Patti Smith had the last session, to promote her biographical movie on POV called Patti Smith: Dream of Life. It was fascinating, as she was pretty open with the reporters about why she let filmmaker Steven Sebring into her life for eleven years, what she likes to watch on YouTube (Maria Callas for one) and all sorts of fun stuff. But I had to leave to interview another legend, Norman Lear, who was there with producer Mark Johnson to promote the documentary Playing For Change: Peace Through Music.
When we were done with the interview, Lear, Johnson, the publicists and I were about to walk our separate ways when we heard music coming from the ballroom. When we open it, we see Patti Smith playing her guitar for the critics, in the middle of her second song. So imagine me and Norman Lear, standing there, listening to Patti Smith.
One of them is All in the Family, which airs at 8 a.m. on TV Land, the network with its rack of sour tasting reality shows and shrinking share of old sitcoms and serials that is in danger of becoming the new MTV.
A week ago, one of the show's -- and all of television history's greatest -- gems found its way to my "Now Playing List." That famous episode where Sammy Davis Jr. makes the trek to 704 Hauser Street and gives Archie a big wet one on the cheek. I had not seen this show since I was a kid, back in the 80s when All in the Family reruns flooded my television, but this most recent viewing unveiled an interesting factoid that almost went unnoticed.
I have to say that this is as how that I would watch. Wrestling was very different in the 1970's than from today, made up of regional promotions rather than the single national promotion you see today (thanks to Vince McMahon for ending that). This show is a character-driven drama about a pro-wrestling family running a promotion in New York City. I wonder if they'll get any classic wrestlers making an appearance?
Having worked behind-the-scenes in a pro-wrestling promotion once upon a time, I think this premise has a lot of potential. It certainly has the correct name behind it who understands the culture of the time. With that and the fact that HBO is its home, I think we may have a winner on our hands.
This week, I got a question from Jonathan Myers that reads...
"There was a short lived television show in the late 60's or early 70's - sitcom - where the characters dressed in dog outfits. Part of me thinks it was related to Rob Reiner? Any idea what show this is?"
Well, after scouring my memory and doing a little research, I was able to dig up some info on an unsold pilot called McGurk.
Now, I intend on using every one of Carlin's "dirty words" after the jump so consider yourself warned. Be prepared to wash your computer's mouth out with soap. It may look like a saint, but it swears like sailor.
The journey to get a television show from concept to eventual broadcast is a harrowing one. You have an idea, you prepare a spec summary for the network; they review the proposal and ask for a script. You (with help from others, most likely) prepare a script to send back to the network; they review the script and ask for a filmed pilot. You blow a big was of cash to create that pilot. Through a miracle of God the show gets picked up by the network.
At this point you're probably thinking Emmy and a juicy syndication package. Everything is going your way. Well, actually, no. You see, there's one more stop on the road to getting your show onto the big picture box. One stop that producers dread, but need to make in order to ensure some sort of chance to have their show stay on the air longer than two weeks. It's the small theater with people off of the street; pencils in their hands, a survey sheet nearby. I am talking about the neighborhood market research panel.
In this case, ASI Entertainment, Hollywood's oldest and most frequently-used audience testing location. Established back in 1966, ASI gages the reaction of regular folks for any number of television pilots that make it to the precipice of network pickup. From those reactions producers of those pilots make determinations on whether or not anything should be changed or if it is good to go for broadcast.
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