‘ET’ Goes HD in Differentiation Bid

Oct 9, 2008  •  Post A Comment

The Player: Dan Henry, executive in charge of production, “Entertainment Tonight”
The Play: Premiering back in 1981, “Entertainment Tonight” broke ground by being the first syndicated program to be distributed by satellite. Now having entered into its 28th season, “ET” (and sister program “The Insider”) have become the first syndicated entertainment news show to move into high definition. Dan Henry, “ET’s” executive in charge of production, said the show is defined by its glitz and glamour, making the move to HD necessary. After CBS’s acquisition of Paramount’s television studio, rumors circulated about “ET’s” move off of the Paramount set to a CBS studio. Once it was decided upon in 2007 to move “ET” and “The Insider” to CBS Studio Center in Studio City, Mr. Henry said it was time to build HD into the new studio from the ground up.
The Pitch: The move made this summer a bit rocky, Mr. Henry said. Moving to the new studio required two separate staffs, one at CBS and the other producing the show at Paramount. “It was like jumping off a moving train,” he said. “ET” produces new shows year-round, allowing for little downtime to organize a new studio. Mr. Henry said the largest stumbling block in the move to HD is the learning curve while getting familiar with the new equipment. “ET” receives footage from all around the country, and making sure all of the film is either upconverted or transmitted correctly has taken some getting used to, he said. The conversion has sped up other aspects of production, especially now that the show has gone tapeless. That allows for remote viewing of footage without having to wait for a dubbing. Mr. Henry wouldn’t comment on the cost of the move, but noted that the process is a pricy one.
Backstory: Mr. Henry graduated from California State University, Fullerton, in 1991 with a major in communication. Drafted to “ET” as an intern in 1991, Mr. Henry has been with the show ever since, working several different positions, including tape librarian and field producer.


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