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Adventures in a TV Nation

by

Adventures in a TV Nation Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Chapter One

Who Let This Show on the Air?It is true that the best things that happen to you happen when you least expect them. Or, in our case, when we actively try to avoid them.
In 1989, a low-budget documentary we made, Roger & Me, a film about what General Motors did to our hometown of Flint, Michigan, became a huge success. It was a complete surprise. The film was shot over a three-year period in whatever spare time we had with what little money we had. Our intent was to finish it, hop in a van, and drive around the country showing it in union halls, community centers, and church groups. We silk-screened some T-shirts and took them to sell at our first film festival so we could afford the trip back home. Instead, our film was bought by Warner Bros., and eventually shown in nearly two thousand theaters.
After Roger & Me, the head of Warner Bros. television asked to meet with us about ideas for creating a television series. We thought, "TV? Who wants to do TV?" We wanted to make movies! The meeting never took place.
Our next feature-length film was a long time coming. Michael had written Canadian Bacon in the summer of 1991, but Warner Bros. passed on it. So did every other studio. The screenplay for Canadian Bacon was a farcical takeoff on the Gulf War. It was deemed "too political" by most of the executives who read it. Michael made numerous trips to L.A. to pitch the movie in one unsuccessful meeting after another.
It was on one of those visits to Hollywood, in November of 1992, when one morning Michael found himself in his hotel room raiding the minibar and watching The Price Is Right. The phone rang with a call from a network executive at NBC.
"We justwanted to say we really liked Roger & Me and we were wondering if you had any ideas for a television show."
"Uh, sure!" Michael replied, not having a single TV idea in his head.
"Great! We'd like to set up a meeting with you and our president of entertainment, Warren Littlefield. How does this afternoon look?"
"Uh, let me check." Mike fumbled around, trying to find the remote control to turn down the volume on the television set. "Yeah, this afternoon looks open."
"Good, we'll see you at four."
Panic set in. We had no ideas for a TV show and even if we did, we didn't want to do one. We wanted to make Canadian Bacon.
On the half-hour drive to Burbank that afternoon, Michael cranked up the heavy metal and we talked on the car phone trying to think up something for the meeting. It was then, with the car radio blasting out Metallica, that we came up with the idea of TV Nation. It would be a humorous magazine show but with one distinct difference--it would have a point of view. It would stand for something, instead of pretending to play it down the middle of the road, as most other newsmagazine shows do. It would side with working people against corporations.
Who would advertise on such a show? No one, we thought! We figured that the meeting should be over in a matter of minutes. Mike seemed relieved knowing that no network, let alone NBC, would ever pick up TV Nation.
Upon arriving at NBC, Mike was told that the meeting was in the commissary. A good sign, Mike thought. Very low-key. He was greeted by his agent as well as an executive from TriStar Television, Eric Tannenbaum. Eric offered to join Mike upstairs and present TriStar as the studio for the potential TVshow. After all the formalities, Eric asked, "By the way, what is your idea for a TV show?" Mike pitched the idea for TV Nation.
"I thought you were going to come up with a blue-collar Northern Exposure," Mike's agent lamented. "They are not going to like this idea."
"I like it," Tannenbaum countered. "It's funny and it's different."
Mike was concerned that Tannenbaum approved of the concept. But he reassured himself with, "What does Tannenbaum know? He doesn't run a network! He's just a nice guy with a good sense of humor from a studio. Not to worry."
The three of them went upstairs to see the NBC president. In the room with Warren Littlefield were various vice-presidents of development and programming. After polite introductions they sat down and Mike began to describe the show.
"It would be a cross between 60 Minutes and Fidel Castro on laughing gas."
The suits sat up in their chairs, interested.
"The show would be the most liberal thing ever seen on TV. In fact, it would go beyond 'liberals' because liberals are a bunch of wimps and haven't gotten us anything. This show would go boldly where no one has gone before."
All smiles in the room. "Tell us more!"
"The correspondents would look like shit. I mean, they'd look as if they were either on their way to Betty Ford or had just spent a year working at Taco Bell--or both."
"In other words," one of the junior executives chimed in, "a real show, by real people, for real people."
Excited executive smiles all around again. What was happening here? Didn't they realize that we didn't want to be on television, that these ideas would all spell suicide for the network?
Obviously not.
Mike had no choicebut to go for the kill.
"Each week we'll pick one of our advertisers and go after them like a barracuda. They won't know what hit them. Then we'll go after organized religion, starting with our fellow Catholics. I've got one idea where I'll go to confession in twenty different churches and confess the same exact sin to see who gives out the harshest penances. We'll run the results and call it 'A Consumers Guide to the Confessional.'"

Synopsis:

Based on an American television show, of the same name, it brims with Michael Moore's special brand of subversive humour that melds outright silliness with poignant realisation.

From the oh-so-obvious Serial Killer Next Door who's ignored by his neighbours— to Mike enjoying some quality time with Dr. Kevorkian — to raising money for Charles Keating, this is a compilation of classic TV Nation that'll make you laugh and think at the same time.

This book is a must read for anyone and everyone.

Synopsis:

The "New York Times" bestselling author of "Downsize This!" shares behind-the-scenes stories from his wildly popular, critically acclaimed, Emmy Award-winning television series, "TV Nation". 150 photos & graphics.

About the Author

Michael Moore's first book, Downsize This!, was a New York Times bestseller in both hardcover and paperback. The award-winning director of the groundbreaking documentary Roger & Me, which became the largest grossing nonfiction film of all time, Moore is the creator and host of the Emmy-winning series TV Nation and The Awful Truth. Also the coauthor (with Kathleen Glynn) of Adventures In A TV Nation, he lives in New York City.

Kathleen Glynn is the Emmy Award-wining producer of TV Nation, co-producer of Canadian Bacon, and producer of The Big One.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780060988098
Author:
Moore, Michael
Author:
Glynn, Kathleen
Publisher:
Harper Perennial
Location:
New York :
Subject:
General
Subject:
Social life and customs
Subject:
American wit and humor
Subject:
Popular Culture
Subject:
Topic - Political
Subject:
Television - History & Criticism
Subject:
Humor
Subject:
TV nation
Subject:
Popular Culture - General
Subject:
Essays
Subject:
Film and Television-Media Studies
Edition Number:
1st ed.
Edition Description:
Trade PB
Publication Date:
19981031
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Yes
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
9.21x6.16x.69 in. .82 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Film and Television » Media Studies
Arts and Entertainment » Film and Television » TV Programs
Arts and Entertainment » Humor » Anthologies
Arts and Entertainment » Humor » Political
History and Social Science » Sociology » General

Adventures in a TV Nation Used Trade Paper
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Product details 256 pages Harper Perennial - English 9780060988098 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Based on an American television show, of the same name, it brims with Michael Moore's special brand of subversive humour that melds outright silliness with poignant realisation.

From the oh-so-obvious Serial Killer Next Door who's ignored by his neighbours— to Mike enjoying some quality time with Dr. Kevorkian — to raising money for Charles Keating, this is a compilation of classic TV Nation that'll make you laugh and think at the same time.

This book is a must read for anyone and everyone.

"Synopsis" by , The "New York Times" bestselling author of "Downsize This!" shares behind-the-scenes stories from his wildly popular, critically acclaimed, Emmy Award-winning television series, "TV Nation". 150 photos & graphics.

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