MONDO EXTRAS

The Steve Sicherman Interview

A few years ago, Glark, Sars, and I were privileged to make the acquaintance of Steve Sicherman, of 20th Century Fox TV Studios. At that point, he had already been a TWoP fan for a couple of years; since then, he has become a real friend to the site, and to us. He and I maintain an email correspondence in the course of which we've discussed all kinds of topics related to TV, and a recent off-the-cuff remark about fan campaigns to save endangered TV shows finally made me realize he had plenty of insights about the TV business that would be of interest to TWoP readers. He was generous enough to agree to an interview...though he could not do so alone.

Wing Chun: What is your job title?

SS: Vice-President of Current Programming.

WC: ...Okay. What does that actually mean?

SS: Ah, this is the question my parents always ask. Current Programming execs deal with the shows already on the air (as opposed to those in development). Basically, you're the point person -- the day-to-day contact between the studio and the show or showrunners. Studios finance the show, and there's a pretty big infrastracture to any studio and network, with executives who focus on casting, publicity, business affairs, production management, and on and on. Current Programming's focus is largely on the creative stuff, but because everything feeds into that and since you're the producer's primary contact, it's important to have a mindset and working knowledge of all of it -- and to have good communication with the executives who specialize in those other areas, like casting or publicity or whatever.

WC: So basically, you're a suit.

SS: Yes! I guess for purposes of TWoP, you'd call me a suit. Although that's kind of a loaded term, I think. Obviously, in this capacity, you're employed by the studio, so you have a responsibility to that, and sometimes that means pushing the producers to focus on certain aspects -- creative, financial, or otherwise -- that they normally wouldn't think about. At the same time, the goal is for the show to be as successful as possible, and the relationship with producers only genuinely works when it's a two-way street. By that, I mean I'm honest with producers with input about creative matters in stories, scripts, and that sort of thing. At the same time, if the producers need something -- extra money for a particular episode, more help with promotion, maybe there's an issue with the network or an episode idea they want to push that's meeting some resistance -- I'll fight hard for them on their behalf. Obviously, it has to be something I agree with, but I have pretty good relationships with my producers, and unless there's something they're not telling me, we have a healthy dialogue and communicate pretty well about this stuff.

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The Steve Sicherman Interview

A few years ago, Glark, Sars, and I were privileged to make the acquaintance of Steve Sicherman, of 20th Century Fox TV Studios. At that point, he had already been a TWoP fan for a couple of years; since then, he has become a real friend to the site, and to us. He and I maintain an email correspondence in the course of which we've discussed all kinds of topics related to TV, and a recent off-the-cuff remark about fan campaigns to save endangered TV shows finally made me realize he had plenty of insights about the TV business that would be of interest to TWoP readers. He was generous enough to agree to an interview...though he could not do so alone.

Wing Chun: What is your job title?

SS: Vice-President of Current Programming.

WC: ...Okay. What does that actually mean?

SS: Ah, this is the question my parents always ask. Current Programming execs deal with the shows already on the air (as opposed to those in development). Basically, you're the point person -- the day-to-day contact between the studio and the show or showrunners. Studios finance the show, and there's a pretty big infrastracture to any studio and network, with executives who focus on casting, publicity, business affairs, production management, and on and on. Current Programming's focus is largely on the creative stuff, but because everything feeds into that and since you're the producer's primary contact, it's important to have a mindset and working knowledge of all of it -- and to have good communication with the executives who specialize in those other areas, like casting or publicity or whatever.

WC: So basically, you're a suit.

SS: Yes! I guess for purposes of TWoP, you'd call me a suit. Although that's kind of a loaded term, I think. Obviously, in this capacity, you're employed by the studio, so you have a responsibility to that, and sometimes that means pushing the producers to focus on certain aspects -- creative, financial, or otherwise -- that they normally wouldn't think about. At the same time, the goal is for the show to be as successful as possible, and the relationship with producers only genuinely works when it's a two-way street. By that, I mean I'm honest with producers with input about creative matters in stories, scripts, and that sort of thing. At the same time, if the producers need something -- extra money for a particular episode, more help with promotion, maybe there's an issue with the network or an episode idea they want to push that's meeting some resistance -- I'll fight hard for them on their behalf. Obviously, it has to be something I agree with, but I have pretty good relationships with my producers, and unless there's something they're not telling me, we have a healthy dialogue and communicate pretty well about this stuff.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22Next

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