Yesterday's discussion of failed pilots led blog reader Todd Everett mentioning the Preview House on Sunset Blvd. where pilots used to be audience tested. I know it well. In 1974 during one of my many out-of-work periods as a disc jockey, I worked in the research department of NBC. This was during pilot season. I got to see the process firsthand... and cause a major shitstorm that rose to the level of network president. More about that in a minute.
Now the major incident I caused.
One night during this testing period NBC aired a MOW called “A Case of Rape” starring Elizabeth Montgomery. It got huge numbers. So as a goof I wrote an internal memo to the research department recommending NBC do this as a weekly series. Hey, I was a kid.
Well, somehow the memo got out and was released to all department heads including the President of the network, Marvin Antonowsky. He was known as the “Mad Programmer”. Probably that incident is how he got his name. Marvin went bat shit. I was summoned to his office to make a formal apology. Wisely, I did not take that opportunity to drop off my spec script.
My tenure at NBC ended a couple of weeks later when I got a disc jockey job in Detroit. And that ended my venture into the corporate world. But who knows? If I didn’t make that faux pas maybe I would have risen up through the ranks. After 40 years I bet I'd be Vice President of Children’s Programming today.