Must Hear Promo Secrets & Must See TV featuring Vince Manze & Preston Beckman
Television promo and strategy greats Vince Manze and Preston Beckman masterminded Must See TV at NBC and groundbreaking FOX programming like American Idol, 24 and House. These two broadcasting giants have been tapped to roll out Discovery Plus and they’ve got stories to share about the casting of Friends, how to promote talents like Seinfeld who hate promos, the programming war that pitted Tiffany Amber Thiessen against Tiffany Amber Theissen and that time a lighting rig almost took out beloved Los Angeles weatherman Fritz Coleman. Plus Fritz and Weezy are recommending Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate, Hemmingway on PBS, The Fight of Our Lives, It All Begins With a Song, and Poldark.
Louise Palanker (00:00:00):
First, Fritz and I have recommendations you Fritz and
Fritz Coleman (00:00:05):
Welcome to Media Path. I'm Fritz Coleman.
Louise Palanker (00:00:07):
And I'm Louise Palanker.
Fritz Coleman (00:00:08):
You know, here on Media Path, we see just a few good views or reads or streams we call new content to your attention. If you like what we find, we sing you somewhere else to find something similar to hold your interest today is gonna be awesome because we're gonna talk to two guys who are responsible for some of the most successful television broadcaster. Otherwise. Vince Mansie and Preston Beckman, they've launched highly successful network shows, blocks of shows, they've marketed them on to great success like Friends and Seinfeld, and American Idol on Fox, the whole Thursday night lineup on N B C. And these shows really were just part of their amazing careers. Vince will admit that his gateway to success, the work that opened the doors for him was the Fritz said it would be like this ad campaign on Channel four in Los Angeles. A phrase that even today as I'm old and looking semi homeless, some elderly woman will yell at me across the produce aisle, advance Fritz Santa Weapon. These guys have great stories about the inner workings of network programming. We're gonna have a lot of fun, but we see what suggestions do you have for us today?
Louise Palanker (00:01:23):
All right, so I'm gonna start with a book that I read called Before We Were Yours, and it's by Lisa Wingate. The story rocks back and forth from a girl named R on a Mississippi riverboat in 1939 to a young lawyer named Avery, a present day daughter of privilege investigating a mysterious family secret. She uncovers the truth about her grandmother's entanglement with the notorious Tennessee Children's Home Society orphanage. And its decades long history of horrors against children. The story is fiction. The orphanage was real. They ripped poor children from homes and newborns, from mothers selling off the pretty ones to wealthy parents and disappearing the less desirable kids. I found the book to be riveting, and it was Publishers' Weekly's number three, longest running bestseller in 2017. Great book.
Fritz Coleman (00:02:15):
Awesome. Well, I'm gonna start with Hemingway, the Ken Burns and Lynn Novi documentary on p b s. It's a three parter, six hour pbs. It concluded last week, but if you missed it, it's streaming right now on Prime. You already know the reasons to watch this thing. It, it, it is the latest from the world's premier documentarian about America's premier writer. Hemingway changed America's writing style and changed how Americans see themselves. Many say he was the greatest writer since Mark Twain. He's written several of the great American novels. The sun also rises for whom the bell tolls the farewell to arms. He won the Nobel Prize for literature. But Wei, this is a really sad story, particularly the third act. The specter of suicide followed Hemingway all of his life because his father had committed suicide. And as much as Hemingway refused to admit it, it was almost like fate dictated that that's how he would end his own life.
This is a giant cautionary tale about the hideous nature of depression and its genetic qualities. They had seven suicides in the Hemingway family most recently as the granddaughter, Margo, who was a successful model, died of a drug overdose in 1996. Many people thought it was because she was suffering from depression. So Ernest Hemingway, the bad combination of depression and his own narcissism made him a desperate figure in his later years. But he was the great American writer, A story beautifully told by Ken Burns and Leno, and narrated by Peter Coyote, an amazing voiceover guy. I love the parts, uh, where all the American expats, like Hemingway and Gertrude Stein went to the cafes in Paris, very romantic.
Louise Palanker (00:04:00):
And you have Jeff Daniels as the voice of Hemingway, which is always,
Fritz Coleman (00:04:04):
That's always the key, whoever they get to do the voice of the guy. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and Jeff Daniels was excellent. Yeah,
Louise Palanker (00:04:11):
It's really good.
Fritz Coleman (00:04:12):
What else you
Louise Palanker (00:04:13):
Got? Um, I have a documentary on Amazon Prime called It All Begins With a song. This is a film that documents the struggles, inspirations and creative journeys of Nashville's top songwriters. We also get to see how a song can transform a life and pull folks who hear their story in a song closer together. The film is packed with talent and insight featuring Garth Brooks, Brad Paisley, Luke Bryan, Rodney Crowell, Casey Musgraves, Ben Voles, and a whole bunch more. It's really fun if you love music and songwriting.
Fritz Coleman (00:04:41):
I I saw that and I, and I loved it. And, you know, Maxville has turned into the vortex of all songwriting. Not even just country, but all songwriting in general. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and some brilliant work coming out of there. Well, my second share is another dot called The Fight of Our Lives. It's streaming on Prime. And, and this is a movie about how dangerous political correctness is. And I wanna watch something about this topic. Cause Cherry Seinfeld, which we're gonna talk about today, coincidentally, had said in recent years that he hates performing on college campuses anymore because political correctness is out of control. And coming from Seinfeld who's about as offensive as toaster waffles, that's an indictment
<laugh>. But since he said that, I've heard other performers say the same thing. In recent years, there have been news stories about people of various political views who are denied the right to speak on college campuses because a group of people happen to disagree with their theories. Ann Coulter at Berkeley. Now I have a deep existential disdain for Ann Coulter, but this is all part of the cancel culture. This movie talks about how dangerous cancel culture is in more important ways, like what courses are taught at colleges, what professors can teach, who gets hired to be a professor at a college. And it's always follow the money at a large university in the Bay Area. That is not Berkeley. They've been getting sizable donations to the university from mid eastern countries like Saudi Arabia. While there have been professors that have taught with a hint of pro-Israeli stance, and they get shut down, sometimes the course is canceled, donations are withheld. That's not the democracy the colleges are supposed to promote. That's not free thought. The movie follows the track of how that phenomenon severely slants what college students learn and how it affects their politics and worldview. It gets a little esoteric. You got pontificating college professors, but it's a great thing about cancel culture, which is a big topic of conversation right now. It's streaming on prime.
Louise Palanker (00:06:53):
Yeah, I think it's an especially interesting topic because there's these, there's these like the momentum shifts of social media that sort of tell you what your opinion is supposed to be if you're, if you consider yourself to be awake. So you may hear about a story and have a certain opinion and then go online, and then Twitter will tell you, no, you're not allowed to have that opinion. You're not the right color. And it seems like we're very quick to cancel. And a lot of these moments could be far more educational if, if a mistake were made. And instead of canceling somebody, you know, we said, all right, what could we all learn from this? What would this person have done differently if they had known differently? And I think we're missing a lot of really good educational opportunities by being too concerned with what our opinion is supposed to be, uh, lest we get canceled and including especially the big brands.
