TCA Gatekeeper Enters the Vortex

By Stedman, Alex | Variety, July 30, 2013 | Go to article overview

TCA Gatekeeper Enters the Vortex


Stedman, Alex, Variety


For Mary Shaw, liaison for cablers and press at the TV Critics Assn. tour, this is the best time of year

OVERVIEW

Mary Shaw never had aspirations to become a juggler. But twice a year, the D.C.-based exec at the Cable & Telecommunications Assn. for Marketing juggles 25 cable networks and 250 press members over three days, with the goal of creating Television Critics Assn. sessions that appear seamless.

For the summer press tour, which kicked off July 24 at the BevHilton, Shaw began planning in mid-March, working with reps from each network to deal with everything from press credentials to hotels to food and beverage. Her goal: "We make it easier for the cable networks. We take anything we can off their hands so that their publicists can be able to do their jobs and just work on whatever that program is."

PREPTIME

In March, Shaw sends out requests for proposals to the cable networks to find out which shows they plan to feature and the time they feel they need for each one. Once everything comes back by the mid-April deadline, her life becomes all TCA, all the time. While she used to be the primary contact for the press only, she's now assumed the role as liaison to the cable networks as well, making her skills as a coordinator crucial. "It's really nuts right now," Shaw said, "but I love it." One of the keys is scheduling. The org is the umbrella for 25 cablers, all of which want the right time and date. "CTAM's responsibility is to support cable, so we obviously want all of our networks to get what they'd like out of this, which is the amount of time they feel (they need) to highlight their new programs," Shaw said. Because the days are so crowded, she added, the trick is for them to condense their message.

LATE ARRIVALS

Aside from renewing credentials for all existing TCA members, Shaw has to weigh the applications of newcomers, who are frequently members of the fast-growing Internet newsies. …

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