Not Necessarily the News

Oct 28, 2002  •  Post A Comment

We tried to sell the idea to ABC, but they weren’t buying, so we took it to Michael Fuchs at HBO and in seven days we got a pilot. As soon as they looked at it, they ordered six episodes. The next year they ordered eight episodes. They never found a slot for us. They put us all over the place, so lots of people never saw us. But we won more ACE awards than any other show in the history of HBO.
It was completely uncensored politically. Since the topics were part of the news, we could go after commercial and entertainment issues as well as political ones and we never had to do what the networks do-give an equal amount of parody to the other side. We lambasted the Republicans, and they complained to HBO that we went too far. But HBO never did anything about it. Sometimes they’d send us notes, but the notes never said we couldn’t do something because it was harmful to HBO or Time Warner.
It did get difficult to acquire news footage. We got this wonderful tape of Jane Fonda and Ted Turner. We turned it into a sex interview. Ted saw it and we got cut off from using CNN footage. We got fantastic press because it was early on HBO and people thought we were smart and political and unique. It was unlike any other format. It never would have succeeded on the networks, but on HBO, it was the forerunner of what became their style-an alternative to the networks.