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When Your Boss Is a Terrorist. Or a Crime-Fighting Cartoon Teen

This season, the bad guy on 24 is named after a top Fox network exec. And he’s not the first secret shout-out to an industry power player.

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THE CHARACTER
Ivan Erwich, the Russian-separatist terrorist and weaponized-nerve-gas aficionado currently vexing Jack Bauer on Fox’s 24.

IS A REFERENCE TO
Craig Erwich, Fox Broadcasting’s current executive vice-president of programming.

HOMAGE OR DIS?
Homage. “It was a way of honoring Craig,” says 24 show runner Howard Gordon. “It’s more interesting to have a bad guy named after you. It’s far more fun to get beaten up by Jack Bauer than to be someone who hands him a file.”

RELATED SHOUT-OUT
This isn’t the first time Erwich has been “honored” in this way: He also lent his name to the Erwich Institute, a mental-health hospital on Melrose Place.


THE CHARACTER
Lloyd Braun, George Costanza’s nemesis on a few episodes of Seinfeld.

IS A REFERENCE TO
Lloyd Braun, the entertainment chairman at ABC from 2002 to 2004, who now heads the media and entertainment arm of Yahoo.com.

HOMAGE OR DIS?
Homage—sort of. Braun, who was the lawyer for Seinfeld co-creator Larry David, volunteered his name after losing a bet to David made during a golf game.

RELATED SHOUT-OUT
Seinfeld was rich with inside-jokey character names, including “Crazy Joe Davola,” named for NBC executive Joe Davola.



THE CHARACTER
Ari Gold, the conniving, expletive-happy agent on HBO’s Entourage.

IS A REFERENCE TO
Ari Emanuel, head of Hollywood agency Endeavour, executive producer Mark Wahlberg’s agent—and the former agent of Jeremy Piven, who plays Gold on the show.

HOMAGE OR DIS?
Dis-ish. Emanuel and Piven disagree on who fired whom, and Wahlberg’s said of Emanuel, “We’re on-again, off-again.” The agent, though, is reportedly tickled by the show’s nod, even using Gold’s catchphrase, “Hug it out, bitch!”

RELATED SHOUT-OUT
The character was originally named Ari Jacobs—a combination of Emanuel and Jeff Jacobs, creator Doug Ellin’s agent. But as the character got more sinister, Ellin dropped the reference to Jacobs and renamed him Gold.


THE CHARACTER
Fred, the blond, clean-cut leader of the gang of meddling teens on CBS’s Scooby Doo.

IS A REFERENCE TO
Fred Silverman, who had a legendary run as programming head at ABC and, later, a less-successful tenure at NBC.

HOMAGE OR DIS?
Homage. Silverman presented the idea for a mystery cartoon to animators William Hanna and Joseph Barbera while he was the head of CBS’s children’s programming. The main character was named Fred as a thank-you.

RELATED SHOUT-OUT
Silverman’s replacement at NBC, Brandon Tartikoff, received a similar canine-themed honor when he lent his name to Brandon, the dog belonging to Punky Brewster—a character named for Tartikoff’s childhood crush.


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