When TV executives retire, they have two options: quietly disappearing from the industry or continuing to stay active by attending conferences and TV trade shows. They can either become insignificant or stay relevant. I call this latter option the "Norman Horowitz Syndrome."
Upon retirement, many entertainment executives who held top positions find it debasing to stay on the scene without the prestige of a company behind them, so in a sort of shame, they distance themselves from active participation in any role.
Talking with these former executives, the example they inevitably bring up is that of the late Norman Horowitz, a former top executive at CBS, Columbia and MGM, among others.
In retirement, when his health allowed, Norman insisted on staying relevant. How? By attending TV trade shows, by writing for various publications, by staying in contact with industry people in person and via e-mail, and attending trade organization meetings.
To some executives who held top spots, seeing Norman often walking alone along the Croisette in Cannes left a bad impression. Later, upon retiring themselves, they told me that when they were active and Norman was seen from afar, they would cross to the other side of the street in order not to bump into him, then each concluded: "I don't want to be thought by others that way!"
So, these retirees with their still vibrant energy, their intellect still sharp, with their vast knowledge, their many contacts and ... time on their side, in order to avoid the "Norman Horowitz Syndrome," they play tennis or golf in desolate fields, away from what they liked to talk about the most: working in the entertainment business. Then there is the matter of the ego trip. Well, more than a "trip," it is travel in general. Since they used to travel business or first class only, retirees are often embarrassed or just plain uncomfortable to be flying "civilian" (i.e., coach).
Usually, top-level TV executives don't retire on their own account, unless incapacitated. After all, the entertainment business is not like working for the post office, where retirement is mandatory at a certain age. To think of it, people seek employment with the post...