Fritz Coleman (00:07:44):
Yeah. So it's interest, and it goes against the main 10 of colleges, which is you go and you experiment, and you get a little taste of all philosophies, all religions, all political persuasions mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And they're doing away with that. Well,
Louise Palanker (00:07:56):
All right. I have a less controversial pick before you go to your, okay. Esteemed guest. And it's pollar. Are you familiar with prk? I'm,
Fritz Coleman (00:08:03):
I'm, I'm familiar with it, but I haven't seen it yet.
Louise Palanker (00:08:04):
Okay. So almost 40 years ago, Ross Pollar galloped across TV screens of millions of P b s viewers, vexing villains, and stealing hearts in one of masterpieces earliest hit series Pollar. And now our gallant hero is a stride horse again, and five seasons deep into his new ride. Aiden Turner from the Hobbit Stars is Ross Pollar, a red coat, who returns to Cornwall after the Revolutionary War to discover that his father is dead, his land is in ruin, and his true love is engaged to marry another. It is a bad day. Can Pollar change his destiny, restore his lost fortune, and reclaim his love? The series is based on the Pollar books by Winston Graham. There is so much to love in Pollar, pretty people, period. Costumes, intricate, interwoven character and story ARC's, gorgeous cinematography. And this show is, especially for you, if you like me, are into Men on Bluffs, on horseback. The show is loaded with bluff porn. So pace yourself.
Fritz Coleman (00:09:06):
You sold me
Louise Palanker (00:09:08):
Fritz Coleman (00:09:08):
I haven't seen it yet, but I, you know, all Brit all the time. Yeah. Best tv, best movies, best acting, best theater, whatever.
Louise Palanker (00:09:15):
Fritz Coleman (00:09:15):
All right, here we go. Vince Maney, my good friend for many years, recognized as one of the most creative pioneers in entertainment marketing. Best known for his 20 years as co-president and creative director at n b NBCUniversal, where he oversaw the iconic campaigns like must see TV. Thursday. He created award-winning campaigns for the Olympics, and the Apprentice for which he apologizes
Louise Palanker (00:09:42):
Fritz Coleman (00:09:42):
It was a good, he doesn't apologize for one of the most highly successful local news pro, uh, promotions. Fritz said it would be like this f for which he borrowed my name and the Fritz and Fred campaigns. Fred Rogan being the sports guy. He put Fred and I on the map. I'm telling you, the man extended our careers by 20 years and made us two of the most powerful people in broadcasting <laugh>. His most recent, uh, project, and I can't wait to hear about it, is he oversaw the launch of Discovery Plus channels. And, uh, and, and they did that on January 4th. And his partner, who I'll introduce now was part of that project as well. Preston Beckman, widely recognized as one of broadcasting's premier strategists. Vince says he's probably the smartest guy in all of television. He served as a executive vice president, strategic planning and research at Fox for 12 years, where he oversaw the scheduling and launch of many shows. He was a key member of the team that shaped Fox with shows like American Idol 24 House Empire and Master Chef. And before that he worked with Vincent NBC on musty TV and many other projects. Preston and Vince collaborated on Discovery Plus, and we're really happy to have him today. I don't know if an hour's enough time to talk to these guys. Vince,
Vince Manze (00:10:59):
Hey, Fritz, how are you bud?
Fritz Coleman (00:11:01):
I'm good to see you, my wife. Pleasure to see you, my friend. Even though well let, let's talk about your, your wildly successful local news promotion career <laugh>, which is, which is really, but that, that's where you cut your teeth and you drew the network people's attention to your talent. Talk about how that all started. Fritz said it would be like Fritz and Fred campaign.
Vince Manze (00:11:23):
It was a long time ago. We've known each other, uh, 30, 30 time, although we're very young. We've started when we were 10. The, uh, it, it was, uh, sometimes you, you have to be creative, sometimes you have to be lucky. And the timing, uh, the Fritz campaign, if you recall, we just had white type over blue background, no logo, no nothing. It just said, Fritz said it would be like this. Now, a couple of years earlier, Fritz Mandale had lost the presidency, so everyone assumed it was Fritz Mandale making a political statement and whatever. And I just said, sure, spell my name right. And Fritz, it's Fritz. Uh, so that, that kind of took off that way. And then, um, we did some really wild promos that, I don't know what we were either smoking or drinking back then, but if you recall, they were just weird. Uh, and, uh, yeah, but
Fritz Coleman (00:12:27):
They were fantastic, Beth. Those were the days. And our boss, John Warbeck, who was a mentor to both of us, the the people that ran the stations had the ability to make their own decisions about that stuff. There wasn't a big corporate super structure telling you what you couldn't do. And so you came up with these amazingly creative ideas and a story about the fritz. And the Fritz said it would be like this campaign. There was a conservative newspaper in Orange County that wrote this long, like a thousand word, uh, editorial about finally the, the, the network news people show their true liberal colors. Finally, they had the guts to do it, and Fritz said it would be just a blatant, uh, uh, um, support of Fritz Mondale. So when we read this, um, I, I signed a picture and sent it down to him, <laugh>. And I said, thank, thank you for the publicity.
Vince Manze (00:13:21):
It was, uh, and then, um, we had Fred Fred's campaign was, Fred's show it to you, if it kicks balls, whatever it does. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> Fred will show it to you. And you two guys started to take off. And one of the things about marketing, uh, that I, I pride myself on, if I don't come up with it, I recognize that this is good. So at that point, you could see this was happening, by the way, same thing with Mussy tv. You could see what was happening. And so we did the Fritz and Fred promos, um, great sports through all kinds of weather. And we, we started out, uh, with the, the basketball spot, if you remember where at the end you hit him with lightning. But I will, these
Fritz Coleman (00:14:07):
Are all on YouTube. If, if we've peaked your interest, they're all on YouTube.
Vince Manze (00:14:11):
It's so plausible. Uh, I, uh, get Preston here at some point. But we will, the, the big story is I almost killed, I have to say this, I almost killed you, if you'll remember. Um,
Fritz Coleman (00:14:23):
I remember very well, it was very trauma.
Vince Manze (00:14:24):
Yeah, sure, you do. We were outside shooting. I had a 50 K way up, and it fell and it came, he, we literally, it hit his hand and we had to, had to go to the hospital for stitches. And, and to this day, I, that's, that, that light coming down, I still wake up with a sweat. Oh. Because I'd have to call this general manager and say, Hey, the shoot went well, but I killed your weather guy
Louise Palanker (00:14:52):
Vince Manze (00:14:53):
So it just wasn't, it just, this was a nightmare. But we got through that. It was, uh, it was, it was pretty amazing.
Fritz Coleman (00:15:00):
Yeah. And the irony of those commercials, the, and we'll stop talking about me for just a minute, but, uh, the irony of those commercials was, you know, Fred was supposed to be good at sports cuz he's a sports guy, and I'm this geeky thin weatherman, but I always beat him in all the sports enterprises, which made it funny.
