Jetblue folk hero electrifies news media, ad firms
By Georg Szalai
NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - Last week, nobody knew Steve Slater.
Now, office water coolers, Twitter feeds, Facebook and chat rooms are buzzing with expressions of support and the question: What's next for the flight attendant who quit his JetBlue job in such memorable fashion that some have called him an instant American hero?
Heroic or not, the story of Slater's confrontation with a misbehaving passenger has swept through Madison Avenue and Hollywood in addition to Main Street.
Slater's story has the most immediate effect on TV news organizations, with broadcast networks and CNN among outlets trying to book him for interviews. A media scrum followed Slater's brief jail stay. "Good Morning America" producers jumped into the same car as Slater, but he made them get out.
An ABC News spokeswoman said Wednesday that the producers had done nothing unusual and simply were chasing the story as their peers were.
"It's a very competitive story, and everybody wants to hear from him directly about what happened," said David Friedman, executive producer of CBS' "The Early Show."
Friedman's bookers staked out the jail, Slater's house and his lawyer's office -- but not necessarily with the aim of nailing an exclusive interview.
"All I care about is that we have him on our show," he said. Continued...