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.
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.