Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Changing Landscapes of Television....


Unless you've been hiding within the confines of an old cathode-ray tube (that's a non-flat screen TV), for the last ten years or so, you have seen your viewing choices undergo a rare scientific occurrence. The number of accessible channels as exploded into hundreds, while the types of programming have imploded into one form of another of news, procedural drama, or reality. OK, especially reality! From racing around the world, choosing a spouse in eight weeks, fishing with your fingers, and being arrested for drinking in public while wearing half a woman's ballet leotard, to eating bugs in the dark, erecting an oil well, gold miners, coal miners,driving on ice, or chopping down a tree, your local TV magazine is bloated with mostly debasing, loathsome, and gross, reality programming.

If you've read this blog before, you are aware of the fact that we have been working for several years to bring the one type of reality show to the viewing public. It is a show that tells the real story of the fire-rescue service. Yet, as excited as the networks are, to air the type of shows alluded to in the above paragraph, they are just as adamantly opposed to airing any show that deals with the fire-rescue service.

Numerous programs highlight, police, lifeguards, pilots, boat captains, etc. Yet, not a single one has or does focus on the brave men and women who protect every single member, not only of the viewing audience, but of the producers and network execs, themselves! Just imagine, if you will, if but one of those execs has a true emergency, places a call to 9-1-1, and there is a delay in response by their local emergency agency. Now then, I could guaranty you, that a "reality" program would soon follow. Recently announced by NBC-Universal (a division of Comcast) is the "green light" for Dick Wolf's new show, "Chicago Fire." However, before you get your hopes up, Wolf, who is the creator of such cop hits as, "Law & Order" and "Law & Order: SVU," has created a procedural drama about the Chicago Fire Department. If it turns out to be anything like previous dramatic attempts such as, "Rescue Me," (Fox) and "Third Watch," (oops, NBC, again!), the rank and file will quickly lose interest in trumped up storylines and incongruous TV situations.

Until most recently, I too, had lost interest in our show. This was the second time we had worked so hard to bring this type of show to broadcast. Yet, I felt there had to be something I was missing. Some aspect that I could use to alter the show somewhat, without losing its identity. And several weeks ago, I came up with the concept. Instead of trying to sell a weekly show, what about writing a six-hour documentary? It would have a two-hour premier, followed by five nights (subsequent or weekly) of one-hour each. Long enough to cover the material, short enough to maintain interest, ratings, and financial backing. So, I re-wrote the treatment to change the title and reflect the new ideas and subject behind the program. But where should I go with it now? There are not a lot of networks that air non-salacious reality documentaries. Thanks to a friend of mine, I may have finally found a friendly ear.

This gentleman is a well-known and well-experienced documentary filmmaker. Coincidentally, he is currently working one a program to mark the upcoming eleventh anniversary of the 9-11 tragedy. My friend told him about our project in scant detail, but it was enough to pique his interest and that news was enough to pique mine. Though he and I haven't spoken yet, as of Monday, he advised my friend that he is anxious to speak with me about the concept and see where it leads.

No, there are no contracts, promises or guaranties...yet! However, at least, some is willing to listen...finally.