I last saw BRANDON TARTIKOFF in June, when we met for a drink in Los Angeles. He had just come through a brutal series of chemotherapy sessions (battling a recurrence of the cancer that had first struck him when he was 23), but was eager to do what he always loved--talk about TV. Walking into the bar of the Four Seasons Hotel, he looked gaunt and thin, a baseball cap covering his bald head. It took real guts to show up at this sybaritic show-biz haunt so boldly announcing his illness. But for Tartikoff, it was a statement. Not of some...

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