The Story Meeting

Journal Excerpt - July 27, 1979.

I can do this job. In fact, I'm surprised how easy it is. The show is usually booked about a week to 10 days in advance with a couple of holes left open for breaking stories. There are SO many agents, p.r. people. B-grade movie stars, etc desperate to get on Morningside that booking the show is a matter of what NOT to put on.

Al Waxman called me an "asshole" today because I wouldn't book his wife on the show to flack her cook-book. Her agent must have given him my name because about an hour after I'd said "no" the phone rang and it was one pissed off King of Kensington looking to give me shit. I can't wait to tell mum...she loves his show.

The story meetings are pretty loose ...8 chase producers, two senior producers, the Exec, and sometimes the host...sitting around a table rooting through the Star and the NYT looking for ideas, or pitching a p.r. package which has crossed their desks. Me ?? I GOT here by having ideas. I don't need flacks.

Here's what I pitched today -:

- 13 guys stuck in an elevator in Chicago. Turns out they were ALL professional comedians. Sounds like a Don Harron type interview to me -- he loved it.

- and then I noticed in the weekend Star a story about a guy whose last name was soooooo long Bell Canada refused to put it in the phone book. Bingo. Two for two.

But I've been brought here as the "regional" guy from Calgary -- to do politics and farming and oil industry stuff. Harron hates that ... wants me to help him do schtick. Hmmm

Harron and I get along quite well. He's a nice gentle guy. Gzowski is around too..but he's pretty bitchy. I helped him carry a box of books down to his car yesterday and it was bitch, bitch, bitch. Told me he owes Rev Canada 47-THOUSAND dollars.

Holy shit.


Monday, September 24th, 2007.

What a night last night was, eh ? Discovery becomes the Mars channel. PBS - the Ken Burns channel. CTV didn't run much to protect its Discovery franchise. CBC ?? What DID the Corp run last night ???

Me ?? I watched the season opener of Family Guy. But I caught the Burns "World War Two" saga later. Little Kenny must put some serious coin in his pocket. He won't get it from PBS because their licence fees are small-to-non existent.

I had a doc series on PBS a few years ago and they paid -- NADA...not a dime...they said the US exposure was where the real value lay. Sadly I didn't have the money to create any sort of profile in the US. And that's what you need if you're on PBS -- a well funded marketting campaign.

But Ken Burns will make a bundle on after-market sales.

Books, DvDs, a sound track (noticed wynton marsalis did the music - bet there's a good story in there as to how and why that deal was struck).

I find the whole Burns-genre of docs boring. Real intellectual milk-and-cookies for middle America. But I'm sure they're good business. Easy to produce. Even easier to finance. Most of the expenses are in the acquiring of rights to the archives although I'll bet he's not paying market rates. Last year I licenced some WW 2 Battle-of-Italy stuff for a doc I was working on at a cost of roughly 50 dollars A SECOND for a restricted rights deal.

But I shouldn't trash "The War" too much...after all today I'm writing a pitch about -- OBESE PETS. Yes, indeed.

I call it Fat 'n Furry. I wonder what Ken Burns is doing ?

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