Syndicated Strip Showrunners: Claude Brooks

Dec 6, 2004  •  Post A Comment

“Dance 360” creator and executive producer says he likes to multitask.

“When all cylinders are firing at the same time I feel most fulfilled,” Mr. Brooks said.

That’s fortunate for him, considering how many cylinders he had going while shooting “Dance 360,” which Paramount Domestic Television distributes. At one point while he was doing the show, freshman UPN sitcom “Second Time Around,” which Mr. Brooks also executive produces, and a comedy pilot called “Baggin”‘ that he created also were in production. All the while, Mr. Brooks has continued to run his Paramount-based production company, C To The B.

“Dance 360” is a half-hour urban dance competition show featuring amateur dancers competing head-to-head for approval of the audience assembled in a circle around them, or in-the-round. It debuted in August in a limited rollout on Viacom-owned stations across the country.

Los Angeles-based Mr. Brooks employed a unique method of research for the show, which is “not just about dance but about style, what kids wear, the verbiage they use. That’s my lifestyle,” he said. “I live the life.”

Still, he had to do real research at the clubs to find out, for example, “OK, forming a dance circle. Is that still what kids do?” he said.

Sixty-five episodes of the show were completed over the course of about 41/2 months, including a production schedule in which five shows were shot each day, three days per week. It’s a schedule that’s considerably different from Mr. Brooks’ sitcom world, in which one show is shot over five days.

“They both have different unique challenges,” he said, adding that syndication involves a “more aggressive” schedule. Tighter budgets are involved, too, which means, the room for error in syndication is smaller than it is for sitcoms. “Also, [`Dance 360′] went through my company, so if I go over it has to go through my pocket,” he said.

As challenging as running his first syndicated strip may have been, Mr. Brooks is up for the task again. “After doing the show, I’m really interested in doing other types of shows in syndication and bringing my ability and perspective to it,” he said. “It’s a fun world,” he said of syndication. “It’s a really fun, aggressive world.”