How We Almost Had a TV Show, Part 5: “Enter Sam Man”

What almost was and what still may be.

This is the final installment of a five part story about how Don and I almost landed a TV show on Discovery.  Follow the links for Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.  Enjoy!
Part 5: Enter Sam Man
When the production company reached out to Discovery after the green light meeting, they were floored by the response. “We are no longer interested in this area of content” was all they said about the show.  We were dead at Discovery.  No one knew what had happened.


Well, it turns out “Brew Masters” happened.  What we didn’t know until later was that Discovery was also pursuing a similar concept with another production company and with Sam Calagione from Dogfish Head as the star. That production company, Zero Point Zero, had produced Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, the show which inspired Discovery’s desire for a globetrotting drink-related show in the first place.  That’s hard for a pair of Internet hacks to beat.  

In the end, I think it was an easy choice for Discovery. Two lovable but obscure bloggers, or the charismatic rock star of the craft beer industry, who owns one of the 20 largest breweries in the U.S.?  Hmm…I think I’d pick Sam, too.  It was by far the safer choice and it sounds like a cool show. I’ll watch it, that’s for sure.

You'd be smiling, too...

After we hit the wall at Discovery, our production company vowed to find a place for our show at another network.  They still love the concept, which is different than “Brew Masters,” and they still want Don and I as hosts.  So we went from being shot down at Discovery to having a top-notch production company saying they’re going to build a show around us and pitch it to all the major players.  It certainly took the sting out of it for Don and I.

But what started as a rejection-fueled charge has now lost steam as other opportunities have taken up the production company’s limited resources.  We’ve been crowded out by other projects with networks attached to them.  Basically, they are busy fishing where the fish are, and we don’t blame them.  It’s a business.

So we’re in a weird limbo now.  We’re still part of the production company’s portfolio of shows they’re pitching, but they don’t think there will be much interest in our concept until “Brew Masters” hits the air.

If Sam’s show is a hit, then we should certainly get a shot.  Just look at all the logging shows, cake shows, cooking competitions, shows having anything to do with New Jersey, etc. that pop up once one is a hit.  It’s a me-too industry, and if Discovery has success with “Brew Masters,” the other networks will be looking for their own spin on a booze show.  Heck, Discovery might want another.  You never know.

So, just like many brewers who have benefited from Sam’s trailblazing attitude and personal magnetism, Don and I are relying on him to work his magic in television. We wouldn’t be the first folks to stand on his shoulders, that’s for sure.  If he wins, we win.  At least that’s how we see it.

Even if we didn’t have a personal interest in his success, we would have heartily supported “Brew Masters” anyway.  Having the show on air will help cement craft beer’s popularity in America and introduce thousands or even millions of people to the wonders of good beer.  What’s good for craft beer is good for everyone.

We will also continue to purchase and enjoy Sam’s beer.  The day “Brew Masters” was announced and we connected the dots that it was what had killed our show (it didn’t take a genius to figure it out), I curled up with a bottle of Dogfish Head Fort in the mancave to lick my wounds.  I guess it’s ironic that I was drinking one of Sam’s beers, but it hit the spot.  I love that beer, even if it was a little bittersweet that night.

So now we have a little time before we expect things to move forward.  We’re excited to have started podcasting, as Don and I have all this energy to do a show, and the podcast gives us an outlet.

We’re calling it our “Invisible TV Show” as an homage to what almost was.  We provide the audio, you make the pictures in your head.  something like that.  We want our first guest to be Sam, so we can have a laugh about how his show scuttled our dream.  We’ll see if he’s game, but we think it’d be lots of fun and make for a good listen.

So that the story of how we almost hit the bigtime.  We certainly still have a shot, but it’ll be a while before we know how it’s going to turn out.  In the meantime, we’re grateful that we got to spend a few days together drinking beer and eating great food on someone else’s dime, and that we got to meet some really wonderful folks along the way.

We look forward to what comes next, whatever it may be.


