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Letter from New York
Mathew Tombers is Managing Director of Intermat, Inc., ( a television company which executive produces programs and consults with industry companies on a variety of issues. Intermat, Inc. is currently involved in approximately thirty hours of television in various stages for a variety of networks. He is one of the Executive Producers of OFF TO WAR, a ten hour series for Discovery Times and for a one hour on international adoptions for Discovery Health. He has consulted a variety of companies, including Ted Turner Documentaries, WETA, Betelgeuse Productions, and Creation Films, Lou Reda Productions as well as many others.

May 19, 2008

This past week's Babylon Revisited ­ a nod to F. Scott Fitzgerald's short story's

It is a Sunday night and I am in Los Angeles, a city I have lived in twice in my life and have never been far from once I arrived on its shores, coming here in my twenties, an exile from cold Minnesota, leaving one life behind and seeking a new one ahead. It was a wonderful and wonderfully terrifying time in my life ­ I had no idea whether I would be able to make a go of it or not; I did, it turned out. Sixteen years ago I moved from L.A. to D.C., then to Oregon and from Oregon back to L.A. for a couple of years, then to New York. I keep coming back, just as I went to New York time and time again when I lived elsewhere. However, it has been a full year since I was last in Los Angeles. Because it has been so long since I was last here, I have been more
reflective and more immersed in the experience, working to be aware of the beat of the city, savoring and observing the changes since first I came here. For example, a meeting at TV Guide Channel took me deep into Hollywood. There was no TV Guide Channel when I moved here; cable was in its birthing period.

Hollywood reminded me then of nothing so much as the seedy part of Paris known as Pigalle. Today, it is still seedy on the edges but at the center there are great amounts of construction going on, buildings being knocked down and replaced by gleaming new structures. Tony restaurants opening where there were only joints before and joints are going upscale with valet parking. Intermixed with this new building are still some of the same places with their peeling paint and shady characters behind the counter. All in all, though, it is an area being born again, gentrified.

It all caused me to feel a little nostalgic for the old Hollywood ­ this is "better" and it underlines the time that has passed. Dinner with friends from the Television Academy caused me to both celebrate my time involved there and caused me to miss the place. Dinner with my friends Jeffrey and Joyce with their younger daughter reminded me that I had known them before they were married, causing me to be glad that we were still in touch. A night in Palm Springs with other old friends was a delight and reminded me of another, younger time when I relaxed there with my friend Richard Easthouse, now dead twelve years, from AIDS, close to the time of the cocktail that changed lives but not close enough. I have made my living from cable television and from the new technologies. I actually love the new technologies; that's what fascinated me about cable ­ it was a new technology; a new era in the television world. The Internet is that today ­ the new technology which is changing everything; just the way cable changed everything. I LOVE being part of what is changing everything. I loved it in 1984 and I love it today ­ I love being part of what is coming as opposed to what has been.

It is what gives me "juice" today. I know it is all changing ­ media is changing today more wildly than it was changing in the early 1980's. The media world is being recreated and becoming portable. At lunch with John Shafner, CEO of the Television Academy, the time was partially consumed by a conversation on the changing media habits of generations and the phenomenon that is GRAND THEFT AUTO IV.

We talked of the Academy and his efforts to get "the industry" more engaged with the Academy, after all: they are us. It's a good goal and I applaud John for his efforts. This is not a time for Ivory Towers; it is a time to explore, reach for the stars or, as I said last week: what¹s a heaven for?