Archive for the ‘Special Events’ Category

2012 TV Summit: Despite the Platforms, Audiences Matter

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

It’s no secret that people now have multiple platforms on which to consume media. From phones and tablets, to Roku and gaming consoles, the once-dominant TV set/broadcast audience is now splintered more than ever. What still remains elusive is how to effectively program for and market these platforms … while also winning audiences, turning a profit, remaining socially responsible, and building a brand. There are no easy answers to these questions, but as witnessed at the March 20, 2012 TV Summit, a daylong series of discussions and panels presented by The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation and Variety, business models are changing in the face of the current media landscape.

Some highlights/take-aways from the day:

1. Research still matters

Knowing who your key audience is and what their habits are remain crucial to driving viewership. TV Guide’s Christy Tanner revealed findings touting the benefits of interactive online forums: social media,’s programming Wishlists, and online check-ins have all proved enormously fruitful for the company. Hearing friends discuss TV shows on social media often compels a person to tune in, and 27% of TV Guide’s sample will watch live television specifically to avoid social media spoilers. Doing due diligence in order to discover ways to give viewers a sense of connection to shows and to other fans prove to be important factors in a successful campaign.

Audience testing is still pertinent, too. Although notes from audience testing can at times be frustrating, Parks and Recreation showrunner Mike Schur believes you can’t completely ignore them. Testing gives you direct feedback from the people who will watch your show. Parks and Rec and The Office (which Schur wrote for) didn’t test particularly well – The Office came across as “too gloomy” – but comments from viewers helped Office showrunner Greg Daniels make decisions that likely extended the life of the program. Daniels stayed true to the show’s dreary British roots, but ended each episode on an upswing, hoping that audiences would be drawn to Pam, Jim, and Michael and stick with the show.

2. Showrunners lament outdated methods and embrace creative freedom and new outlets

Though ratings continue to be critical metrics, Parks and Recreation’s Schur questioned the importance that’s still placed on overnight ratings. “We live by tenths of ratings points,” and the overnights don’t accurately reflect the web, mobile, and time-shifting audience that consumes media. Panelists in the Showrunners SuperSession also discussed the pros and cons of broadcast, basic, and pay cable networks, with Dallas‘ Cynthia Cidre stating that she’d often have two-hour meetings with CBS (she wrote for Cane), and now has five-minute meetings with TNT. Person of Interest’s Jonah Nolan extolled the virtues of online tools, seeing websites as a welcome home for content that gets cut from episodes.

3. Original web programming is on the rise and has distinct benefits over traditional broadcast programming

Original content for the web was a key topic of the day, with the upcoming “new fronts” serving as a discussion point. Digital programming will have an upfront season, just as television does, which Erin McPherson, VP & Head of Yahoo! Originals and Video Programming, sees as a cohesive way to sell content. Original digital programming allows for flexibility in program length, a quicker development period than broadcast, and a chance for those who have traditionally been aggregators (Yahoo!, Google) to create content of their own.

4. Social media provides opportunities to engage viewers and distribute more varied content

Panelist Scott Reich of VEVO praised using social media as a means to market content – a sentiment echoed in almost all of the day’s panels, but particularly in those addressing original programming and engagement. Suburgatory showrunner Emily Kapnek is a relative newbie to Twitter, but admitted that she’s now somewhat addicted to reading tweets about the show as it’s airing. If she encounters negative feedback, she has to fight the urge to have her husband tweet back and defend the show. USA’s Jessie Redniss lauded social platforms as a way to expand storytelling and diversify a network’s portfolio of syndication ports, while Trevor Doerksen of Mobovivo believes that social can satisfy what he sees as the fundamentals of engagement: 1. people crave communication 2. people crave information, and 3. kids want to play games. Social and second screens can fulfill each of these desires.

5. Keynote Presentation: Content is King

The industry may be at the very beginning of understanding how to effectively utilize social media and other platforms, but many at the Summit agreed that content is still king. Keynote speakers Dana Walden and Gary Newman, Co-Chairmen of Twentieth Century Fox Television, discussed how they endorse projects that make them excited creatively, and hire writers whose enthusiasm for shows becomes contagious. Walden believes “big bold ideas move well between distribution platforms,” and ideally wants an audience “to become a community.” She and Newman cited Arrested Development’s return (a revolutionary show with a dedicated fan base) via Netflix, a deal which came about by Netflix approaching CAA and pitching to distribute content that people feel they “have to have.” Netflix was referred to throughout the day as a frenemy – not necessarily as a competitor that could take the place of a network, but as a place that can extend the life of a program beyond broadcast or syndication.

