How We Almost Had a TV Show, Part 1: “The Comment”

The following is Part 1 of a five part story about how Don and I almost landed a TV show on Discovery. It’s a long tale (sometimes the good ones are) so I’ve broken it into a few “chapters.” I’ll be posting an installment each day until the story is complete.  Enjoy!

Part 1: The Comment
You might’ve heard the news that the Discovery Channel will be airing a new beer show called “Brew Masters” this January, starring Dogfish Head’s Sam Calagione.  This should come as great news to folks like us who evangelize the virtues of craft beer. It’s a sign that the beverages we adore are truly coming into their own in American culture.

But while it’s good news for craft beer, it’s bad news for Don and I.  You see, we were up for that show.  We thought we had it in the bag.  All the planets were aligning.  Then *poof!* it was gone.  

Others might not want to bring up the fact that they were left at the altar, but Don and I try to be an open book, and we’re ready to share our story.

It started with a comment on the “About the Brothers” page:

“Greetings Don and Jim! I’m a television and documentary producer that would be interested to talk regarding a drink related project. I look forward to hearing from you both! Cheers – Matt”

It took us roughly 30 seconds to respond to Matt.  It turned out that he’s a concept development guy for a production company that has launched a string of successful cable TV shows – shows you’ve heard of and probably watch.  They were the real deal.

They had strong interest from Discovery for an intelligent and fun drink-related show.  Think Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations meets Michael Jackson’s Beer Hunter and you’re close. The show was all but sold and they were looking for hosts. Matt found our blog and thought we should get a shot.  It would be an understatement  to say we were a little pumped.

Little did I know that I'd soon be climbing into the brew kettle at Victory.

We saw ourselves traveling the world, meeting cool and crazy people, sampling the local spirits, finding out how they’re made and generally horsing around.  We saw ourselves having AK47 competitions in Uzbekistan, chasing bourbon barrels from Kentucky to Scotland and back to brewers in America, and hosting a party of college kids and senior citizens as they sampled Pliny the Elder and Pliny the Younger.  Maybe even a toga party, who knows?

Don and I are so different, so there’d be lots of chances to explore his flannel-wearing way of life and expose my metro-sexual tendencies while exploring the world of booze.  There’d be arguments, drunken bonding, lopsided contests, lots of good- natured ribbing and the occasional explosion.  Sort of like what happens here, minus the explosions and firearms.

Our minds reeled at the possibilities, but first we had to get through the audition…

Click here for Part 2: The Road to Victory

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32 Comments on “How We Almost Had a TV Show, Part 1: “The Comment””

  1. July 19, 2010 at 9:23 am #

    That’s really cool guys! Looking forward to the rest of the story! Hey, perhaps now that you are on ‘their’ radar, something will happen in the future!

  2. Don
    July 19, 2010 at 9:42 am #

    Certainly Scott, that is our hope, but one thing I have learned the hard way in this business, nothing is a done deal until you are actually on the air! Things can change on a whim and they certainly did for Jim and I, but I don’t want to give away the rest of the story. We’ll see, but for now we are having fun, and are grateful that Jim and I got the chance to hang out for a couple of really cool days at Victory Brewing on their nickel.

  3. July 19, 2010 at 10:52 am #

    I would add that you shouldn’t feel too bad if you got bumped for Sam Calagione. I mean if a schlump like me got it over you, then that would suck but Sam is a different story. Pats on the back are still in order!

    • July 19, 2010 at 11:02 am #

      Ha ha, Scott. Schlump indeed. 🙂

      Agreed that Sam is a great choice to host a show, can’t argue with that one bit. He’s the rock star of the craft beer world and we’ll watch Brewed for sure. If he has a hit, then it’ll be good for us and others who are trying to get good shows about beer and spirits on TV. We’re rooting for him.

  4. July 19, 2010 at 1:16 pm #

    Oh man this is going to be an awesome read once it’s all up. I might just wait until all parts are posted before reading it all. Otherwise I will get too anxious. haha

    • July 19, 2010 at 1:19 pm #

      Thanks, Mike. When I wrote the whole thing up, it was like 3000 words, which is the mother of all blog posts. Better to break it up into bite-sized chunks, even if it makes you wracked with anticipation. 🙂

  5. July 19, 2010 at 2:00 pm #

    Ah the anticipation is killing me! You guys would be great on a show. Like the guys on Mythbusters, but with out the stupid hats.

    • July 19, 2010 at 2:13 pm #

      Yes, I’d be the funny and likable one, and Don would be, well, Don.

  6. July 19, 2010 at 2:27 pm #

    I’m crying in my beer that you guys didn’t get show! As cool a guy as Sam is, he could never be a Jim or Don.

    • July 19, 2010 at 2:31 pm #

      Thanks Nate. Good to see you drinking beer at 2:30 on a Monday…

      • July 19, 2010 at 3:20 pm #

        Ha…I can soon. Laid off indefinitely. Damn economy.

        • July 19, 2010 at 3:22 pm #

          I’m sorry to hear that, Nate. It almost sounds like a set up to a movie where the hero gets laid off and decides he’s fed up with working for other people and starts his own brewery with a buddy, maybe even someone he blogs with…

  7. July 20, 2010 at 10:20 am #

    Please tell me there wasn’t a host spelling bee and you guys were eliminated for misspelling “Pliny”… Seriously, just found your blog and am anxiously awaiting the rest of this story.

    • Don
      July 20, 2010 at 10:27 am #

      No, nothing like that Doug. Just circumstance…You’ll have to tune in the rest of this week to see how it all unfolded. You’ll have to excuse my brother Jim, he is from the East Coast so he doesn’t get much Pliny out where he is. Glad to have you stop by. Don’t be a stranger now that you know we are here!

    • July 20, 2010 at 10:32 am #

      Hey, no spoilers, Doug!! And it wasn’t Pliny. It was Coors. And I’m ashamed.

  8. July 20, 2010 at 10:58 am #

    Nice guys. Wondering when you where going to come out … with this. Heard through the porverbial hop vine about the goings on a while back. Congrats about being almost famous!

    • July 20, 2010 at 11:25 am #

      Wow, people gossiped about us? That actually makes me feel like good, especially if they only used a handful of expletives.

      • July 20, 2010 at 1:59 pm #

        Well, one person anyway. Don’t ask who either. A good beer blogger never reveals his sources. (Unless you “force” it out of him over quality pub grub and tulips of craftbeer.) ;^)

    • Don
      July 20, 2010 at 1:14 pm #

      Well here it is Chad, in all it’s luster. Almost famous is a good way to describe it. Perhaps someday it will turn into something but for now we wait.


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