KAANAPALI, Hawaii — The NBC love feast for representatives of its 207 affiliate station representatives was barely under way here Monday morning when soon-to-depart Chairman Grant Tinker delivered major news: Brandon Tartikoff, Tinker's chief lieutenant in fashioning the network's No. 1 ratings success, will be staying with NBC.
"NBC and Brandon Tartikoff have worked out a multiyear arrangement to keep Brandon doing the job he's doing," Tinker told the 1,200 gathered at the Maui Hyatt Regency at the start of the three days of meetings here.
That news was as much music to the broadcasters' ears as the familiar NBC chime they heard repeatedly during a video recap of NBC's 60-year history or the greeting President Reagan delivered via videotape. Reagan said that "for 60 years, NBC has been a positive force in American society."
As recently as last week, Tartikoff, president of NBC Entertainment, 37, was rumored to be in high-level meetings with Columbia Pictures about taking over the reins of that film-TV studio.
"After considerable soul-searching, I realized the most gratifying job for me was the one I already had," Tartikoff, said.
Business decisions aside, this is a triple-play celebration, with normally business-suited executives running around in shorts and sandals.
In addition to NBC's 60th anniversary, this has been "The Championship Season" for the peacock network, as the video stated to deafening applause. Too, as Tinker noted, Monday was the day that the merger between NBC parent company RCA and General Electric became effective.
RCA Chairman Thornton Bradshaw noted that the change of hands is not as big a change, historically speaking, as some might think. The NBC chime is made up of the notes G-E-C--standing for General Electric Corp., Bradshaw said. Sixty years ago, he added, RCA was controlled by General Electric, and the boards of both companies shared a chairman, Owen D. Young.
Tinker and Bradshaw assured the affiliates that GE Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John F. Welch Jr. would continue the same positive relationship with the network as had Bradshaw and RCA.
Welch, in fact, had approved the new Tartikoff deal, Tinker said. That announcement ended months of speculation that Tartikoff, the one-time whiz-kid programmer who became president of NBC Entertainment in 1981, would be leaving the company at the end of next season.