6. It’s possible, but not always easy, to make content that matters

Thanks to fragmentation and a plethora of platforms, content can be tailored for niche groups. Socially responsible projects that may not traditionally be thought of as ratings successes will now often get developed, and may even become fan favorites.

In the panel showcasing the power of advocacy and social messages on TV, JD Roth, Executive Producer of The Biggest Loser, explained how he had to fight to get the weight-loss program on the air. A show about tackling obesity, a rather taboo subject eight years ago, was an extremely difficult sell. But Roth believes real stories of struggle that people can identify with strike a chord, and “the best TV shows are ones that show someone getting a piece of their lives back that they lost.” Alice Cahn of Cartoon Network expressed a similar sentiment, describing how moved network execs were by her pitch of the “Stop Bullying” campaign. People relate to heartfelt stories of suffering, and well-crafted, authentic TV shows and campaigns can have a positive impact on the real world.

Though the issues addressed at the Summit weren’t solved in one day, they were effectively parsed and prodded. Roth summed up his sentiments on socially responsible television by reminding us that “kids won’t listen to a word you say, but they watch everything you do.” It will be interesting to see what the landscape looks like when those kids are running the 2032 TV Summit.

- by Adrienne Faillace

Click here to watch the Archive of American Television interview clip reels shown at the 2012 TV Summit.

2012 TV Hall of Fame Gala: A Night of Glamour and Giggles

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

As the social media guru for the Archive of American Television, I was honored to attend last night’s 21st Annual Television Hall of Fame Gala at the Beverly Hills Hotel on behalf of the Archive. As a television history scholar and a huge fan of pretty much all things TV, I was blown away by the sheer amount of talent present in the ballroom. Honorees from the beginning of television, to those running today’s top programs were in attendance, bringing some of the best in the business together under one roof for a truly memorable evening.

Performers Vivian Vance and Bill Frawley, executive Michael Eisner, show creator/producer Chuck Lorre, executive producers Mary-Ellis Bunim and Jonathan Murray, host Mario Kreutzberger (aka Don Francisco), and lighting director Bill Klages became the newest inductees into the Television Academy’s Hall of Fame. Honoree Sherman Hemsley was unable to attend the ceremony and will be inducted at a later date.

Some highlights of the evening:

* Being on the red carpet and seeing “Caroline Appleby” herself walk by, the still-glamorous Doris Singleton, on-hand to honor I Love Lucy co-star, Vivian Vance.

* Honoree Jonathan Murray sharing the secret of his success: “I surround myself with strong women.” He spoke lovingly about production partner and fellow inductee, Mary-Ellis Bunim, who passed away in 2004 and was inducted posthumously at last night’s ceremony. Bunim’s daughter, Juliana, accepted the honor on behalf of her mother.

* Lighting designer Bill Klages’ stories of shows on which he’s worked and performers whom he’s lit – Milton Berle always wanted to be able to see the audience, Dick Clark often thinks the audience is too bright, Marlo Thomas told him in his lighting she looks beautiful, and Barbra Streisand once simply said to him, “this is the worst lighting ever.”

* Univision President Cesar Conde presenting to Mario Kreutzberger: “Kreutzberger is the first Hispanic since Desi Arnaz to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.”

* Barry and Stan Livingston of My Three Sons telling tales of co-star William Frawley: it used to be Stan’s job to get Frawley back to the studio and keep him awake after Frawley enjoyed several cocktails at lunch.

* Warner Brothers Executive Peter Roth imparting the knowledge that Chuck Lorre has created/co-created six hit sitcoms, the most since Norman Lear and Garry Marshall.

* Marshall himself welcoming friend Michael Eisner into the Hall of Fame, joking that he wouldn’t be where he is today without two people: God, and Michael Eisner, and sometimes it’s easy to mistake one for the other.

* Being in a room with host Jon Cryer. As a child of the ’80s, Cryer will always be “Duckie” from Pretty in Pink to me, and to anyone from my generation. He’s fantastic as “Alan Harper” on Two and a Half Men, but I secretly hoped he would channel “Duckie” and suddenly break out into Otis Redding’s “Try a Little Tenderness” at any moment.

Thanks to last night’s program, I now know that Chuck Lorre is “a giggler” according to the cast members of his shows, and they consider Lorre’s laugh to be the gold star they hope to receive after shooting a scene; Happy Days‘ “Fonz” was originally going to have the last name Masciarelli (Garry Marshall’s real last name) and be shortened to “Mash”, but since M*A*S*H was on the air at the time and two TV Mashes might be confusing, the name was changed to Fonzarelli; and the script for Pretty Woman was originally called 3000. The things you learn at the TV Hall of Fame ceremony. I may be out of grad school now, but hearing television and film tidbits from the masters themselves is a pretty great continuing education course. has footage of last night’s event – check out the red carpet arrivals:

And watch the presenter tributes and inductee acceptance speeches to see what your favorite moments of the evening are. My advice: keep an eye out for a special message from James Burrows for a particularly great line that got a lengthy laugh. With all the comedy talent present last night, don’t be surprised if you find yourself laughing as if you’re watching your favorite TV shows: a lot of the people responsible for them were in the room, doing what they do best – bringing smiles to hundreds of faces.