Louise Palanker (00:15:17):
Well, I have a question about that, Vince. In terms of the strategy, did you recognize, or was it widely recognized that you couldn't have fun with your anchor because he was gonna have to come on tomorrow and talk about some horrific, horrific event in Bosnia and it, and, but you could have fun and be, and be zany with the weather guy and the sports guy
Vince Manze (00:15:39):
Totally at, that's ab
Fritz Coleman (00:15:40):
Vince Manze (00:15:41):
100% correct. And these guys were kind of doing it on the air anyway. I mean, they were, you know, they were loose. Uh, they see they fit in together. They fit together. And yeah, you can't, you can't do it with, with your anchor people. Uh, but you, we recognize that we could do that. The, the, the downside argument was, well, they're not the main people. They're the weather and, and, and the sports, which are lesser especially, you know, I mean, Fritz has done the same weather cast for the, what, 50 years now? So, so, you know, it was a little less, it was a little less important, but for some reason it, uh, people took to it and it, uh, it became, it know, again, truth in advertising. They were already doing this. I think that's the key to advertising is yeah,
Fritz Coleman (00:16:31):
We were having fun on TV
Vince Manze (00:16:32):
By the full people, and it never works.
Fritz Coleman (00:16:34):
Plus it was different. People talked about it because it was different. Channel seven talked about it with great envy because it was different. And now differences completely legislated out.
Vince Manze (00:16:45):
I know, I know television, I know
Fritz Coleman (00:16:46):
Preston, yes. Must see TV Thursdays, uh, mm-hmm. <affirmative> one of the most successful network marketing concepts ever and must see years at N B C are probably the greatest in their history. Talk about Thursdays, why was it Thursday? How did you build, did you build off one show as a tent pole out? What was the concept there?
Preston Beckman (00:17:09):
Well, uh, Thursday night in historically, and I don't know what what's true anymore in television, but, but back then, Thursday night was the number one night for advertisers. It was the most important night for two reasons. One was the launch of Theatricals, which generally took place on Friday. And second, people would go and shop for cars. So automotives wanted to be on television on Thursday night. So the, the value of an ad on Thursday was generally larger than any other night of the week. What we were doing with muy TV was not only were we giving people big audiences, but we were giving people quality audiences. They were young, they were urban, they were upscale. It was everything that an advertiser wanted. Um, as far as, you know, as, as VI said, you know, so much, so much of what we do is luck. Uh, when I came, what, what was the first show?
What was the Yeah, I, I was just about to get, well, I guess the first show was Cheers. Uh, there was Cosby, you know, there was Cosby and, and Different world, uh, songs at Night Corp. But I, I think that Cheers was the first non-family comedy show that we put on the night. Uh, so we had Cheers, then we developed, uh, when I got there, we developed Mad About You And Mad About You is an interesting show because I don't think it was ever given the credit it deserved. In fact, we had to move, I had to move it over to Saturday night for a while cuz we didn't know what to do with it. And the ratings were so impressive on Saturday night that, uh, the following year we moved it to the Leadoff slot on Thursday. Then we had Seinfeld and, you know, so I felt, I think it was 1989 is when we saw the Seinfeld pilot.
And, um, you know, it took a while for it to find itself onto the schedule. Forget about Thursday night. It was on Wednesday night for about a year and a half. Um, and we, and then the, the, the other show was, was Night Court. Uh, those were like the, I say the original four. And then when, when, um, cheers finished, we, we added Frazier to the mix. So it was always some combination of those four shows. Now, and Vince, I think, remembers this also how Muy TV started, or the, or the name Muy tv. Every afternoon we would meet in Don Ey, who was president of the West Coast Entertainment. We would meet in his office, uh, about eight or nine of us, and we would literally share everything we were doing, talk about the business, have some fun, some days, not so much fun.
And, um, one day, uh, we were looking at the ratings. We were marveling at the ratings that we were getting on <inaudible>. And I'll take credit for, I wanna take credit from Muy td the name, but I did say, cause at that point, a B, C on Friday night has something called T G I F, thank goodness it's Friday, which was a block of family comedies, mostly Miller Boyette produced. And I remember at the meeting saying, you know, why don't, why if a b, C can label Friday night, thank goodness it's Friday. Why don't we come up a a a label for Thursday night? It was so impressive what we were doing, not only with the four comedies, but even the 10 o'clock shows were, were impressive. And Don tasked Vince to go back to, and I'll let him finish his people and come up with a, a term with a, with a hook.
Louise Palanker (00:21:07):
But can I ask for a moment, could you set the table? Because if we have younger listeners to this show, they may not recognize how important each decision was in terms of scheduling, in terms of lineup, in terms of Night of the Week, because television viewers were limited to four channels. Most of them didn't even know how to use their DVR other than to play something they rented. So everyone was watching the same content. And you were kind of a gladiator in this field where you were squared off against the guys that were scheduling and programming at the other three networks. Can you talk about that a little bit?
Preston Beckman (00:21:49):
Well, um, you know, I, I never looked at what I did as a zero sum game, which was, if I, my raise of big was at the expense of the other guys. I always, um, spent my time focusing on us, whether it was at N D C or at Fox. Um, and again, a lot of it's luck. It really, it really is luck. Uh, I think in the case of Seinfeld, um, we really didn't know what we had <laugh>. I mean, there were a lot of people even within, within the network. I remember when I moved the show to finally moved the show to Thursday, there were people in sales who literally said to me, you've killed the show. Why did I kill the show? Well, it's never gonna be as big as you think it's gonna be. And I'm, I'm honest, I don't even know how big it was gonna be, but we believed in it, and we felt that it, it earned a spot on a night where we were presenting all of these high end sort of smart comedies.
And, um, that was luck, man. About you was almost canceled <laugh>, you know, I mean, we had to, at that point, we were building up the number of date lines on our schedule, which was the newsman. We wound up with about six at some point, and I was told wasn't my choice. I was told, you need to put a date line on Wednesday night at nine o'clock. And that's where Matt about you was. So I had to find a place for it. And I moved it over to Saturday in the ra. We were, uh, I don't know if how well this is known, we almost stole married with children from Fox. Wow. Uh, and we were, uh, we were negotiating bringing it over to Fox and we were gonna put it on Thursday at eight o'clock. And that same year we had developed a show called Monty with Head Winkler.
I dunno if things remembers that one. Ironically, it was about a conservative talk show host and his family. And that was the show some people were hoping would be our Thursday eight o'clock show. It turned out to be a pretty horrible show. Ironically, Fox actually picked it up. Rupert Murdoch liked it so much, <laugh> that he picked it up and it, it failed over at Fox. And then the Marriage with Children thing fell apart, and we needed an eight o'clock show. And, um, at that point, eight to nine was still considered something of a family Hour. You, that's where you saw the family comedies. And I remember I was in the, in the scheduling room by myself and I said, what am I gonna do? And I looked at Matt about you, and I put it eight o'clock and I called up, um, our head of research, Eric Cardinal, who's a good friend. And we sat there and we stared at it. And, and we, we knew, we knew what we were doing. We knew that it was not going to be a, a, um, comfortable decision to make that there were gonna be repercussions, but we were willing to do it. And we brought everybody in. We brought Don in, probably Vince, uh, came into the room and we, we, we said, okay, here's our Thursday night. Why up? And everybody kind of went, well, okay,
Let's do it. Hey,
Fritz Coleman (00:24:53):
Hey, Vince. Talk about, uh, the idea of Seinfeld being an acquired taste at first, all the network execs, I hope I have this story right. Were judging it as being too Jewish, too urban, about nothing.
Vince Manze (00:25:08):
All, all of those. And,
Fritz Coleman (00:25:10):
And they, it ha it, it took some convincing. Right? So it was really a great success story in the end. And Sweet Victory for Jerry and Larry.
