Watch Now: What’s Happening in Hollywood? Jack Myers Behind-the-Scenes ZOOM

Conversations with the Community
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Doug Robinson, Executive Producer of ABC's The Goldbergs and Schooled, joined Jack Myers Tuesday May 12 at 1PM ET for a Jack Myers Leadership Conversation focused on a Hollywood insider's perspective on the state of TV production, streamers, career opportunities, writers, agents, studios, networks, relationships, and advertising.

The biggest question that affects my business is production. That is the number one conversation that everybody is having, which is when and how do you take 150 people to make a show and keep everyone safe and healthy. How and when you start production is first and foremost in everyone's mind. Everybody's bullish on the fact that at least at some point this year we will be shooting shows.

I think the look of network programming may change a little bit. I think you may see them shift towards reality programming. I think you may see a shift away from scripted programming on the network side. I think there'll be another round of innovation. Another round of trying [new things] and then the shift will go back to scripted programming when money starts to flow. But I think you'll see people try to take innovative shots at doing something a little bit different.

We've seen these cycles before, whether it's been strike induced or just trends. You know there was a trend years ago towards newsmagazines when 20/20 was successful and then Dateline. You saw a trend in daytime programming because of the OJ Simpson trial. So there have always been these trends, but it always comes back to scripted programming. There may be a period where people say we're going to try our newsmagazines, we're going to do a little bit more reality. And genres have a place in our business because some of them are great storytelling. But the imitators don't last. The innovators tend to stay around. And then what happens? You go back to great storytellers you go back to scripted programming. So there may be a hiccup here where the trend shifts a little bit the other way. And I found that over time the trend starts to shift back to how can we tell great stories.

I think you'll see a push into animation, possibly even primetime animation, taking a shot again.

Agents build relationships. Agents build bridges, agents put their clients up for jobs. And maybe I'm a little biased in the fact that I was one. I can tell you firsthand, as a producer and as an agent, never once did I have somebody call me and have me try to hire one of their writers and not try to get somebody a better deal. Whether it was a package or not a package.

So much of all of our businesses are relationship-based businesses. The reason that I can succeed in what I'm doing is because of the relationships that I have with actors, writers, directors, agents, to sell my projects and put my products together and get material and find people to execute the material that I bring to them. I think it's hard for outsiders to break into our business. A lot of people have come and failed. There's always somebody with new money that wants to rub elbows with stars and a lot of them go home with their tail between their legs. And then you have people like Jeff Bezos who seems to have done it very successfully or Reed Hastings who seems to have done it very successfully, but they've done it on a much more global scale and by becoming distribution entities rather than funding individual projects, which for everyone is a crap shoot. That's why companies like Sony and Lionsgate and Warner Bros have years of infrastructure built that they can sustain the failures and wait for the hits.

One question I have for advertisers is what are their needs in this environment? What are they looking for in this ever changing landscape where it's harder to land a large audience? Is it just scale? Is it more targeted spots? How effective are they in terms of finding influencers and what are their needs as it pertains to content?

Our business has done a great job of starting to correct some historical mistakes. There's a consciousness now that has permeated our business about inclusion in all areas of our business. It will only make us stronger and better if we include more people with more points of view to enhance the stories we tell.

I feel really badly for the seniors in college because I think they're walking into a world where the job market is going to shrink for a year or two until this gets figured out and the economy can start to expand and, and I think that that's a really tough place to be right now. Eight weeks ago, the world was full of promise and hope and opportunity. I think those opportunities have really shrunk for those people and may not rebound for a little while. I think that that consolidation is going to be felt throughout our business We're all going to have to learn how to do more with less.

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