Robins’s New Role: Not “Business As Usual”

By Gail Shister 

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Gail Shister
TVNewser Columnist

Call it a Round Robin.

After more than 20 years of being the media, J. Max Robins will dissect it for a living.

Robins, formerly with Variety, TV Guide and, most recently, Broadcasting & Cable, will join the Paley Center for Media April 7 as vice president and executive director of its Media Council and International Council. Even for a guy as long-winded as Mad Max, that’s a long chyron.

“There’s a certain logic to this move,” says Robins, 53, a victim of restructuring at B&C in August. “This is a community I’ve been a part of and observed for more than two decades. Now I’m working at a place that looks at the media business on a theoretical basis, as well as a practical basis. It’s a natural evolution.”

While the Center represents a “neutral, independent voice,” Robins will offer “informed opinions, where appropriate.”

The Media Council sponsors about 40 “dialogues” per year, in which industry heavyweights ponder the future of, well, the industry. About two thirds of the forums are in New York, with the remainder in L.A.

Robins moderated such an event about three years ago in L.A. Featured execs included Les Moonves; Terry Semel and Jordan Levin.

“This is important stuff; really high level conversation,” Robins says of the dialogues. Because they are mostly off the record, “it lets very senior people let their hair down and talk frankly about a lot of things.”

Cutdowns of some sessions will be posted on the Center’s website as a way to increase its digital presence, he says.

On the global side, the International Council has at least one multi-day event per year, featuring a series of keynotes and seminars. This year, there will be two: London in June and India in November. “We’re going do some very interesting work,” Robins promises. “I don’t think they brought me in for ‘business as usual.’ Stay tuned.”