyjamas out to be dry-cleaned and pressed. Twice. And I had my shoes shined. And I ate the $30 Toblerone in the mini-bar. As if that would make me feel better. But you know what? It did, kinda. Good to know.

That-s it for this week. Next week, we-ll talk about Desi Arnaz.

For KCRW, this is Rob Long with Martini Shot.

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