Vince Manze (00:25:20):
It, it was it for me that if you were to ask me what was the show, it was Seinfeld. That, that was, uh, you know, Preston filled in all the other blanks, but you gotta have that one show that kind of carries it before and after. And that was Seinfeld. And as he said, we, we had no idea. Although internally we loved it. We were not letting it go. We were all gonna leave if they let it go. It was on against home improvement at its peak. No kidding. Wow. Who's, who's gonna, you know, and then in those days, as Preston was alluding to, sales had such a big influence. If they didn't like something, they didn't think they could sell it, you know, instead of, Hey, this is really good, go sell it. It was, uh, Hey, no, don't, don't do it. Once we put that, moved that over to Thursday, it just, it just took off.
I think the original musty TV was, uh, was it, uh, uh, wings, was it, uh, was Wings About You? Wings? Feld, Feld and Fraiser you had for one year Yeah. In there. Yeah. And then I think it was the last year for LA Law, but Louise, as you were saying, it was all, it was literally in those days it was physical. People got home, Hey, you wanna have a meeting Thursday night now? I can't, can't Thursday night. No. Cuz I gotta watch. And it wasn't just the taping, although that was a huge part of it. People wanted, they didn't wanna miss it. They didn't want, it was water cooler television.
Fritz Coleman (00:26:54):
There was appointment television.
Vince Manze (00:26:56):
It was, and so, so people showed up. Uh, as far as the, the, how did we come up with Marc ctv, <laugh>, I think that story, uh, we, so Don and Preston, they're, they're pushing us to, and I, I wasn't a big label guy. I, I didn't really, you know, at that point. But, uh, I, I agreed. And so we had a creative meeting and, uh, we couldn't come up with anything. And it was lunchtime, we were getting hungry and somebody in the back of the room said, how about musty tv? Oh, okay, that rhymes. That's good. And we all went to lunch, <laugh> and, uh, and, uh, because it's not the name, it's what you do with it. And, and, uh, we then we embraced it. And it was part of everything we did, including a couple of things to talk about. Preston again, alluded to, uh, the fact that we went with adult shows at eight o'clock, never had been done. That was a whole maho, what is it? What do we call Mahona? A, uh, <laugh>? Ak yeah. It was a whole big thing. And then we, uh, we produced the network. We were the ones that did the, uh, squeezing of the credits and, um, and did all of that to, you know, some people liked it, some people didn't. But that was a another whole thing that anybody these days, would you ever think they would know, oh yeah, we ran the whole credits. They would never know that.
Fritz Coleman (00:28:30):
Nobody care. So they, every network tried to, and they did it demographically, but they also did it with content, wanted to have an identity. Well, N B C had an identity with their comedies. Right. So you're saying you were gonna bring over Married with Children, which doesn't seem to be one that sort of fits in with a smarter, uh, above blue collar, um, um, you know, entertainment. But I mean, were, were, were there show, did you guys sit down and say, that's just not an NBC show?
Vince Manze (00:29:04):
No, not at that. No.
Preston Beckman (00:29:06):
Vince Manze (00:29:06):
I mean, we, that point mm-hmm.
Preston Beckman (00:29:08):
<affirmative>. No, I mean, I, I, again, I, I, I think I, I wish we were smart enough to point to every decision we made and said we thought this thing through, you know, we knew exactly what we were doing. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> so much I feel of television is luck and random and just happened to make the right decision. And, um, so I never, I never took a lot of cr I never took, was full of myself. Even the move, when we decided to bust up Thursday night and move Frazier wings to Tuesday night and start a second night of muy tv, I did it, not because I felt it was the smartest thing to do, but I was literally, uh, threatened with death by some of our sales people in New York. If I came to New York for the upfronts, with the schedule that had reality television on Tuesday night, which is where we were at one point, and I just sat one, I remember it was a Friday night in the middle of the night, suddenly it came to me, let's split up Thursday, let's move Frazier and Wings over to Tuesday. Um, we had, we had, uh, show called Friends about to come on. And again, luck <laugh>, you know, we didn't know what we had. And an ER was coming on that year, then we had no idea. Uh, so we made the move and, you know, it was a little scary. And there were people I remember, um, uh, I used to, I, I knew that the way I could get done what needed to be done was to be the last person to see Don Ey before he left everywhere <laugh>. Oh. You know, did
Fritz Coleman (00:30:46):
Joe Biden of the Room
Preston Beckman (00:30:48):
<laugh>? Well, you know, and, and what I, you know, we were having this debate and, you know, it was scary. It was a scary thing to do. We, we had built in one year, we had built this night, and now you, you're telling us, you're telling me to dismantle it in one year and go Yeah. You know, well, yeah. You
Fritz Coleman (00:31:03):
Know about Wings wasn't w I don't, I don't know that this is true. I'm guessing that, uh, wings required support like Matt, about you did. Right? Not a hugely, uh, successful show Ratings wise. Am I right about that? It just required support from the network to grow it.
Preston Beckman (00:31:25):
Well, you know, back then, as, as was alluded to before, you know, if you were gonna watch television, you generally watched it live. And so then back then lead-ins mattered. And, uh, we had shows at eight 30 and nine 30 on both Thursday, comedies Thursday and Tuesday night, that left to their own would probably not have been hits. But when you, when you Sam Sandwich or hammock, these shows between two hits, they're suddenly top 10 shows. And, um, the frustration that I had in as a scheduler was we, we were, we were getting a lot of our content back then from Warner Brothers and Paramount. And in order to, so we didn't own a, a lot of the shows, it's a very different business now, in order to hold onto those shows, we oftentimes had to make deals with Warner Brothers in Paramount to put new shows of theirs in the eight 30 and nine 30 time slots.
Some of them were okay, some of them were not. But in order to hold on to a cheers, we had to, this is actually a true story. Uh, in order to renew chairs for its, I think its final season or final two seasons, we had to, uh, make a deal to pick up wings as well. Okay. Okay. When I, uh, showed up in 1991 to do the scheduling, I wanted to move Seinfeld at that point to Thursday night. I felt it should be on Thursday night, I did it. I remember I put it up on the scheduling board and it was immediately taken down. And I turned to John Alia, who was our head of Business affairs after the meeting. And I said, you know, is, is there something, I don't know, is there something going on where we're keeping wings in a time slot where we could probably launch a new show? And he went, yeah, we have to keep it on Thursday for all of the 91 92 season. And the first 13 originals of 92 93. Okay. I brought a desk with me from New York, a wooden desk. I took a knife. And in 92, 93 season, every time we air an original wings on Thursday night, I put a gash in the desk. Wow. And so, and I would count how many, and then as soon as we got to the 13th, that's when we moved Seinfeld the Thursday night. Wow.
Vince Manze (00:33:53):
Wow. Can, can you talk a little him? What's that suited him for? Uh, for abuse?
Preston Beckman (00:33:59):
Yeah. <laugh>. I literally would walk in on Friday morning and slam a knife into the desk.
Louise Palanker (00:34:05):
<laugh>. I'm sure that was very cathartic. I wanna talk about a, a lot of the brave choices that you made, for example, will and Grace. I think a lot of people are gonna be interested in the genesis of Will and Grace and its contribution to society.
