Spielberg & Company's dreams are putting the critics to sleep TURNED ON IN L.A.

January 13, 1995|By David Zurawik | David Zurawik,Sun Television Critic

The Hollywood press corps has been calling Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen the Dream Team since the three announced their partnership in October to form a new entertainment company.

Two-thirds of the team, Katzenberg and Spielberg, met with critics in Los Angeles yesterday supposedly to explain what their company would mean to the TV industry. But instead of details, all they had was recycled talk of the "dreams" that led to their partnership.

How much of a non-news-event was the standing-room-only press conference? Katzenberg announced that the trio had come up with a name for their company, but that they couldn't tell anyone in the room what it was. The announcement would be made in advertisements in this morning's trade press publications, such as the Hollywood Reporter and Daily Variety. Is that show biz or what?

Not that knowing the name of their company would mean as much in the real world as it would in the fantasy land of a Hollywood media lunch. Still, why call a press conference to say you have news, then say you can't share it?

The press conference was called by ABC, which went into business in November with the trio to start a television studio. The studio will produce programs for ABC and other network and cable operations.

The only concrete development on that front is a deal with Gary David Goldberg to produce two TV series -- one for CBS and one for ABC. Goldberg produced "Family Ties" and "Brooklyn Bridge." "But we really don't want to discuss specifics of those projects," Katzenberg said, adding that it would be four or more years before the public would be seeing the fruits of their television and films operations.

Spielberg said his dream is for their company to make movies, television shows and records in "an atmosphere where everything is not bureaucracy and committee, where the decisions are made by artists."

He said he hoped to build a company that would nurture "new performers like Claire Danes [of "My So-Called Life"] . . . as well as established producers like Gary David Goldberg."

The trio plans to build its own studio, with Spielberg designing it.

"I work best in a residential setting," Spielberg said. "So the studio will be more like a college campus than a factory, with grass and benches where people can eat lunch and work on their laptops under a tree if they want."

And, presumably, apples will fall from the tree, hit writers on the head and they will come up with great ideas for television series, if not new laws of physics.

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