Welcome everybody, welcome to dead cat, Tom diaton here with Eric newcomer. This week we've got a real treat for the audience because we're taking a break. We're taking a break from the scandals, and the layoffs and the onslaught of bad and just generally weird vibes going on in Silicon Valley. So I'm sure by the time this episode comes out, Sam Venkman freed will have done like a half dozen more inculpatory interviews, and Elon will have started and resolved a fight with I don't even know who like Emmanuel Macron or something. But instead, we are leaving that car crash behind. We are going to keep driving on one on one pass Silicon Valley, to the real Valley and to the land where the vibes are probably chiller, but maybe even weirder at the moment. We're talking Hollywood, where leaders are being defenestrated the costs are being slashed chaos feels like it's raining. And to talk Hollywood, we've brought on one of my favorite people that I used to talk to when I covered the industry. We've got on here this episode, Paul to like the first of all, Paul, welcome to the show. Welcome to dead cat I hear this is your first podcast and
yes, take that on advisement. By the way I love the name of your podcast. Oh, thank you. Yeah,
yes, dead cat. It is a very inside hurry.
Oh, we all know we're a dead cat bounces. We can talk about that. Yeah, boy.
Yeah, sure. Yeah, you may be seeing some of those happy to grind you down in Hollywood. Yeah. So Paul, why don't we just get the full resume for audience so we can know who we're dealing with here.
So like many people, I was the sort of accidental entrant into the television industry through the funnily enough the world of international television sales based in London. And that was a journey that started my relationship with content and content distribution. And that was, you know, selling shows around the world on behalf of producers that had retained the rights. And, you know, it was an interesting business back, let's just say in the middle 90s, we were still using a telex machine, fax machines, and, you know, jumping on planes to go and see people and attending markets in a very traditional way. And on the day, you were in, we were in a small company, the IT guy has five jobs, but the IT guy came and installed this thing called email, sheets. And okay, that's what we're dealing with. Yeah, that's what we're dealing with. And I remember the first email I sent and received a reply to and I was like, Oh, well, this business is going to change mighty quickly. And I thought, well, the distribution businesses this place, I understand it's going to evolve I need to get close to content creation and be a part of the process that sort of makes the treats that gets sold around the world. And so I joined the BBC in 1998. In a job I had no clue what the job was, to be honest, I just took any job at the BBC, whereas the what was called a commercial manager of several programming units, which included the BBC is entertainment division that weirdly was responsible for like comedy and then shows like, what you would latterly no like Strictly Come Dancing, which became Dancing with the Stars. So at the time at the BBC, my boss was this chair. Alan Yentob is a sort of legendary BBC kind of, I would call him a creative technocrat. And he was like, oh, there's a vacancy in LA you should put on your Bombay bowl which sort of reference to like your East India come for me executive ironic coming from Alan, Alan Yentob. and Iraqi do was like,
Yeah, we need, the British can't stop colonizing. I get it,
that he sent me off to LA to colonize. And they arrived at a desk. I mean, funnily enough, we were in the same building as TNT Turner, this building called which was known as the adults building because there was this sort of nice family diner on the ground floor. That was one of the few places you could eat. So I was in the ground floor of the adults building. And I arrived and the inbox still had the last occupant of the offices last lunch state and they they sort of unwrapped sandwich and there was a key card on the desk. And the words written on one card. Good luck. Yeah, I met my colleagues and then you know, I just sat down and started hitting the phones and talking to people and bridging the gap between the UK and the Los Angeles part of the business in what turned out to be an extremely deeply meaningful way. But my boss at the time and Lana's like no, we're coming. Okay, okay, well try and sell Dancing with the Stars. And that happened. And what was my connection with that? Well, I set up the meeting went along and was mightily surprised with ABC ordered six episodes. I was even more surprised when they agreed that we could be the producing studio. It was like holy shit we're hiding in the adults building. All we got is an inbox with an old sandwich in it. How are we going to become a fully fledged production studio overnight. So called Friends input UK, we became a fully fledged approved production studio for a reality show for ABC in 2005.