Preston Beckman (00:34:20):
Well, yeah. You have to really give war Warren Littlefield credit for that, because originally, um, it was about Will and Grace, uh, I'm trying to, I think it was just two of them. And Warren added to the cast and, um, said it should really be about this group of people. Uh, we, the two things I remember was, uh, were in the pilot. You never see Jack and Karen interact ever. If you go back and watch the Blue, it's really fascinating. I went to, I had to take, it was a G Guy out, <laugh> coming out here. And I, and Warren asked me to take him to the taping of the second episode of Will and Grace. And in that episode, Jack and Karen meet for the first time, and there's about a four or five minute scene between the two of them. And it was electricity.
It was, and I walked out, I went outside, and I called up Warren and I said to Warren, Warren, I think we have a hit here, not because of Will and Grace <laugh>, but there were these two characters, and I've never seen anything like this. And, and that's what I think made, made the show. And then we had to, at, at that point now, no, but at that point it was controversial to put a show like that on the air. And we did make the decision not to put it on Thursday night, because we were concerned that at that point, not true now that advertisers might not want to be in it. And we felt we needed to convince them this was a great show. And, you know, once, once the show works, then advertisers suddenly changed their point of view. <laugh>.
Vince Manze (00:36:13):
Yeah. Wow. We're talking about 19, 19 98, 99. Uh, so 20 years ago. And, but, but as, as Preston said, it was, it was funny. I remember it being funny. I remember the first time Jack walks in with Guapo, the Bird, uh, the Feathers, he's got a cover. The Feathers are coming out. And I'm laughing. He's so, it's such such a queen. It, it was a real queen scene. And, and, and everyone's laughing and I'm thinking, oh, should we be laughing at this, this something pop? Oh shit, I don't know. But, uh, you know, people, people accepted it. It did well, but we, we had it on Monday first. Uh, let's not jump in. Let's, yeah, let's just kinda wet our toes here on Monday night.
Preston Beckman (00:36:55):
And, and, you know, we, uh, I had several conversations with the creators of it who were really angry with us for, for not putting it on Thursday night. And I just calmly say to them, guys, we're, we're, we think we're doing what's in the best interest of the show. We want this show to work, and we want this show to be on our schedule for a long time. And if we go out there and try and make a bold statement, and the advertising community says, thanks, but no thanks, um, we're, you're gonna be canceled. You know, so why don't we start on Monday? I think at some point, remove them to Tuesday and then eventually Thursday. So they, they got there. You
Louise Palanker (00:37:33):
Know, it's interesting because it, it, it, it, you kind of run parallel lines to policymakers and content creators in terms of like, moving us forward in terms of normalizing all sorts of different people that may, may be in your family and or that you may encounter, that you may work alongside. And so, do you feel like content creators pull policy y Are you guys ahead pulling policy behind you?
Preston Beckman (00:38:00):
<laugh>? I think we just, I, I, I'm not gonna speak for Vince, but I think I am <laugh>. I think we just put on the best shows and the funniest shows. And for us it's not so much, uh, oh, there happened to be two gay men in the show. They were funny people. And, um, it, it, I think it's, uh, it's a, a positive, um, effect of that. But I honestly can tell you that I don't think we stood, we sat around and said, you know, we're gonna change the world, or we're going to force people to watch something. We're gonna, we're gonna offer them a funny show where there happened to be, um, um, two gay men. And, um, if they like it, they like it. If they don't, they don't. But it shouldn't be because of them, you know? Uh, and I mean, look, I remember when we, um, there are times where there's a confluence of what's going on in the world. And, um, the shows, I remember when we saw The Freaks and Geeks Pilot, which was a phenomenal pilot, and that was around Columbine. And we had a real lot of conversations inside the building about whether we should put this show on because, because of the connection, we wound up putting it on. But, um, you know, I don't think launched
Fritz Coleman (00:39:20):
A lot of careers, though.
Preston Beckman (00:39:22):
It did. Judd, AAU included. Yeah. <laugh>. And also to this stage,
Vince Manze (00:39:27):
Ju and a lot of them became not so nice after we launched their careers. <laugh>, there
Preston Beckman (00:39:32):
We go. Jud Ato Hate, hated my guts cuz uh, because he never liked the way we, we scheduled or marketed the show. And then I went over to Fox and he had a show at Fox called Undeclared, and that also failed. So he blamed me for his failure in television. And I remember one time I responded to him in something and I said, but, but you should be thanking me for your successful movie career.
Fritz Coleman (00:39:54):
Vince Manze (00:39:55):
Well, that's a good way of looking at it. We, we also sometimes the scheduling conflicted with the marketing. I'll give you the main example of moving Friday Night Lights to Tuesday <laugh>. So <laugh> the marketing guy that was after me. That's Friday Night Lights now on, I don't know, Tuesday <laugh>.
Fritz Coleman (00:40:17):
That's a great example though. Vince Friday Night Lights was a conundrum. And so is the, the Cop show Southland, which I loved. Sometimes you can't guess why they don't work, and then somebody else takes 'em and they, you're right. Turn out to be successful
Vince Manze (00:40:33):
That you're right. Uh, uh, it, it sometimes I think we, yeah, we, we've been confused quite a few times. Again, going back to musty tv, we, we had a lot of, uh, suddenly Susan's and Boston in Common and Boston upwards and Union Square and shows. I, I, I literally worked on, I worked on, I put my blood, sweat and tears on, I can't remember them <laugh>. The, the key, I think what was touched on here and, and if I had any, any wisdom, it was casting, it was the character. Oh yeah. It was Niles on Frazier. You know, being able to recognize those things. You know, Frazier was on Cheers. Great. But you know, you add Niles a dad, the little dog, and you know, we had shows that the casting was so similar that like six months in I'm the head of marketing. We're in a, a current meeting and, and they're talking about the show. And I have to raise my hand and say, four Kings, is he king number three, or is he king number two, which one is he? You'd never asked that of Kramer. You never asked that of of, of any of the friends you, you knew they were all distinctive.
Preston Beckman (00:41:48):
Fritz Coleman (00:41:49):
<affirmative>. Yeah. Speaking of, uh, casting, uh, tell the story about Jennifer Aniston almost not being cast on friends.
Preston Beckman (00:41:56):
Oh, um, yeah. She, uh, when, um, when we put together the cast of friends, uh, Jennifer Aniston was in a six, I think it was a six episode order comedy on C B S I, I think it was called Down South. I can't remember anymore. It was, so it wasn't that good. And it didn't make the fall, the, the, uh, the schedule. But they kept it. And they didn't cancel it. They didn't dump it. And, um, they decided to put it on in the, um, summer. Uh, and they had, um, they had her in what was called first position, where if they picked up the series, she could not do friends. She had to stay on that show. So we were at a current meeting, which is when we would talk about the shows and everything. And it came up that c b s was putting the show on. And Warren Littlefield, who's my boss, turned to me and he just said, kill it.
Vince Manze (00:42:58):
Preston Beckman (00:42:59):
Yeah, <laugh>, I mean, and Warren's the nicest, sweetest guy as there's, but he just like, there's like this, you kill you, you have to kill the show. Did you use The Knife? No. Worse than a knife. I, I, we had, we had original Danielle Steel movies that were in the Can original first run, never been on. And, um, I ran two of them on the first two weeks in the summer knowing full well that, you know, we were gonna, we were gonna take a hit with them cause we couldn't charge what we normally would. But we ran two weeks of original Danielle Steel movies, um, in order to just prevent the audience from getting over there. And I think then I ran four repeats. But, um, so I killed it <laugh>. Wow. You know, and I mean, look, I've been, I've been on the other end of it.
