The last time that I saw Bernard Chevry, who died on Friday, May 17 in his Paris home, was in 2013, when Reed MIDEM honored him for the 50th anniversary of MIP-TV, the market that he created. We hadn't seen each other in 26 years--not since he sold MIP-TV and left the scene--yet Chevry was courteous to me. It wasn't always like that.
I first met Chevry at MIP-TV in 1979 when I served as International Editor of Television/ RadioAge. But years later, in 1983, when my VideoAge Daily at NATPE ran an ad for the Monte Carlo TV Market, Chevry was so upset that he tried to ban me from MIP.
And I wasn't Chevry's only target. Recalled the late Norman Horowitz: "It was in 1971 that I attended my first MIP-TV while at Screen Gems. To call the exhibition space at 'the old Palais' inadequate would be an understatement. To compensate for that we rented a salon at our hotel (the Carlton) and imported a Sony player and cassettes of all of our pilots for all of our 'important screenings.'"
All was well, Horowitz said, "until we were asked to see the market director general Bernard Chevry. He said that he was happy that we rented space at the Palais, but that many were complaining that we were taking people away from the market to the hotel. We explained that the screening space at the Palais was horrid and he offered us his space for the next market, which we happily accepted. Everything was fine until Bernard said to us as we were leaving: 'And just in case you change your minds about what we had agreed, I'll have you banned from the city and make it impossible to obtain hotel rooms.'"
Horowitz noted that he and his colleagues had had a "history of being threatened by our clients, but none of us had ever been threatened by a supplier. We stayed out of the market until, as I recall, 1979. While it was lovely coming to Cannes, Bernard was not going to mess with us."
The unpronounceable "Marche International des Programmes de Television," mercifully abbreviated...