At the time, would you have taken much more credit for Dancing with the Stars? Now you're being you're sort of saying, Ah, I didn't necessarily think it was a great idea.
Listen, if you ever get to work or be in the room have that level up, there are lots of reasons it became successful that I will take complete credit for, but not the sale. But executing, show from a standing start with nobody to help get all of that team together, and then maintaining it. But also, let's just say doing the right deal at ABC held by an MIT preferred way. But then I got a call to go and do more reality programming at NBC. And I arrived into what was like a sort of, you know, an organization that was you got to understand I arrived two weeks after Lehman Brothers No, when did I arrive, I think arrived two weeks before Lehman Brothers collapse. And we were owned by GE at the time. And I thought, oh my god, I'd landed this cushy job at NBC. Gonna get stock. I'm gonna Wow, GE massive global industrial company. This is a great place to be dot dot dot cut to people that will remain nameless. But let's just say we're all called Jeff. But a certain point, everyone. Yeah, yeah, I'm in a room with a load of Jeff. So after a town hall at the Gibson amphitheater where we're told the world's about to end, literally, from a financial point of view, one, Jeff stood up and said, this ain't good. And then in front of the entire workforce, and then behind closed doors, said something like, I'm not even sure we can make fucking payroll in two weeks ago. I'm like, Oh, okay. And meanwhile, morale was in a kind of, like, let's just say, off the back of destroy, which, you know, I don't know, the Olympics in Beijing, were kind of a highlight that that organization was on its knees. It was
Yeah. To anybody who watches 30 Rock, by the way, you can very closely trace this period of G od NBC to, you know, the convoy from Philadelphia, in the form of Comcast coming. It sounded chaotic and bleak. And
I'd say that it started for me what I describe as a love hate relationship with people that emanates from America's business schools. Because what am I meant to say? But for load? I don't know what words to say, because it feels like, feels like graft everywhere.
Yeah, well, there's plenty of that around here, too. I feel a lot
for the plight of anyone that's listed on the stock exchange, it just seems like it isn't really good for the decisions that need to be made at company. So I think that's super exacerbated that companies that are in sectors that are going through rapid change. And that actually is a very neat little my career. After I did that. I then went on eventually to, you know, slowly grapple my way to the top of the pile and be a co Chairman first. And then briefly, Chairman of NBC entertainment. Now, when I started a career in television in the UK, got to understand the year that I started, there was no question that NBC was the number one network anywhere on the planet, like in
99 Sure, friends, Seinfeld, all the friends
and everything, everything. And so when you started Drew and television, if you'd asked me, you're gonna be chairman of NBC one day, well, above that will be a result. Let's hope so. But as a Brit, starting a business rising, ascending to the chairmanship of NBC would have seemed unimaginable. And so lurching from quarter to quarter as well, a G's ownership of NBC felt like, well, I think Comcast then came in cable town in your 30 Rock example. And there was a strange sense of calm that descended on the place.
And that's the general vibe that tends to emanate from Comcast, right. They're all you know, brotherly Philadelphia types that seem to be at least from the outward facing side of it
very well. And, you know, if I was a CEO, like Bob Iger, I would want to own 40% of the voting stock of decently don't think I might be a bit calm. Yeah. And I think they've actually yeah, family companies. That's the thing is that I would imagine there are apps again, I'd be careful to say that I don't think I'm disparaging my former employees by saying, but there was a lot of head scratching around corporate governance on Wall Street around the voting stock of Comcast.
Right. So Paul, if you don't mind me cutting in for a second here, because because I, I mean, I do think you kind of mentioned you work your way to the top of NBC, you know, you do end up getting pushed out, you know, as part of a reorganization and some other things that maybe maybe we can touch on for a little bit later. But I do think, you know, in, in tracing the trajectory of your career, you kind of go from someone who just got his first email in the mid 90s, into, you know, working at the top of this industry that was completely upended by technology, and this direct to consumer relationship like a, you know, a full spectrum shift in the way that the business works. Which kind of brings us to today where like I said at the outset, it seems like things are more unhappy and more chaotic, in my opinion than I've seen in certainly the years that I covered the industry. So you know, from someone who now you know, you run a production company. So you are you're, you know, you're on the selling side of things rather than the buying side. What is the general ambience anxiety within Hollywood these days? Like, how are people feeling?