I've been, I remember when, uh, I think, I can't remember if Vince was still at N B C when I was at Fox. Um, Jeff Zucker, great individual, uh, decided to, um, kill the oc, which we put on in the summer. And he ran an episode of Fear Factor against the premiere, which came on in August and heard it. They figured his job was done, and the next week there was no fear factor there, and the rating went up. Wow. Okay. So then the next week he put a repeat fear factor against it, and the rating stayed about the same. And then he, he didn't, and the rating went up again and we had a hit show. So, you know, it's, it's one of the games that we all, we all played in scheduling where we would, um, I remember we, we had a made for TV movie with Tiff Amber Feas, uh, on which we were putting on a Monday night.
And Fox, uh, ran an episode of Beverly Hills 9 0 210 against it, which starred Tiffany Amber Feas and our head of movies in miniseries. Linda Covin called me up and she said, we you got, you gotta convince them not to do this. I have an have an upset star. And I said, I can't call up another network and tell them how to schedule their network. I think that's against the law <laugh>. So she said, you have to do it. So I called up, um, the scheduling, the head of scheduling of Fox, and I didn't tell him what to do. I just said, I just want you to know that on hands. And he just laughed at me and I said to him, well, I just want you to know that I, one day I will have to do something about this. And, um, I did. I, uh, they, they were putting on an original series about a firehouse in the summer, and we had an episode of Backdraft, uh, not an episode of the movie Backdraft. And I ran against the premier and killed it.
Vince Manze (00:45:47):
Louise Palanker (00:45:47):
Literally fought Fire with Fire?
Vince Manze (00:45:49):
Preston Beckman (00:45:50):
That's good. I didn't even think about that. And as soon as the ratings came in, I got a call from the head of Fox, the, the scheduling I Fox, and he said, um, are you done? So he remembered. He
Vince Manze (00:46:01):
Preston Beckman (00:46:02):
And I said, one day, you know, this might be Italian in me, right Vince, you know, one day I will have to do something to retaliate. And I did
Louise Palanker (00:46:10):
Wanna hear about the horror stories. Uh, Fritz and I both want to hear about the horror stories, who's difficult to work with cuz you, in, in order to do your job, you have to deal with, with talent, and they're used to being catered to. So how do you, how do you manage that
Vince Manze (00:46:25):
From, from a marketing standpoint? Uh, the, the, the two worst, and when I say worse, uh, it was Seinfeld and Larry David was the exec there, the, the the exec producer, uh, every week, oh, no matter what I put in the promo, they would call, it's, it's, it's Jerry's on the phone.
Louise Palanker (00:46:48):
Vince Manze (00:46:49):
You blew, you ruined the entire episode. You blew that joke. I said it, it's Kramer coming through the door. <laugh>, he comes through the, he comes through the door every week,
Louise Palanker (00:47:00):
<laugh>. So, you know,
Vince Manze (00:47:02):
But I, I, you know, I I I just got, uh, you know, I stood up and I said, Hey, take that shot out <laugh> Barry Seinfeld, thank you. And then, uh, max and David, if they, if they sensed any and grace kinda, uh, anti-gay, whatever that, you know, in our, in our voiceover copy or anything, a couple times I had to hold the phone over here because they were just yelling at me that way. Uh, it, it all depended on <laugh>, how, how, how important the show was as to what I did <laugh>. So, so
Louise Palanker (00:47:38):
You're, you're talking about how they would react to how you had cut your promos and the promos
Vince Manze (00:47:41):
Ran. That's correct. That's correct. Yeah. They, they, they, Seinfeld hated Promar. He, he hated promotion marketing. It was crass. It was crude. We're a pure show. Okay. All right. <laugh>. Okay. Yeah. We'll give it to somebody else who appreciates it.
Fritz Coleman (00:47:58):
I'll tell you, I, I have a local news, uh, interpretation of that too. If our newscast at 11 o'clock ever had a freeway chase or something, who do you think's on the phone at 1136? Leno <laugh> yelling at the news director, what are you doing? You're killing my show. You're ki and it's, the monologue is the first 10 minutes, you know, so he used to go crazy if we did any, even if it was like a seven point earthquake and people's lives were in danger.
Preston Beckman (00:48:31):
<laugh>, you know,
Fritz Coleman (00:48:32):
You're eating up my show and you're calling yell at the person on the desk.
Preston Beckman (00:48:35):
<laugh>, uh, yeah. I, I dealt more with, I didn't deal with talent as much as I dealt with the executive producers mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, who would, um, and I had a, I I, I honestly, I can't re I don't think there was any executive producer that I, I dreaded quality made Dick Wolf a little bit <laugh>, you know, sounds scary. Yeah, he would, he would complain a little bit. But other than Dick Wolf, most of them were, you know, you, you, you learned how to hold their hands and explain. Uh, I re one of my favorite stories was with Mitch Herwitz and who, uh, created, uh, wrestled development. Rupert Murdoch did not like Arrested Development. Did not like it. And, um, the second year it was on, I called up Mitch and I said, you need to deliver all the episodes of Arrested by March. I need to get them on the air and done before we go into our scheduling meetings. And he said, oh, why? I said, because if that shows on the air when we go into our scheduling meetings, Rupert Murdoch is gonna cancel it. Uh, he's gonna demand that we cancel the show. And I said, if it's go gone, you know, we'll humor him. We'll, you know, we'll he'll, he'll forgotten about it and then we can put it back on the air. Um, cuz we loved it. It was kind of like, it was never successful Seinfeld, but it was again, one
Fritz Coleman (00:49:59):
Of those, but it, but it developed a huge cult following
Preston Beckman (00:50:01):
Afternoon. Yeah. It was one of those shows where, you know, we wanted to keep it on. And he said, okay, <laugh>, you know, and he, he, he delivered all the episodes and we, we, we were done with it and we brought it back for a third season. So, um, so I, you know, I found that, uh, the exec producers would generally call and complain, but if you explain to them why we were doing what we were doing, they were, and we're honest with them, they, they were. Okay.
Louise Palanker (00:50:27):
Well, let's talk about the launch of Discovery Plus and how much of your chest of tools is being implemented and how much are you having to, to learn freshly for this task?
Vince Manze (00:50:40):
I guess I'll start since I got the, uh, the call last July from, uh, another, uh, person who worked with us, uh, at N B C David Zla, who runs all of Discovery. And, uh, he asked if I could put together a small team to help him launch this thing. Uh, they, they are very, very talented people internally at, at, uh, discovery Plus, which I counted on, but they're all individual there. It's individual channels. And here we are trying to incorporate all of that into one entity. So that I say that because that's what we always did. That's what, uh, uh, Preston and I were good at. Creating events, creating, uh, something that, uh, made you say, Hey, uh, I'd like to, uh, the bottom line is you gotta, whatever you're doing, people have to say, yeah, that looks good. Uh, I'll pay five bucks for that. Yeah, that's good. So I think he knew that. And, uh, I think we also came on board without an agenda, without any, you know, there was, there was no rivalry. It was just two old guys coming on. Although we prefer the term pre-owned
Louise Palanker (00:51:56):
<laugh> Gently used.