Categories: Beer, Brotherhood


Craft beer nerd, frequent beer blogger and occasional home brewer.

Join the Madness

Like beer? Like whiskey? Like goofing off? Follow Us!

25 Comments on “How We Almost Had a TV Show, Part 5: “Enter Sam Man””

  1. Rob Crozier
    July 23, 2010 at 8:10 am #

    That’s a great story and you and Don definitely have the right attitude. Hopefully the producers of “Brewed” are smart and don’t put out a lame show – do you know what the format of the show is? I hope its not “a day in the life of Sam Calgione” because I would find that boring. I definitely support you guys and hope that your day comes and the show sees the light of day. In any case, keep on blogging and drinking and telling us about all the great beers and whiskeys out there!

    • July 23, 2010 at 10:14 am #

      I think Brewed is going to be some what happens at the brewery, Sam traveling and meeting other brewers and sampling their stuff, and Sam on quests for ancient brews and unique ingredients with his archaeologist pal (the guy who helped inspire Theobroma and a few otheer historical DFH brews).

      I think it’s very “Sam” and a different show than we would do. Anyway, I’ll watch the few couple of episodes for sure.

      • Clyde
        July 23, 2010 at 11:28 am #

        Brewed sounds a bit too focused to me. It’ll likely be interesting for 3 or 4 shows but then it will be tough not to be repetitive and exciting enough to hold people’s attention.

        With you and Don throwing whiskey into the discussion, that leaves you with a much wider range of topics that would attract and hold a broader audience. The Click and Clack angle would also make it more entertaining.

        The one area you are missing, both on this blog and your would-be show, is TEQUILA! My wife just bought a bottle of outstanding single estate highlands reposado, Tequila Ocho. Collecting, tasting, and discussing fine tequila is a popular subject too.

        • July 23, 2010 at 12:20 pm #

          I haven’t gotten that deeply into to tequila yet, but I’ve had a couple of really special estate ones that were great.

          The show we pitched to Discovery was about all kinds of booze, not just beer and whiskey. It also included homegrown spirits as well, as that’s a huge and authentic part of drinking culture around the world.

          It’s a really great show we have planned – I hope A&E, Travel, Food or even Spike gives us a shot.

  2. July 23, 2010 at 8:25 am #

    Don and Jim, you guys are troopers, and have showed a heck of a lot of character throughout all this. We all hope the best.
    When you do make it big, I hope you swing by and do a show with your buddies Mike and Nate!

    • July 23, 2010 at 10:17 am #

      It’s been a lot of fun. Mostly we’ve had to work to keep from getting ahead of ourselves and staying realistic about our expectations. Something like this is always a long shot, and you have to be ready for anything to happen. There’s always something.

      Right now we say we’ll have a great TV story to tell when we’re doing press for our show in the future…

      And we’re not the types to forget our friends. Either is Sam, as a lot of his favorite brewer pals wills be featured on his show as well.

    • Rob Crozier
      July 23, 2010 at 11:49 am #

      I agree, Brewed sounds like it will be too boring after a few episodes but from what I’ve seen from Sam C. on his website and YouTube videos, he is very charismatic so he might be able to sell it. I like the idea of your show better and agree that if his show is a success, the door may open for you and Don.

      • July 23, 2010 at 12:22 pm #

        I’m sure they’ll bring out the best of Sam and keep things moving and interesting. The production company that’s making the show has also produced Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, so they know how to take a big personality and keep it fresh.

        But I agree that the brother angle and our approach to all of this will make for a killer TV show.

  3. Lynn
    July 23, 2010 at 12:35 pm #

    Love the story, thanks for entertaining me this week. I hope you have a successful show someday and then I can ask for your autograph when I see you at Victory. (Which I would do know anyway as a loyal follower of your blog!)
    Downingtown, PA

    • July 23, 2010 at 12:44 pm #

      Thanks for following us here, Lynn. I definitely intend to get back to Victory sooner rather than later. The food and the beer are amazing and everyone was so nice (especially when you come with a TV crew). I’d love to get together for a Golden Monkey sometime.