Well, I think that if you talk to a lot of people, like the people that are at these companies, where your boss has said, oh, gosh, we're facing strong headwinds. Well, we all know what that fucking means. Look to your left, look to your right. One of you three is out of fear. Yeah. And if you think about it on a system wide basis, and what kind of look, let's just say all of us have a kind of survival animal you see in the mirror, sometimes you wake up and like, holy shit, pull yourself together. But let's just say the survival animal in most of Hollywood is engaged, right down to where you can see, like, Bob, use the word defenestration. And I love that word. Like, it's amazing how many people fall out of windows around the world. Okay. But sort of, you know, de fenestrations. I can't imagine there aren't going to be some a lot more why around the place. It's not, you know, it's funny how bosses, always remember how many times I've been given in my career, at Target, without any names on it, which basically means Hey, could you go and ruin as many of these people's family lives, domestic situations, prospects of paying their mortgage, we need you to go and take a wrecking ball to this business or that business. Why? We're not making enough money? Well, that's your fucking fault, not the employees you hired is what my attitude, again, probably probably one of the reasons why I'm not athletes. It's like, Well, it's funny, like, look at your rhetoric as everything was going great. Tony is like bawling, everyone's Sunday. We're like people that have run these businesses. Okay, so let's, I
mean, we kind of danced around it a little bit, but let's talk about the Disney situation, because for our listeners, are there a few that, ya know, a couple of weeks ago, Disney's board in the middle of the night, basically just through the body of their CEO Bob shape back into the LA River, and, and reinstated Bob Iger, who was the previous and incredibly successful kind of legendary CEO of Disney, who had hand picked Bob Shea back to be a successor. It was apparently some sort of a disaster. I'd be interested in your opinion on that. But yes, and so now he has two years basically to write this company whose stock has fallen substantially over the last couple of years, and do the thing that he apparently couldn't do, which is find a successor. But yeah,
Bob Iger had been the chairman of Disney, right, and then, like, relinquished that, seemingly to not have sort of his hands on the decision of the board to pick the new CEO. As I
was told he was completely cut off from the board. He had moved on with his life. He was on his yacht, but you know, go into French Polynesia,
or, you know, they're just
he was he was investor he was.
It's been presented like, oh, then they just called him up one day. It's like, Hey, Bob, what? Would you come back? You know, I like they never, I don't know. It's hard to believe it's
not a question. Yeah. But as someone who has been close to these decisions, Paul, what was your sense of it?
Well, I again, so the reason for Jaycox departure seems mainly directly linked to the financial performance of Disney over his tenure. And, you know what, it's funny because there were two CEOs that retired, let's say, spookily close to the start the pandemic been in media? And, you know, what if I was going to take your two year break on my yard, and I owned and operated businesses in countries where I Okay, I will say the following time, if you've spoken to me at the end of 2019, based on what we knew, based on, let's say, construction projects around the world, contacts in the Middle Kingdom, we knew that there was a very serious pandemic coming in 2020. Why while parts of our business were already being shut down by lockdowns in China, and I remember the playbook starting to come out. And I'm just gonna say that I was cold in January 2020, though this pandemic was gonna last about two and a half years based on the current scientific thinking. And most of our core operating businesses would be fundamentally frozen for the better part of two years.
Did you put any like put options if you heard that news? I mean, like, that's a pretty strong Intel there. Well,
no, because you're an employee and, you know, employees that are reaching for their stockbrokers, Phone. Phone number times when they get inside information, is an absolute prevalent disease across all of corporate America and the institutions that people here hold their noses to, say have any kind of probity? I mean, FTC doesn't. Okay, so, aside from that, know what I was saying gigabit was, holy beep what are the impacts going to be on sub business? And notionally the several 1000 People I pastoral care for? Well, what are you going to do? Well, we all know what the companies did. And you can see what happened. But if you if you were either Bob Iger or Steve Burke, you retired or took a break in the business,
you Timex Steve Burke was the CEO of NBC. Yeah, he retired roughly
the same time as Oh, you know, and that's, that's not a cue and honor, it's not a conspiracy theory. But what if you saw that the weather was set the way that it was set? The people that knew that were bluntly, the CEOs of businesses operating in China, okay. And you could see what they're up to the minute, it started to get ramped it by about the second week of January in 2020 20. Wasn't that I get my years messed up. January 2020,
you could reasonably have gotten sort of assessment.