Preston Beckman (00:51:58):
So what was
Fritz Coleman (00:51:59):
The, what was the concept? Did they give you a mandate, say, we want you, we want you to build a channel that does this? Or did you come up with the idea yourself?
Preston Beckman (00:52:06):
Oh, no, no, no. It was, they were, they, they already knew. They knew the name. Uh, they knew what they were gonna do. I think it evolved while we were there. I think if anything, we probably pushed them hard on the importance of original programming, uh, on the channel. Uh, I think we pushed them hard on that. Most people don't know all the channels that make up discovery. Uh, so there were a couple of things. We from research, from focus groups and just from being in the business forever that I think we just really emphasized. But they, they, you know, they knew they were doing it. They had an original launch date, fortunately, I think <laugh> for a lot of reasons, they pushed it back a bit. Um, but they, you know, they, they were, they, it wasn't like we, we walked in there and it was like, okay, the everything's lying around on the table, put it together. I think it was more like, okay, how do we bring this across the finish line? And what are we trying to communicate?
Vince Manze (00:53:10):
The, uh, the tagline stream, what you love was, seemed, seemed like a natural because people are very passionate about these shows on the, on the networks. Uh, and, uh, and you know, if you know anyone who watches these shows, they're, they're appointment television for a certain group of people. So, uh, our job was to, again, the good news is, uh, the Discovery is a known name. The bad news is it's known as Discovery, uh, nature Channel. So we had to convince people, uh, that it was way more than that, including, uh, T L C and Dr. Pimple Popper and, uh, and, uh, the B B C
Preston Beckman (00:53:55):
Vince Manze (00:53:56):
And Right. All those kind things. So, so we went about doing that, um, you know, in whatever clever ways we could while also emphasizing the, the fact that it was different than any of the other streamers because it's only reality programming. Oh, wow. By the way, oh wow. They hate, they hate the word reality. I don't, we, we couldn't figure any of that out. Uh, where, you know, it's like a Well, so you're the only reality show. Oh, we don't say reality. Okay. <laugh>, I
Preston Beckman (00:54:25):
Vince Manze (00:54:26):
Alright, well, well, well how do you, what do you wanna say?
Preston Beckman (00:54:29):
It was, we went wound up with Real Life or something. Real life. Remember
Vince Manze (00:54:33):
We round up
Preston Beckman (00:54:33):
Vince Manze (00:54:34):
Some reason reality programming was
Louise Palanker (00:54:38):
So rattle off some of the top, rattle off some of the top shows for us.
Preston Beckman (00:54:41):
Uh, each one fiance is huge. 90 days is huge. 90
Louise Palanker (00:54:45):
Day fiance issues. Yeah,
Preston Beckman (00:54:46):
Yeah, yeah. It's, it's also a train wreck, but it's great television. I mean, <laugh>, the one, the one negative of doing this is, uh, my wife and I are now addicted to it. Oh. And as much as we would like not to be addicted to it, once you start watching it, it's just, it's just a train wreck.
Louise Palanker (00:55:02):
Yeah. I think The Bachelor is a gateway drug to 90 day fiance,
Preston Beckman (00:55:05):
And they built, and they, they built, and what they're, they're doing quite successfully is they're building a whole world around 90 Day. You know, there's, there's so, so a lot of it's original to Discovery plus a lot of it's still on T L C, so they're creating a whole universe of 90 Day story and a bunch of characters like that. That guy you have <laugh>, you know, so they, uh, it's really, it's really, then they have the whole makeover shows. They have the two brothers, uh, and, um, you know, Donner's driving and Dives.
Louise Palanker (00:55:38):
So a lot of DIY stuff, a lot of, uh, cooking a lot,
Vince Manze (00:55:42):
Lot of cooking. Uh, they have both the cooking and the Food Channel. So, uh, you know, you got, you covered there. Uh, I am still trying to make it through one episode of Dr. Pimple Popper
Louise Palanker (00:55:52):
<laugh>. I don't, I I can't get the title of that.
Vince Manze (00:55:54):
I don't, I don't, I don't, I mean, it's like a true test of No,
Fritz Coleman (00:55:57):
It's, it's traumatizing to watch that show.
Louise Palanker (00:55:59):
Yeah. I'm, I'm not sure, uh, who's watching that, but apparently that,
Fritz Coleman (00:56:04):
Oh no, it's really, I it's
Louise Palanker (00:56:05):
Really the title must, uh, as it as it kind of repels me. It must attract others. I'm guessing
Vince Manze (00:56:12):
Guess it's, I think it's a, it's challenge. Okay. Can I get through this thing? I have a softball on my forehead. <laugh>, what are you taking out of there? What you
Louise Palanker (00:56:22):
Said, you know, like fear factor, right? You're gonna watch a guy eat Bug. Absolutely.
Vince Manze (00:56:26):
Like Fear Factor. Thank you.
Louise Palanker (00:56:27):
Can you do it?
Fritz Coleman (00:56:29):
<laugh>? What about some of the original programming guys? Are, are there any that you're excited about?
Preston Beckman (00:56:34):
Oh, well, we didn't talk about, uh, we didn't talk about the true crime.
Louise Palanker (00:56:37):
Oh, the true crime,
Preston Beckman (00:56:38):
Yes. Yeah. Actually, actually, uh, one of the major drivers of, um, of, of discovery is discovery id. And, uh, there's more and more true crime that's, um, now going becoming original to the network, uh, to the, to, I'm sorry, to the streaming service. So, um, you know, they do a lot of documentaries
Vince Manze (00:56:58):
Also Nature docs. They have a lot of, a lot of documentaries. Uh, I think if the, the, the challenge is going to be
How do they discover their mandalorian, their, uh, you know, star Trek? How do they get that big event that will drive people to Discovery plus the other, uh, the other services. You know, they can put in a big movie, a big, uh, series, whatever. Uh, it, it's, it's a little different with, uh, discovery Plus, but, uh, I think they'll find their way. They, they will do that. I, I, I had, you know, there are a couple of recommendations. Uh, uh, I know Preston and I, uh, uh, talked about seeing if they could get, um, uh, was it World Vision?
Preston Beckman (00:57:46):
Oh, um, Eurovision.
Vince Manze (00:57:47):
Eurovision, sorry. Yeah. You know, a big event like that. That's not exactly reality, but same. Why not? You know, it's, it's not scripted that that would be an event like that, that you can, you know, cuz there again, part of what they would like to do is, I think they're doing just fine here in the States. They want to really broaden it out. Uh, they have such a great footprint, uh, universal, uh, worldwide that they want to make sure that, you know, it's all covered.
Louise Palanker (00:58:18):
I think you want some kind of appointment because what, you know, what has made you guys successful is the concept of appointment television. So it, like American Idol, for example, if you don't watch it live tomorrow, people are gonna be talking about who was eliminated. So there's certain things that you just have to watch while they're happening.
Preston Beckman (00:58:36):
Well, it's a streaming service, so, um, I think it's a little, it's a little different.
Louise Palanker (00:58:41):
It's trickier, but you could still create an event where as soon as it lands, people are gonna wanna watch it.
