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Marv's "retirement" speech deserves an asterisk

By Alan Pergament

This is what I'm thinking:

The announcement by David Letterman last week that he plans to retire in a year or so reminded me that former former Buffalo Bills Coach Marv Levy's famous line "if you're thinking of retiring you are already retired" deserves an asterisk or a qualifier.

The words "unless you can milk it" should be added.

Letterman joins a long line of recent iconic entertainment figures who announced they are retiring a year or more before they actually do.

The list includes Barbara Walters, Oprah Winfrey, Jay Leno and New York Yankee Derek Jeter (who really is in the entertainment business).

I've almost forgotten that Walters announced a year ago that she was retiring this summer.

The early retirement announcements mean the celebrities get some love twice -- first when they announce they are retiring and then when they actually do. For the last few days, most critics have written about Letterman's legacy. They will do it again in a year when he actually retires.

The announcements also allow the stars' employers to milk every dollar they can out of them by reminding audiences and fans that they only have so many days to enjoy their talents.

In Letterman's case, "The Late Show" might be able to reduce the viewer exodus in favor of younger Jimmy Fallon on NBC and Jimmy Kimmel on ABC by promoting the fact that we only have so many more weeks to enjoy Dave do his thing.

If on any given night you are considering watching Dave or one of the Jimmys, a viewer might just decide to watch Dave because he is near the end of the line.

The pitch certainly should work in Western New York, which is one of the few areas where Letterman viewership is on the rise anyway.

It turns out that the HGTV series that will be filming on Buffalo's West Side shortly and continue into the summer that sounds like the popular "Rehab Addict" isn't "Rehab Addict" after all. According to a source, the series being shot here is rehabbing a home on 19th Street but it is a new series. I'm still hearing that local activist Bernice Radle -- who was on the Super Bowl Sunday chicken wing piece on "CBS This Morning" -- is involved in the HGTV series.

The new Mike Judge comedy that premiered Sunday night on HBO, "Silicon Valley," looks like a winner. It dryly documents the insanity of making young programming geeks willing to take risks on their own brilliant ideas instant millionaires or suicidal. It could also make the stars of the series -- which doesn't have any big names -- instant celebrities. The brilliance and craziness in the technology arena are perfect subjects for Judge, who is best known for "Beavis and Butthead" and "King of the Hill."       

Finally, I know a lot of people had trouble initially finding the NCAA semifinals Saturday night that were carried by the three Turner networks -- TNT, TBS and truTV. That is a potential problem tonight for CBS, which is carrying the title game between Kentucky and the University of Connecticut. Generally, the audience for title games increases when the semifinals have a bigger audience and having them on cable instead of broadcast TV reduces the potential audience slightly.

Why were the semifinals on Turner?

Of course, it is about money. CBS felt it could no longer afford the rights fee for March Madness alone.  Turner and all cable networks get more revenue from the combination of advertiser and cable subscriber fees. The broadcast networks and their affiliates only recently started getting subscriber fees.

The semifinals were on the Turner channels for the same reason that Monday Night Football moved from ABC to ESPN years ago: The big cable channels get more money on subscriber fees and can afford high sports programming fees because of it.

In 2016, TBS will be carrying both the men's national semifinals and the championship game on an alternating basis with CBS. 


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About Talkin' TV

Alan Pergament

Alan Pergament

Alan Pergament has continued to blog about television topics since retiring in 2010 as The News' television writer after 28 years on the beat. From local on-air personalities to ratings to the latest on network and cable programming, he keeps you informed.

@StillTalkinTV |