- by Adrienne Faillace

2012 Television Academy Hall of Fame

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

Two and a Half Men star and Emmy winner Jon Cryer will host tonight’s 21st Annual Television Hall of Fame Gala at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Performers Vivian Vance and Bill Frawley, executive Michael Eisner, show creator-producer Chuck Lorre, executive producers Mary-Ellis Bunim and Jonathan Murray, host Mario Kreutzberger (aka Don Francisco), and lighting director Bill Klages will become the newest inductees into the Television Academy’s Hall of Fame.

Presenters at tonight’s ceremony include: Gail Berman presenting to Mary-Ellis Bunim & Jonathan Murray, Garry Marshall presenting to Michael Eisner, Sofia Vergara presenting to Mario Kreutzberger, Walter Miller presenting to Bill Klages, Peter Roth presenting to Chuck Lorre, Doris Singleton presenting to Vivian Vance, and Barry & Stan Livingston presenting to William Frawley. Mary-Ellis Bunim, Vivian Vance and William Frawley will be inducted posthumously.

The Archive of American Television has conducted interviews with several of the new honorees, and with many of their colleagues. Below enjoy selections from Archive interviews with or touting this year’s Hall of Fame inductees:

Congratulations to all of the honorees!

More from our Featured Story on the 21st Annual Hall of Fame Inductees.

“The Garner Files” – Straight-Shooter James Garner Publishes his Memoir

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

According to early reviews, Archive Interviewee James Garner doesn’t hold back in his new memoir, The Garner Files. Television’s “Maverick” and star of The Rockford Files takes a keen look back at his personal life and career in this autobiography, co-authored by Jon Winokur. Garner shares childhood experiences, production tales of TV series on which he’s worked, and even critiques every movie he’s ever made. Some of his own reviews are far from kind. Of 1966’s Mr. Buddwing Garner states, “Zero stars. (‘Worst picture I ever made. What were they thinking? What was I thinking?’)”.

Fellow archive interviewee Julie Andrews penned the book’s introduction, and interviewee David Chase, who got his start in television on The Rockford Files, provides anecdotes of working with Garner.

Garner is both a successful film and television star, and the title of his memoir offers a nod to one of the TV shows for which he’s best known. In the following excerpt from Garner’s 3-hour Archive interview, he discusses the intense physical demands of shooting that popular detective program, The Rockford Files:

The Garner Files (Simon & Schuster), out today, is now available for purchase.

Watch James Garner’s full Archive interview here:

Toasting a Legend: The Television Academy Presents “An Evening Honoring Carl Reiner”

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

Congratulations to Carl Reiner, who will be honored by The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in North Hollywood this evening! Panelists paying tribute to the television legend include Mel Brooks, Jon Cryer, Ann Morgan Guilbert, Bonnie Hunt, Rose Marie, Larry Matthews, Bill Persky, Rob Reiner, Paul Reiser, Eva Marie Saint, Garry Shandling, and Dick Van Dyke. The event is sold out, but you can watch the live webcast at 7:30pm PST at

Reiner’s career in television began in the 1940s with appearances on The Fashion Story and The Fifty-fourth Street Review, and continues today with a recurring role on Hot in Cleveland. He’s won multiple Emmys, and in his Archive Interview, Reiner shares a fun fact about how his then-rules for wearing his toupee complicated his first Emmy win for The Dick Van Dyke Show:

“I didn’t wear my hair because if I had worn my hair and sat in the audience, it would be suggesting that I think I’m gonna win. I remember saying, ’should I put my hair on?’ Because my rule of thumb is if it’s national … local shows I never wore it. If I went on an interview show I never wore my hair during the day … If it’s a national show, I’ll wear it. But I decided that night, I said, ‘honey, if I put my rug on, people are gonna think I think I’m gonna win.’ So I said, ‘I’m gonna not wear it. If I win, I’ll go up there.’

In his acceptance speech, Reiner earned a huge laugh with the line, “If I’d known I was going to win, I would have worn my hair.”

He’s a winner with or without the toupee in our book.

Watch below for more memorable moments from Reiner’s career:

On creating The 2000 Year Old Man with Mel Brooks:

On working with Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca:

On winning his first Emmy:

On working with the writers of The Dick Van Dyke Show:

Watch Carl Reiner’s Full interview online:

You Can Own The Fonz’s Motorcycle!

