"If you can't tell a story, you can own the television station, you can own the radio station, you can own the satellite. You'd better find somebody to tell a story or you're not going to own it for very long."
About This Interview
Michael Eisner was interviewed for three-and-a-half hours (in two sessions) in Beverly Hills, CA. He spoke about starting in broadcasting as an NBC page during college. He then chronicled his early career, culminating in his being hired by Barry Diller (then Leonard Goldberg's assistant) at ABC. He discussed his quick rise through the executive ranks, where he played an important role in the network's climb to number one in the late-1970s with such programming as ABC's Movie of the Week and Happy Days. He talked about his transition to Paramount, where he oversaw Paramount Television and many of the studio's feature film successes. He then talked about his move to Disney, where he was named Chairman and CEO. He discussed how he planned to resurrect the studio, which had been "coasting" since Walt Disney's death 17 years earlier, and how he took a hands-on role at Touchstone Television. He also discussed the Disney-ABC merger, which he felt was crucial to the success of Disney as a whole. He then recounted his decision to leave Disney in 2005 and spoke briefly about his current projects and the state of the television industry today. The two-part interview was conducted by Dan Pasternack on October 19 and 20, 2006.