One of my favorite cable shows is Showtime’s "Huff," starring Hank Azaria, Oliver Platt, Brewster Padgett (love her btw), Blythe Danner and a bunch of other, awesome actors.
Sharon Stone has joined the ensemble cast this season, playing, what else, but a sleazy, sexy PR siren named Dauri Rathbun. Stone’s character has been accused of padding her invoices and over-billing her client (shades of Fleishman’s LA debacle) and has turned to Platt’s lawyer character to defend her.
While her character’s misdeed is rooted in fact, Ms. Stone’s portrayal is yet another negative and false stereotyping of our business by Hollywood. Like Kim Cattrall’s PR persona in "Sex and the City," Stone’s character is vapid, vacuous and voracious. She’s responsible for arranging "parties" and is on a first-name basis with many celebrities.
I must be moving in the wrong circles within PR because, aside from an occasional Lizzie Grubman sighting, I haven’t come close to meeting anyone who does work like this or comports herself (himself) like the Stone/Cattrall characters.
Since we can’t control Hollywood, maybe it’s time for the industry to pony up some money and fund our own production of a reality TV show or drama series. We could have lots of fun casting the lead characters considering some of the personalities we have to choose from: Richard Edelman, Harris Diamond, Ronn Torossian and Jerry Schwartz would be my initial recommendations for the leading man role. And, I could see Julia Hood, Helen Ostrowski, Patrice Tanaka and Marina Maher vying for the Scarlett O’Hara role in my PR "docudrama." There’d be supporting roles for the likes of Harold Burson, Darryl Salerno, Larry Moskowitz and Dan Klores. Mike Lasky would, of course, be cast in the role of industry consigliore.
Regardless of who we select, I guarantee we’ll come out with a more accurate portrayal of public relations than the slop that Hollywood dishes out. I’m open to suggestions for naming the new series. How about "24×7"?
You left out your good friend, Don Middleberg. I could see him playing some sort of role in this.
It would certainly make a nice change to have our industry more accurately portrayed. Maybe Hollywood is afraid we’d be too boring?
I enjoy the fact Hollywood not only depicts PR people as a bunch of party planners, but that we’re incredibly well paid for our efforts. Besides these characters’ Minolo Blahnik shoes and Marc Jacobs outfits, I remember the West Wing episode when C.J. Craig’s character was fired as a movie publicist. She’d been getting paid somewhere in the neighborhood of $500k. You know, like most of us.
Hey, one question for you, RepMan? Who are you going to get to play the clients — good, bad and ugly?