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Who’s your `matey’?

Feb 19, 2001  •  Post A Comment

It’s apropos that David Stanley and Scott Stone, partners in Stone Stanley Entertainment, have a reputation for throwing some of the best parties in the business.
“We have a commitment to unapologetic fun,” Mr. Stanley said. It shows in the kinds of programming that Stone Stanley Entertainment creates and adapts. The company’s latest two entries are “The Mole” and “Popstars,” both of which debuted in January.
“The Mole,” an adventure game that appears on ABC, has won considerable acclaim for being creative and clever. Likewise, “Popstars,” which Stone Stanley produced for Warner Bros., doesn’t offer many intellectual challenges, but the talent search is proving popular with a prized demographic: girls and women age 12 to 34.
In the competitive world of reality TV, having two starters in the same month is quite an achievement. Mr. Stone compares it to batting a thousand in baseball, but he’s also realistic about how fickle fans and ratings can be. “It’s like a good meal. You enjoy it, but you know you’ll be hungry tomorrow.”
In a sense, Mr. Stone and Mr. Stanley have been doing reality TV successfully since long before it was trendy. Their credits during the ’90s include “Fun House Fitness,” hosted by Jane Fonda, as well as six Jane Fonda workout videos for Warner Home Video; the game shows “I Can’t Believe You Said That!” hosted by former basketball player John Salley, and “Shop ‘Til You Drop” both for Fox Family Channel; “Loveline,” a late-night talk show seen on MTV; and “The Man Show,” a celebration of chauvinism for Comedy Central.
Mr. Stone and Mr. Stanley believe one big reason they’ve been so successful is the partnership works. They’ve shared the same office for 11 years and when they’re not sitting side by side, they’re on their cellphones, batting ideas back and forth. Mr. Stanley said, “Scott and I share all the responsibilities and the same ridiculous sense of humor.
“Scott tells people he tricked me into going into business with him. He told me that it was going to be fun.”
The company’s mascot is a pirate, which springs from a joke dating back to a National Association of Television Program Executives convention, during which an anonymous attendee shouted, “Arrrgg, matey.” It struck the partners as funny and has become sort of a rallying cry.
On Mr. Stone’s 45th birthday this month, friends gathered at Wolfgang Puck’s Spago restaurant in Beverly Hills. They arrived dressed as pirates, complete with hats, sabers, and bandannas. When Mr. Stone walked into the trendy eatery, they all stood up and greeted him with “Arrgg, matey.” “It was the most embarrassing thing that’s happened to me in the last six or seven days,” Mr. Stone said. But seriously, Mr. Stanley contends that fun is what their success is all about. “We really love making TV, and everytime we get off that path and get too mired in the day-to-day, we have to figure out how to eliminate the annoying distractions and get back to the business of having fun.”
Last month, Stone Stanley Entertainment introduced another game show, “Mall Masters at Mall of America,” produced for Game Show Network. Mr. Stone says the company is always on the lookout for promising game shows-and for other serendipitous opportunities. “We have something in the lobby that looks like `Wheel of Fortune.’ Every morning, we just spin the wheel and that’s what we work on today.”
David Stanley and Scott Stone
Ages: Mr. Stanley, 50; Mr. Stone, 45.
Credits: Mr. Stanley is a former senior vice president of Warner Bros. and executive vice president of Lorimar Television. He is an attorney and a former mayor of Hidden Hills, Calif.
Mr. Stone is former senior vice president, first-run television, at Lorimar Telepictures, where he managed product for “The People’s Court,” “Love Connection,” and “The New Let’s Make a Deal.”
Titles since 1990: Co-founders of Stone Stanley Entertainment.
Current projects: “The Mole,” for ABC and “Popstars” for The WB. “Mall Masters at Mall of America” for the Game Show Network. Other current programming includes “The Man Show” on Comedy Central, “Shop `Til You Drop,” and “Legends of the Hidden Temple” on Nickelodeon’s Games and Sports.