Television programmer and producer Brandon Tartikoff is said to have divided the TV business into two kinds of people: beggars and choosers. Before he died, he also concocted a series based on that premise. It's been left to Showtime to turn it into a TV series about TV. Being about television, the show is also part drama, part comedy.
Tartikoff, the near-legendary NBC programming chief who later became a producer, used the terms to describe and distinguish people who create TV shows and those who put them on the air.
"If you want to create, you are by definition a beggar," he said. "You will have to sell your ideas to one of a small number of television executives empowered to transform your fantasy into reality. They are the choosers."
So, Saturday at 10, Showtime airs the two-hour debut of "Beggars and Choosers," a weekly series with 20 one-hour installments to follow.
Among the choosers: Brian Kerwin as the programming VP for the Luddin Global Television Network, Isabella Hofmann as his wife, Bill Morey as his boss, Keegan Tracy as the VP's daughter, Tuc Watkins as a gay network executive. The beggars: William McNamara as a super agent and Stuart Margolin as a series creator. Carol Kane plays Morey's wife.
CAPTION: Part of the "Beggars and Choosers" ensemble: Tuc Watkins, Charlotte Ross, William McNamara, Carol Kane, Bill Morey, Brian Kerwin and Isabella Hofmann.