Preston Beckman (00:58:47):
Well, I think what's happening, what you say, you see, I, I'm a big believer that everything comes back to what broadcast television was eventually. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and, you know, you're starting to see Disney especially, uh, is getting back into the once a week, uh, a drop in episode a week as opposed to dropping, well, 12 episodes at the same time, and
Louise Palanker (00:59:07):
HBO's doing that as well.
Preston Beckman (00:59:08):
Yeah. So you still, well, HBO's always done that, but you're starting to, uh, to see that the streamers are acting a bit more like the broadcasters hbo, uh, in Netflix. I think in France it's starting to, uh, create more linear channels on their service where, you know, you, you can, you just turn it on and watch. I think one of the great things about Discovery Plus that makes it distinctive is you can literally just say, I just wanna watch Diner's, drivings and Dives Hit a click and it can be your companion all day. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, or if you like pimples, <laugh>, you know, pop, you can just watch it all day. So, um, I think in some ways it's a distinctive service. Uh, but, but fin is right. You know, at some point you want something that's go, and again, it's only been around for three months. Right. <laugh>, so that is true by the way, January 4th. Yeah. Yeah. I think if you, I think a year from now, if we had this conversation, I think Discovery Plus is gonna look a lot different than it looks now. And hopefully they will found their, um, their Mandalorian. Do
Fritz Coleman (01:00:13):
You think that streaming is gonna put a permanent hurt on network primetime programming? I mean, not just because there are no commercials for the most part, but also the content is edgier and smarter and some would say better.
Preston Beckman (01:00:32):
Well, I, I mean, I think that some of, first of all, a lot of what's successful on streaming services are network shows like the Office, like Friends. Yeah. Uh, and some of the most successful shows on the, um, streaming services are very network. Like, for instance, on Netflix, there's a show called Virgin River. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, which, um, it's Providence <laugh>. Yeah. I mean, it's a show that Vincent I know very well. And yeah, I, uh, and it's, I think what, I think there's a disconnect between what is critically praised and what people like to see. So, uh, it's, it's always cool to talk about, you know, the, the more esoteric shows, but I think for most people, uh, they just want a good story. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So, um, I, I think that you see that a lot of what's successful on streaming services is what is successful on broadcasting. Um, but what streamers give you and what the DVR did is they just give you more control over, you know, when you watch these things, right?
Fritz Coleman (01:01:43):
Yeah. And they're giving you the perception that you're getting infinitely more, even though, as you say, the most successful ones are the network
Preston Beckman (01:01:50):
Shows. And you know what lest I looked is still only 24 hours to the day. No, that's
Fritz Coleman (01:01:54):
Preston Beckman (01:01:55):
Louise Palanker (01:01:56):
So, I mean, you have more options, Fritz. You have, you don't have to necessarily watch what's on tv. And if you get interested in a show, I mean, one of the factors for me used to be like, oh, I, I can't start the West Wing now. I've already missed three seasons. I wouldn't know what's going on. And now you can go back to the beginning of anything that interests you and start at the beginning and mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So those options are definitely beneficial. And just being able to, you know, for you guys to launch with this great catalog of, of shows and seasons of shows is what's gonna get people in. And how's, how's it been going for you in these past three months?
Vince Manze (01:02:33):
Oh, uh, they're, they're doing really well. They're, they're doing really well. I think they started with, uh, within a couple of months, 11 million, whatever the subs were. Um, uh, it, it was a way beyond what they had anticipated, uh, quite honestly, I don't know what the recent number is, but they, everybody seemed really happy, uh, there. And, um, and
Fritz Coleman (01:02:57):
You ought a thumb through what they have to email@example.com.
Vince Manze (01:03:01):
What, what is the next phase that's gonna be the most, the the most crucial, what is the next, next phase of, of either marketing or programming that they, uh, they do? How do they expand it out? Uh, I think they've got a lot of, uh, decisions to make because, uh, again, you can go through everything rather quickly and, uh, you're gonna need some original material in there. Yeah. So, and they're, they are doing it, but it's not b it's always they do, uh, new series primarily. And it's smart in the beginning to that are, that are based on other series. So, again, like Preston said, 90 day single guy, uh, you know, uh, the, the Magnolia Network, uh, with, uh, with Chip and Joe and, uh, you know, so you'd know them, but it's not quite the same, but a little different. But you know, they have elements that, uh, that, you know,
Louise Palanker (01:03:57):
Vince Manze (01:03:58):
Fritz Coleman (01:03:59):
Check out what they firstname.lastname@example.org. They're offering a free seven day trial, more content that you could ever possibly stream. It's not reality television. I want you to know that right up front. It suggests real situations, is what they're trying to say.
Vince Manze (01:04:16):
Is that what they said?
Fritz Coleman (01:04:16):
No, I, I just made that
Vince Manze (01:04:18):
Louise Palanker (01:04:19):
Ritz is gonna be your spokes model. He's got
Vince Manze (01:04:21):
It. That's all. It's a long for a marketing, uh, slogan. I just wanted you to know, that's all. Just long. I know
Louise Palanker (01:04:27):
That's, well, is there anything El el before we wrap things up, guys, is there anything else we should know about it? Or people should know where they can get it, where they can watch?
Preston Beckman (01:04:34):
If you're a Verizon subscriber, um, it comes along, you can get it for free for a year. Uh, it's, it's one of the, the, the more reasonably priced streaming services. And I do believe that there's gonna be a shakeout in, in the world of streaming. I mean, there's so many of 'em. Oh my gosh, right now. And I, I believe that, um, what, what I found exciting about working on this project was I think that they really are an alternative to all the other, the Paramount pluses, the, the peacocks, all those that they, they have a very, they're gonna be in it for long haul. Mm-hmm.
Fritz Coleman (01:05:12):
<affirmative>. I do you guys find it interesting that, uh, Matt, about you found this afterlife on Spectrum tv. They did a couple of seasons over there.
Vince Manze (01:05:21):
That's right. That's right. That's right. Uh, you no, uh, you know, content now. Everybody fantastic wants content. Everybody one needs content. The, the, the, the better, the more there are, the more content they need. Right, right. Yeah. It's, it's an ever-growing beast, as they say. Uh, uh, just, uh, it, it was a, just to end with, it was a nice project for the two of us. Yeah. Just to see, to work together again and to, uh, to know that you can still do it, you know, uh, he'll do it a couple more times.
Louise Palanker (01:05:52):
Absolutely. Hey, I,
Fritz Coleman (01:05:54):
I wanna thank Vince Mansie and Preston Beckman. I wanna thank Vince for my career, <laugh> the way, the way I look at it. He helped put my daughter through college and God bless you, my friend
Louise Palanker (01:06:04):
<laugh>. All right. Here come your credits. We would love for you to join us online on Instagram and Twitter, where we are at Media Path Pod, and on Facebook where we are. Media Path Podcast. You can find full episodes with all kinds of bonus visual content on our YouTube channel Media Path podcast. We would love to know what media you've been enjoying. You can contact us at our social media or email us at media path podcast gmail.com. We wanna thank our guests, Vince Maney and Preston Beckman. Our team includes Dean of Fried and Francesco Demond, John Maddox, Sharon Beo, bill Filippi Act, Thomas Hubble and you. Our theme music is by me and John Madox. I am Lanker here with Fritz Coleman, and we'll see you along the media.