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

Arthur Fonzarelli’s motorcycle is up for sale!  The famous bike will be sold on November 12 by Bonhams at their annual Classic California Sale at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. The late Bud Ekins owned the motorcycle, a 1949 Triumph Trophy TR5 Scrambler that he customized for use on Happy Days by removing the fender, spray painting the tank silver, and replacing the handle bars. The bike is expected to sell for between $60,000 and $80,000.

Tom Bosley (Howard Cunningham), Happy Days creator Garry Marshall, and The Fonz himself, Henry Winkler, spoke of Fonzie’s motorcycle in their Archive Interviews. Did you know Henry Winkler couldn’t actually ride the motorcycle?

Learn more about Happy Days by visiting our show page:

Backstage and red carpet interviews from the Emmys are now online!

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

The Archive was on the red carpet at the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards and backstage during the show.

A full playlist of the red carpet interviews is online, and some excerpts below. Thanks to Pop Culture Passionistas for shooting and editing these interviews!

Martin Scorsese (Winner, Outstanding Direction for a Drama Series) discusses why he wanted to shoot Boardwalk Empire like a film:

Melissa McCarthy (Winner, Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series) discusses the appeal of her show, Mike and Molly:

Jim Parsons on his surprise Emmy win for Big Bang Theory (Winner, Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series):

Ty Burrell and Julie Bowen (Winners, Outstanding Supporting Actor/Actress in a Comedy Series) discuss their Emmy wins for Modern Family:

Producer Nigel Lythgoe talks about why he believes in his shows American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance:

Paula Abdul on being inspired by Gene Kelly as a young girl:

Matthew Weiner (Winner, for Oustanding Drama Series for Mad Men) talks about what he watches on TV:

And the Emmy nomination goes to…

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

The 2011 Primetime Emmy Award season began today with the official nomination announcement at 8:30 AM EST. Congratulations to all the nominees for the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards!

The Archive of American Television would also like to congratulate our interviewees who were nominated this year:

Dan Castellaneta for Outstanding Voice-Over performance (As “Homer Simpson”)
David Crane for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series (Episodes)
Robert Dickinson (multiple nominations for lighting design)
Linda Ellerbee for Outstanding Children’s Nonfiction (Nick News with Linda Ellerbee: Under the Influence: Kids of Alcoholics)
Michael J. Fox for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series (“Louis Cannin” on The Good Wife)
Louis J. Horvitz for Outstanding Directing for a a Variety, Music, or Comedy Special (53rd Grammy Awards)
Susan Lacy for Outstanding Nonfiction Series (American Masters)
Cloris Leachman for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series (as “Maw Maw” on Raising Hope)
Christopher Lloyd for Outstanding Comedy Series (co-creator of Modern Family)
Hector Ramirez (multiple nominations as camera operator)
Don Mischer for Outstanding Directing for a a Variety, Music, or Comedy Special (83rd Academy Awards)
Paul Shaffer for Outstanding Music Composition for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special (2011 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductions Ceremony)
Tim Van Patten for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series (Game of Thrones)
Matthew Weiner for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series (Mad Men)
Betty White for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (as “Elka Ostrosky” on Hot in Cleveland)

The full list of nominees can be found here.

The Creative Arts Emmys will be held on September 10. The Primetime Emmys Telecast will be on September 18 on FOX.

Recap: The TV Academy Celebrates Women in Comedy

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

(l-r): Margaret Cho, Caroline Rhea, Bonnie Hunt, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Carol Leifer, Elayne Boosler & Lily Tomlin (PictureGroup)

Recently, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences hosted “Ladies Who Make Us Laugh”, an event devoted to women in comedy hosted at the Academy’s Leonard H. Goldenson Theatre. Guests included comedians Bonnie Hunt, Margaret Cho, Caroline Rhea, Carole Leifer, Elayne Boosler, Lily Tomlin and Mary Lynn Rajskub.

The Pop Culture Passionistas were on the red carpet for the Archive of American Television to find out more about these extraordinary performers. Here’s a playlist featuring those interviews:

Watch the entire An Evening with the Ladies Who Make Us Laugh panel discussion here:

2011 UCLA Festival of Preservation

Friday, March 11th, 2011

UCLA FIlm & Television Archive is presenting its annual festival celebrating restored classics from film and television.
In addition to their film selections, UCLA will present three episodes of Ralph Edwards’ This is Your Life (March 13), two television musical specials starring Gene Kelly (March 26), and Play of the Week: “Waiting for Godot” starring Burgess Meredith and Zero Mostel (March 13).
For more information and the complete schedule, visit UCLA’s website at