Profile: Scott Goldstein

Nov 18, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Title: President of Scott Goldstein Productions and producer of PBS’s “Endgame: Ethics and Values in America.”
Background: Mr. Goldstein spent most of his early career in televisions news, working as a writer and a producer. He worked for KING-TV in Seattle, KNBC-TV in Los Angeles and the “Today” show. But his penchant was for entertainment rather than news. “I thought [entertainment] was closer to the real world than news was,” he said. “When you deal with fiction you can control the real world and make philosophical points and emotional points.” He connected with Steven Bochco, “Hill Street Blues” writer and “L.A. Law” creator, while working as a journalist. When Mr. Bochco began work on “L.A. Law” he hired Mr. Goldstein as a producer. Mr. Goldstein then went on to produce “Doogie Howser M.D.” and then started his own production company in the early ’90s.
Technology and philosophy: Mr. Goldstein developed and produced the Sept. 18 PBS program “Endgame: Ethics and Values in America.” The show combined a 15-minute short film, interactivity on the Internet, sync-to-broadcast technology and live television with a studio audience, enabling viewers at home to ask questions via the Internet. The show posed such questions as, “Is it ever right to do something wrong for the greater good? “People watched and voted online and studio audiences asked questions of a panel of experts,” he said.
He used technology to empower viewers to relate to fictitious characters. “If you can watch a film and offer up your opinions, you are actively watching, and if you take it a step further, you can ask questions,” he said. “That dynamic empowered people to make choices and think about things and technology made that possible. I wanted to create a community environment of people watching it. The [Internet] voting wasn’t just a passive event. It triggered what questions people would ask in the studio audience … It wasn’t meant to be an intellectual exercise but a practical approach to dealing with problems.”
Mr. Goldstein produced the show for a mere $900,000. Panavision donated cameras, Fox contributed free office space and several producers worked for lower rates. “This wasn’t a TV show,” he said. “This was a mission-to put ethics in the living rooms of people in a creative, accessible way.”