  4. July 23, 2010 at 2:10 pm #

    That’s so cool. Best of luck, fellas.

    Invisible show… I like that… kinda like some of the hairs on my head. They’re there, but you can’t see them. 🙂

    • July 23, 2010 at 3:49 pm #

      Yeah, Don can attest to the whole Invisible Mane thing. He has a head of hair just like Fabio, you just can’t see it!

  5. July 23, 2010 at 3:03 pm #

    It’s been very interesting to read about your whirlwind experience. Sorry it didn’t quite work out how you hoped it would. You were blessed with the opportunity to almost make it, which is very, very cool.

    Thanks for sharing the experience.


    • July 23, 2010 at 3:53 pm #

      Glad you enjoyed the story. Even though we didn’t get the show we had a great time. We were grateful just to get a chance to spend time together, especially drinking free beer and eating great food.

  6. July 24, 2010 at 9:51 am #

    Nice story, just let me know when you want a “guest reporter” to include whisky on your show.

    • July 24, 2010 at 10:23 am #

      That’s the cool thing about having a show – we have friends all over the globe that can pitch in.

  7. July 25, 2010 at 9:02 pm #

    Very cool story, Jim. Extremely well written, though I feel bad for Don’s cornhole. I just read all 5 parts in succession and the suspense was killing me, waiting for the damn cable internet to load the next installment.
    You guys have my full support in this and should go for a network like HBO or something a little more…fun. That way I could be a recurring character in your travels. Not sure I’d do well on Discovery. Just a thought.
    Hopefully I’ll be back writing soon – I’m drinking a Bear Republic Big Bear Stout now and it is…er..was quite lovely. Stouts of Summer – the new series on HBO.

    • July 25, 2010 at 11:16 pm #

      I’m with you 100% on the stouts of summer Daniel. Just finishing a Great Divide Oak Aged Yeti, and it’s deeply satisfying.

      And I agree, you’re made for pay cable. Otherwise Discovery would run out of beeps. I think it’d be a cool episode either way.

  8. July 26, 2010 at 10:59 am #

    This was a great story to read guys. I’m sad it’s over, but then again, maybe it’s not! Even if it doesn’t work out, I think the experience and story were worth it. This is one that will get passed down.

    • July 26, 2010 at 11:11 am #

      It was a great time for sure, Billy. Don was flown out for free, we got to eat and drink on the house and we spent some quality time together. Still, a show isn’t out of the question and we’ll keep trying to make it happen.

  9. mikemoriendi
    July 26, 2010 at 5:45 pm #

    I just finished reading the whole thing. Great story guys. It’s a shame it didn’t work out this time. Heres hoping for the future. Then I can say “I know those guys! We read each others’ blogs!”

    • July 26, 2010 at 5:53 pm #

      Thanks, Mike. It turned out to be quite a story and it was a very fun ride. We’re hoping for another shot this winter when Brewed gets off the ground. It might stir up the bee’s nest a bit. We’ll see.

  10. Matt
    November 18, 2010 at 2:52 pm #

    What a great story. I just started following you two recently, but I will add that I know I would enjoy your show if your in-person personalities come across as well as they do in the blog. I think Brew Masters will be a blessing in the end even though it was the reason you weren’t picked up. Like most genres is takes something with mass appeal like Dogfish Head to open the gates and then other networks will want a piece of the beer geek pie.

    • November 18, 2010 at 3:13 pm #

      Thanks, Matt! I think we’d do great with a show, as we have lots of fun when were together (we also bash the crap out of one another). I’m hoping we still get that chance.

      And I agree that Sam has kicked the door open for lots of folks. I’m hoping he can do the same for us.


  1. Five Reason’s I Love This Blog | Beer & Whiskey Brothers Blog - October 18, 2011

    […] was 6 months into this thing we would be in the running for our own TV show.  Jim has well chronicled that entire experience here, so you all know that it didn’t happen.  However we did get to have an all expense trip to […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: