Hugh Hefner was being given a Lifetime Achievement by PromaxBDA and I was given FIVE WHOLE DAYS to produce the presentation. Keep in mind, this is a man who documented just about every minute of his life and this needed to be approved by him, Promax and played in front of a group of people who produce amazing presentations for a living.
Just to wade through all of the footage (Hef has his own private film library and librarian) should have taken months but the brilliant Steve Wagner and I got a total of five days to get this written, cut and approved. A terrifying ordeal, indeed. But we pulled it off. The following year it won a Promax Silver which is total bullshit cause it was beaten out by my friends at NBC who had Alec Baldwin and a lot more time and money. But...it's the one and only time Hef looked at something and gave ZERO NOTES. That's right, we got a first cut buy from Hef.
In five days we took 60 years of film, video, millions of photographs, a stolen clip of Flip Wilson and pulled off a miracle. Hef loved the piece so much he apparently had them play it in the limo several times on the way to the show. Pulling this off with Steve Wagner was one of the greatest accomplishments of my professional life.
HUGH HEFNER LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD PRESENTATION
GROUNDBREAKERS WITH JOHN WATERS
I'm a big film nerd and I always wanted to do a hosted show that featured some of the biggest movies from the golden age of adult cinema.
For weeks, I searched for the perfect host and got nowhere. Pat Boone had too many scheduling conflicts. Donny and Marie had a long running show in Vegas that they couldn't get out of. Phyllis Schlafly demanded too much back end and executive producer credits for all of her children except the gay one. What to do???
Then suddenly it dawned on me! The perfect host for a show about vintage adult films was none other than the Pope of Trash himself, John Waters!!!
So I reached out to John's agent. John really liked the idea and was a friend of the Playboy brand from way back. His biggest concern was that the material might be disparaging to women. He'd been asked to do some things in the past but he found the scripts were insulting to women. He didn't want to be a part of anything misogynistic.
HOW AWESOME IS THIS GUY!?!?!?
I explained to John that I, a woman of a certain age, am the arbiter of taste for Playboy TV and all shows and all scripts and production must be approved by me. One of the reasons I was hired by the network was to make sure that woman seen on the channel were portrayed with the utmost respect.
So he said yes!!!
For three seasons we traveled to Baltimore to shoot this show in the same auditorium of the Charles Theater. We use almost the same crew and eat in almost the same amazing restaurants every time we're there. John Waters is an absolute dream to work with and every fall I looked forward to going to Baltimore to do another season of Groundbreakers with him.
I hope I get to work with John Waters again someday.
Here's the first season overview. If you ever have the chance to work with John Waters, take it. He's the greatest!
Fritz the Cat
Various Episode Opens
I was Director of Special Projects at NBC in the 1990s. I left to executive produce shows for the Oxygen Network but no matter what I did in my career, I eventually returned to NBC. I worked on all sorts of amazing projects over the years. I wrote about 4,000 jingles for NBC. I was lead creative on the $10,000,000 launch of the Jay Leno Show. I was Jeff Zucker's ersatz biographer and I wrote the live commercials that played in The Tonight Show. I oversaw a major brand integration in The Super Bowl, wrote a huge fall preview campaign for Honda, projects for Walmart, zillions of other projects and even produced a special last-minute tribute the night Ed McMahon died. No matter where I work, I always feel as if NBC is my home. Here are some fun things I grabbed from my NBC shelf.
TINA FEY NIGHT OPEN #1
One of the jobs I had at NBC was writing the custom openings for every night of prime time programming. I wrote the opening of just about every night on NBC for more than a year. Here's an example of a night open starring the brilliant Tina Fey.
TINA FEY NIGHT OPEN #2
Another sample of an NBC night open with Tina Fey. She's brilliant.
SVU DONUTS NIGHT OPEN WITH RICHARD BELZER
Richard Belzer gets the very funny button on an NBC night open written by me.
BIGGEST LOSER BEATDOWN OPEN
It was really fun to write for these two. They're genuinely funny and cool. You just never want to stand next to them...for obvious reasons.
BELZER AND ICE-T NBC NIGHT OPEN
Again, Belzer having a lot of fun with the material.
JOHN LITHGOW 3RD ROCK FROM THE SUN PROMO
This is the first promo I directed at NBC. It's linspired by an old Cremora commercial starring Agnes Moorehead. Because, me. John Lithgow totally nailed this on the first take but I kept having him do it because he was so hilarious. Once it was finished, NBC Chairman Don Ohlmeyer refused to let it run on the air because he thought people wouldn't know that Lithgow was only pretending to be an asshole. His performance was that good. So, the first promo I directed and one of the funniest things I ever wrote, edited and directed never made it to air because the performance was too believable. Oh well.
NAUGHTY NBC FRIENDS ID
As Director of Special Projects at NBC, part of my job was writing and directing the funny comedy bits the talent did between the shows. My department also produced all of the branding for the network. Here's Lisa Kudrow and the cast of Friends getting a little antsy during the shoot.
NBC "MAD ABOUT YOU" JOHNNY CHIMES PROMO
I got a TV Guide Jeer for this promo, one of 368,914 musical spots I did for NBC. TV Guide hated Johnny Chimes NBC's animated singing peacock and NBC's viewers agreed.
NBC "MAD ABOUT YOU" I GOT THE FEELING PROMO
I created this spot for Mad About You when Jamie was going into labor. We had to get permission to use the song. James Brown was okay with us licensing it as long as we weren't using his material in a sexually suggestive context. Think about that for a moment.
iVILLAGE PREGNANCY SPOT
When I returned to NBC in 2007, they'd just acquired iVillage.com so I got to write and produce a bunch of fun stuff for them. Here's a quick spot.
TV FOR 2
From the very beginning, Playboy has been all about Entertainment For Men. However, it's women who usually pay the cable bill. Looking for ways to increase female viewership, Playboy TV hired a brand strategist who did a research study on Women and Porn. The study revealed women typically don't have an issue with adult content. In fact, many women watch porn every day. Unlike their male counterparts, female porn viewers typically prefer certain values - couples who seem to know each other or have a genuine romantic connection, high production quality, people with real bodies and sex that is contextual.
So Playboy TV decided to develop all new programming that attracted female viewers so couples could watch the shows watch together. They needed an executive who had experience in network rebranding. Someone who had a background in programing development. Someone who had a successful track record producing shows, understood how to market the shows, knew what women would want to watch and who didn't have any issues with adult content.
That's pretty much me and no one else. Good thing I was available.
In 2010 I began developing the TV For 2 shows for Playboy TV. It was the beginning of the most amazing seven years of my career. The things I experienced, the people I met and the shows I produced changed my life forever.
These TV For 2 shows are designed not to be safe for work. If you want to view them, you’ll have to subscribe to Playboy TV. After watching the shows, be prepared to have a much better sex life.
You'll have to trust me on that.
Bringing Couples Closer | Playboy TV's TV FOR 2
Here's a marketing campaign that describes the TV For 2 shows that I developed and supervised.
INSIDE TV LAND: AFRICAN AMERICANS IN TELEVISION
When the folks at Inside TV Land approached me about writing and producing a three-part series about the history of African Americans In Television, I was honored. They paired me with another producer who took on Drama. She and I split duties on Comedy and I wrote and produced the episode on Variety.
I am absolutely obsessed with variety television and it's no secret that the greatest variety television performers of all time are African American. As Debbie Allen eloquently said during our interview, "Sorry, we're just more talented." Of course, she's right.
I remember being thrilled every time Sammy Davis, Jr. or Pearl Bailey were on TV. Diahann Carroll was the most beautiful woman ever. Eartha Kitt was electric, nobody could outdo the Jackson Five and don't even get me started on Flip Wilson. I had a Flip Wilson/Geraldine doll when I was a kid. Flip Wilson was unbelievably versatile and you knew when you were watching the show, when he was about to make an entrance as Geraldine. We’d all start laughing before she even got on screen.
I want to be Geraldine. Every woman should be as badass as Geraldine.
Working on this project was a real honor for me. I got to interview so many of my personal heroes. Amazing artists such as Diahann Carroll, Robert Guillaume, Debbie Allen, Nell Carter, Kim Fields, Sinbad, Jamie Foxx, Marla Gibbs, David Alan Grier, Hal Kanter, Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Tim and Daphne Reid, George Schlatter, Jimmie Walker, LeVar Burton and the amazing and incomparable Nancy Wilson.
I have so many ridiculous stories that came from working on this project. One of my favorites is, about half way through production, the Executive Producer of the project pulled me out of a meeting to yell at me for not interviewing Pearl Bailey. "How could you miss someone so important!" she screamed. I remember standing there outside of the TV Land conference room staring at the floor in silence. I didn't have the heart to tell her that Pearl Bailey had been dead for 12 years. So getting her to come in for an interview was a bit of a challenge.
I also got into a fight with Nell Carter over the size of my feet. I’ll save that story for my memoir.
In writing and producing this special, I used Sammy Davis, Jr. as the emotional center. His life perfectly aligns with the trajectory of African Americans in the heyday of Variety television. I had to battle repeatedly with my bosses and the network to keep this segment in the show. I saw this tribute to Sammy as the emotional center of the entire special and just about everyone I interviewed had something to say about it. I knew it would add up to amazing television.
Luckily it stayed in the show. The V.O. is that of the wonderful and lovely Ron Glass.
I hope you enjoy it.
INSIDE TV LAND: AFRICAN AMERICANS IN TELEVISION - VARIETY
Sammy Davis Jr.'s 60th Anniversary Celebration Clip
HONDA FALL PREVIEW PROJECT
HONDA NBC FALL PREVIEW PROJECT
NBC hired me to write a bunch of spots for a married couple driving a Honda and casually chatting about topics that tied in to that fall's NBC shows.
HONDA "INNER PEACE"
This one was for a show called Life.
HONDA "I'M SORRY"
This one was for My Name Is Earl.
HONDA "BIONIC WOMAN"
This one was for The Bionic Woman.
HONDA "TRAVEL BACK IN TIME"
This one was for Journeyman
TIM GUNN LIFETIME CHRISTMAS VIDEO
After working on the launch of Project Runway on Lifetime, the network hired me to write a bunch of funny holiday spots for their talent. I had a particularly great time writing jokes for Tim Gunn and apparently he liked my material quite a bit. That really says a lot. Because if anyone knows something about material, it's Tim Gunn.
I LOVE LUCY
Every few years, the folks at CBS/Paramount Television decide they need a new generic promo for I Love Lucy. When Studio City hired me write it...well there really isn't a higher honor for a vintage TV geek like me.
First of all, how do you write a promo for the most famous show in the history of television? Very quickly, actually. I wrote this spot in about five minutes, based entirely on my encyclopedic knowledge of the show. Danny Saphire did a masterful job editing. The spot won a Promax US Gold Award. My buddy, the incomparable Steve Mackall is the announcer.
Here's a fun spot for the thousands of happy peppy people who, just like me, love Lucy.
I LOVE LUCY GENERIC PROMO
HOW TO BE A BIG TIME TV MOGUL
I was always looking for clever ways to promote our content. First of all, I wanted as many people as possible to see the great shows I produced at Playboy TV. I also wanted to reach out to content creators to let them know that not only did we exist but we were always looking for great ideas.
So I decided to disguise this commercial for Playboy TV as an opportunity for anyone to send us their ideas for a TV show. Trust me, during my 7.5 years as head of programming, I waded through a river of crappy ideas. Some so offensive they're my absolute favorites. In fact, I'd say 95% of the ideas I was pitched were wretched. 3% were worse and 2% were okay-ish.
So I wrote and produced this piece as a way to get the word out about us and our shows and to make fun of all of the horrible ideas I'd been pitched over the years. The brilliant Tim Jennings stars here as Bryce Finkelman, a totally fictional TV executive. Because he's a dude, he probably made more money than me. And I wasn’t even fictional!
This was shot at the Playboy TV offices in my personal office. Although, that's not my globe in the background, it's borrowed from our Colombian head of creative services. He's a lot more international.
And for the record, my assistant IRL is a lot sexier...at least he thinks so.
In case you're wondering, we didn't get a single worthwhile show idea submitted to us from this. Just a lot more crap. Bryce Finkelman, you're fired!
Playboy TV wants you to be a glamorous big time producer!
Welcome to my private vault. Over the years I've collected all sorts of interesting video clips.
Everything seen here is the property of the networks, their respective production companies or other publishing entities/copyright holders. No challenge to ownership should be inferred or is implied.
9 Lives Morris the Cat Commercial
We'll kick things off with a commercial for 9 Lives cat food. Why this? Cause that little girl with the scratchy voice in the beginning of the commercial is me! FUN FACT: I'm the first human whose face was shown in a Morris The Cat commercial. This commercial ran for almost 10 years.
"CHANGING SCENE" GROOVY 1970s TV ABC PROMO
Every time I watch this promo for a 1970 TV special called Changing Scene, I see something new and amazing in it. Hosted by a super stoned-looking Robert Culp, it features Barbara Eden, The Osmond Brothers and the face of Robert Goulet. FUN FACT: In the mid-90s, I was working at NBC and had to call Robert Goulet. The music on hold? Robert Goulet!
This clip represents everything that was groovy about variety shows in the 1970s.
VINTAGE LAWRENCE WELK PROMO WITH HIPPIES!
Here's a mind-blowing promo for The Lawrence Welk Show you have to see to believe. Basically it's their vow never, ever to change with the times.
SHOCKING 'SEARCH FOR TOMORROW' PROMO WITH MORGAN FAIRCHILD
Here's an incredible promo for Search For Tomorrow starring Morgan Fairchild. This may have been her last day on the show.
NBC DANCING CIGARETTES
Seen at the beginning of Judge For Yourself the amazing Old Gold dancing cigarettes as seen on NBC!
VINTAGE MURIEL CIGARS COMMERCIAL
Super cute commercial for Muriel Cigars featuring the voice of Edie Adams.
RARE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW PROMO
A very boring and probably not very effective promo for The Dick Van Dyke Show. Too bad they didn't have Carl Reiner writing the TV spots for one of the greatest sitcoms of all time.
I'm really proud of this show, which is saying something because all of its content was chosen specifically for being awful.
Hosted by delightful Canadian Rachel Perry, this was Playboy TV's version of The Soup and for over 5 seasons, it featured all sorts of accidentally hilarious porn clips, news stories and shocking-but-real sex products for sale. In addition, we produced tons of fake commercials, a few of which can be seen here.
Developing, overseeing and executive producing this show was an absolute highlight for me. I got to work with brilliant writers, the world's bravest actors and a stripper robot. Not a bad day at work.
The Stash First Look
Here's an overview of the series. Below this you'll find lots of fake commercials to watch.
PORN STAR PYRAMID
I'm obsessed with game shows and vintage television so doing this was an absolute thrill for me. Only downside from this day -- the actress who was supposed to be the frumpy 70s housewife dropped out at the last minute so I had to step in. When I had to put on that vintage polyester frock, Ron Jeremy kept walking right into my dressing room which gave me a massive panic attack. I finally had to hide from him in the Playboy TV Ladies Room down the hall. I'm a real pro so you can't tell that when Ron Jeremy hugs me in that scene I'm nauseous inside.
STASH RON JEREMY OLD SEX COMMERCIAL
Here's a spoof of the famous "Old Spice" commercial starring porn legend Ron Jeremy.
Stash Darren K. Miller Porn Attorney
Here's a commercial for an attorney who specializes in porn related accidents.
Make a Porno at My House!
Tim Jennings at his finest.
SEASON FIVE BOARD
It takes a lot of bad porn to make a season of The Stash.
Someone at MIP found a really stupid German TV show for sale that was basically a rip off of The Jersey Shore except it was scripted, set in the Bavarian Alps, starred a bunch of German porn stars but had only simulated sex. They only wanted like 10 bucks an episode. So we bought it!
Then we had to figure out what to do with this crapsterpiece. I hired some of my favorite writers - Matt Weinhold and Danielle Koenig and we decided to turn the show into something completely different. Instead of a stupid fake reality show about German girls frolicking in the Alps, we completely revoiced it and made it a serious documentary following three brilliant academics who spend a year undercover as sluts, for a top secret research project. The set up worked perfectly. We revoiced the entire show and I even played the part of Helga the manipulative closet lesbian/stand up comic/Haus Frau - who, due to sheer luck, ends up being the big villain of the show and basically destroys everyone. Typecast!
This show is fucking HILARIOUS. It's probably the funniest thing I've ever produced. There are two seasons. With a budget of about $68.50 per half-hour, we have a talking butt plug, a sex robot, a million offensive German jokes, an entire game show built around porn clips and, most brilliantly, holding the whole thing together is the notorious anti-porn crusade film Perversion for Profit.
Produced by convicted Savings & Loan swindler Charles Keating, Perversion For Profit was a notorious propaganda film hosted by Los Angeles newsman George Putnam. It was financed by Keating who was a huge anti pornography crusader. The film, with no actual evidence, suggests that pornography is eroding the integrity of American culture. Instead of warning people about porn, the cautionary film inadvertently becomes a commercial, promoting all the cool smut that was available in 1965. FUN FACT: Keating supposedly had one of the largest porn collections in the world. Ya know, for research. FUNNER FACT: In the early 1990s, Keating was convicted in both federal and state courts on numerous counts of fraud, racketeering and conspiracy. He served four and a half years in prison.
So welcome to The Arcade! A show featuring an ersatz, German Jersey Shore that we upcycled into a mocumentary. Joining the wrongness is original animation, comedy videos, repurposed 80s soft core footage from our vault, a porn game show and so much more. I think putting a talking butt plug on national TV is my crowning achievement at Playboy.
REAL LESBIANS WATCH LESBIAN PORN
We had real lesbians watch fake lesbian porn that was obviously made for the male gaze. These real lesbians were not having it!
STAR WARS NERDS WATCH STAR WARS PORN
We had real nerds watch a Star Wars porn parody and just rolled the camera. Gives new meaning to the Trench Run.
CELEBRITY SEX TALES
Produced by Jason Hervey, this is a really fun half-hour show that featured celebrities telling their wild hook up stories that were brought to life with animation. We had Cheech & Chong, John Salley, Richard Grieco, Janice Dickinson, Adrianne Curry, Barry Williams, Cindy Margolis, Nicole Eggart, Corey Feldman and Traci Bingham who sexually assaulted me on set.
No, it's not funny.
Celebrity Sex Tales First Look
Here's a fun look at Celebrity Sex Tales. Produced by Jason Hervey this show turned out really great...aside from Janice Dickinson trying to bribe me, Corey Feldman yelling at me, John Salley's friends surprising fondness for fat girls, Richard Grieco's animal sacrifice and Traci Bingham touching me in a private place without my permission.
DENNIS RODMAN GUEST STARS
John Salley had a couple of very fun stories about his teammate Dennis Rodman.
EARLY CAST DRAWINGS
Here are some early cast drawings from our animators.
Images, references and clips seen here are the property of the networks, their respective production companies or other publishing entities/copyright holders. No challenge to ownership should be inferred or is implied.