First Word -- April 2003

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I love to eat. I admit, with much ease, that my face is clearly Irish, but my backside is clearly Italian (yes, I'm half Irish, half Italian). So when Senior Retail Editor Teresa Andreoli announced the launch of HBO's The Sopranos pastas, sauces, and pizzas-aptly named Artie Bucco's-I said, "Let's eat." (I'm also very much a Sopranos fan.)

But, she wasn't done with the temptations. Armed with Iron Chef's meat, chicken, and fish glazes, as well as sauces, we decided to bring both The Sopranos and Iron Chef's products to the dinner table. Yet, we needed a number of other objective parties.

Michael DeGeorgio is executive chef of Il Cortile, a famous Italian restaurant located on Mulberry Street in New York's Little Italy. Not only do I highly recommend the restaurant because of Michael's culinary artistry, he's also part of my family. (Michael's sister, Denise, is married to my brother, Frank. So, we're "in-laws.") To aid us in this taste-testing mission, Michael prepared a variety of dishes utilizing both Artie Bucco's sauces and those of Iron Chef. Needless to say, we drank, we ate . . . and we drank and ate some more. The results of our taste test at Il Cortile can be found on pp. 44-46 (not to mention on our hips).

Testing can be considered a theme this issue. As you know, our annual "Leading Licensors" feature is always much anticipated and among the most requested issues of License!. Earlier this year, The New York Times utilized our numbers (worldwide retail sales figures of licensed merchandise) for an article on some of last year's (and this year's) leading licensors, including Nickelodeon, Warner Bros., and Disney. That article sparked a change to our annual feature. What you will find in this year's "Leading Licensors" list are actual or best estimate worldwide retail sales figures. Certain verbiage has been eliminated, and a new feature has been added. The License! publishing team aims to bring you the most up-to-date, accurate information from/about our industry. Turn to p. 20 for this year's comprehensive list.

In addition, this month we bring you our first-ever Licensee Directory. In it, you will find licensees listed alphabetically by major product categories (also listed alphabetically). Phone numbers are provided. What's more, visit www.licensemag.com for more details on each of these companies, including postal address, e-mail address, Website, contact, retail target, and current licenses.

By the time this issue hits, I will have tested my stamina, as I will have returned from nearly a month-long business trip that included Australia (a visit to the Australian Broadcasting Company), France (MIPTV in Cannes), London, and Italy (Bologna Children's Book Fair). Wrap-ups of these travels can be found in both our May and June issues. Until then…reach me via e-mail or at (212) 951-6707.

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