Wife of Drama Series Crew Member Warns of ‘Emotional Toll’ of Work in TV Industry

May 22, 2013  •  Post A Comment

In an open letter to the entertainment industry, the wife of a key production person on a broadcast drama series warns of the “emotional toll” from working in the TV industry.

Micaela Bensko, the wife of Don Bensko, production supervisor on ABC’s “Nashville,” wrote the letter after her husband and some of his colleagues were let go as the show retools for its second season, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The letter warns of the industry’s emotional toll, given its long hours. She also wrote that Lionsgate TV, the show’s producer, had replaced her husband and others without "a phone call or a thank you for all they had done.”

As Micaela Bensko puts it in her letter: “You know you’ve made it in Hollywood, when a studio replaces your team, and doesn’t even bother to call.”

The letter adds: “The studios will argue they must shoot long hours because of their budget, the deadlines, the people that call them at midnight. The reality is, nothing is important when the humanity in the process is lost.”

The show is undergoing changes after "Nashville" became the only freshman drama on ABC to receive a renewal, reports Deadline.com. Most of the changes being made in preparation for the second season are taking place in the production and post-production areas, including replacing production supervisor Bensko and his team, the story says.

"Changes on ‘Nashville’ were expected following a rocky freshman season, with the show going through growing pains and struggling with its creative direction as well as the ratings," Deadline reports.

Micaela Bensko notes that one of the biggest problems for her family was geography, with the long hours compounded by a bicoastal living situation — a family based in Los Angeles and a show based in Nashville.

She writes in her letter: “I am writing because something needs to change in an industry we have loved as a family. Television is a fascinating medium when studios and production teams are on the same page. But what about when they aren’t, which is now so often the norm? It becomes a cliche. Bringing good stories to life was and is a dream for so many young people who reach for the stars, only to realize the Heavens were moved to another location. And the humanity in the process has been lost.”

3 Comment

  1. I am a broadcast professional who has lived in the Nashville area for almost 15 years. Does the writer realize that the inflated production budget for “Nashville” was mostly due to having to relocate all those folks from LA to Nashville and having the producers pay for housing, meals, travel, etc. when all those positions could have been filled by qualified local pros? I am sure the producers thought ‘The show’s been renewed — let’s cut the budget down by using locals instead of LA transients.’

  2. Well, I guess we’ll see just how “qualified” locals can be… when the next season hits the airwaves and there is something to compare.

  3. I find it hard to believe that someone with the knowledge of a Bensko would be shocked by bean counters far removed from the process convincing executives removed even farther from the process calling the shots. If you charge too much and you are not closely associated (related or “have the goods”) to a shot caller, you are toast.
    As far as qualified, successful TV is generally in the writing and acting, post production is more of a “flash” instead of a substance anymore. And as far as humanity, if it cuts a profit margin, granny will have her throat cut and be right beside you.

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