Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Carnival Center CEO fired! Replaced with wunderkind Wilker

Michael Hardy finally got the axe yesterday, something we've been urging since May 22nd. He will be replaced by legendary performing arts center savior Lawrence J. Wilker, once head of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC. Wilker is noted for creating award shows for the center that could be sold to TV earning JFK millions of dollars over the years. The center's Mark Twain Prize for American Humor and the PBS series Kennedy Center Presents are two examples. Much of his success came from producing musicals-- something we've been told more than once is something Miami won't support.

Wilker will share a 6-month interim contract with Scott Shiller who will act as executive VP until they or others are permanently hired.

From what we can gather from the press conference, Wilker doesn't sound any different than Hardy. Both talk about "divirsity and inclusiveness" as part of their approach to making the Carnival Center work. Wilker adds he wants to make everyone feel comfortable and welcome at the Center.We guess Hardy didn't believe in those concepts enough to make them work. One thing that still remains a mystery, why wasn't Hardy fired before last month's 42 percent pay raise? That would have saved everyone a whole lot of money.

We suspect Wilker may come out of the gate running with some sort of TV broadcast deal to be held at the Carnival Center. In the end, it will be interesting to see what he comes up with. All we can say is good luck to both of you guys, because you're going to need it.

Vince McMahon, who was restrained by two huge wrestlers from his WWE conglomerate, took umbrage for not being given enough time to develop his slate of programs for Carnival. "Mark my words," he yelled as he was escorted out of the Carnival Center offices, "you'll be back begging for my help! No one knows Miami better than me! No one knows the US better than me!"

Regarding Mr. Hardy, don't feel sorry for him. He will retain a severance equal to one year's salary. Thanks to that controversial pay hike, he'll be looking at an easy $326,255 for doing nothing. Reports suggest Mr. Hardy will be taking remedial math courses at the downtown Wolfson campus during his time between jobs.

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