Yes, we already started, thank you, our people can't go in public spaces, which businesses are clearly going to affect box office. But at the same time, we will say thinking to us, that's why it's not going to, if people are stuck at home, they're going to watch a lot of TV. But oh, we can't make any TV, or we can't make any movies, or we can't have any theme parks open. These are absolutely extraordinary things for these companies to weather. But look with with Bob Blackish. I had never heard that guy's name, just him out. You know, like, it's always interesting. When you're in a business, it's meant to be as incestuous as the wrong guy, which
you mean by a pack. Sorry,
Freud. Freudian slip, I think you'd agree. Okay. Bob Beck is
just a CEO of Viacom. We moved from an era of Jeff's to an era of Bob's here,
right. By the way, Jeff's becoming Bob's is actually hilarious work buddy told me if I had not heard jokes made in sub business that we call show,
ever, ever, ever, ever. He was the parks guy.
I heard his name for the first time when he very publicly fired a very, very popular employee of the Walt Disney Company. And this is what this goes to the heart of let's say a thesis about what it is to be the CEO of Disney versus the CEO of almost any other company, which is, I will say this when I meet a Disney adult. I'm like,
What is wrong with you? Well,
no, no, no, no. In many ways, I wish I could be a part of something that gave me some pleasure from pocket. No, no. I wish I could get pleasure out of watching some of that stuff. But I'm not sure I could get pleasure from being part but I get it. But why do we say is
the best way it was described to me once, which I loved is that being the CEO of Disney is like being the mayor of Disney. Like you've got to walk around with a big smile on your face. And you literally this is true, Eric, you have to go once a year to the theme park and wear the costume and walk around the costume in like the goofy or Mickey Mouse. Get up. It's really you got to buy into the name. You can't just be an emcee.
I hate the word cult. Because there's such negative things when you really think about the website. Oh, it's a bit culty Be careful the words you use, but some of the kind of put the car into podcasts would be for me. Okay, so. And you're right, that leadership position is if somebody when there are very few people, very few companies and brands that have kind of emotional and storytelling adherence to so many members of the public, nevermind shareholders. This channel is obviously looking at the, you know, the things that everyone looks at when they look at a company, but then you've got to look at your fans. And also Disney has a very large workforce, which is different to some of these businesses, and that's because of the parks, but also because they're a big legacy business. So though it's not a democratic process, though, it's not a popularity contest. Though your main focus should be making money cutting costs, whatever your job as a CEO is, unfortunately, at Disney. You've got to be marginalized in the Bob Iger, which is if you don't know, Bob, I've sort of seen him in public and it's a bit like seeing big game in the wild, you know, it's like Cena genuinely and he moves he moves through the world in a way where he is the most
It's like a movie star. I think that talks about his age, but he's literally looks like a young 50 year old. Okay. And I'm sure what sure what happened is that we've all been hearing our stags out are they can't find a successor. Oh my god, they're gonna poach Steve Burke. We all thought we were going to lose our bosses who's going to replace Bob who's going to replace Bob? Everyone obsesses about he's going to be the next CEO of Disney and meanwhile, Bob icing on the CEO of Disney. And now why would I want to run for president? Look what happens if you run for president? Now I'm a really good CEO of Disney and guess what?
Everybody hates you if you're the president, if you're going to be the head of debt. is near the head of the Magic Kingdom. What's better than that?
You're ahead of the Magic Kingdom and you're really good at it. And what's more, you not only one, but democratic, the popular vote, you won the electoral college and you're popular, your approval ratings are high. And suddenly people are saying, well, we don't want you in this job anymore. And I don't know how I would react. No Bob Iger. But I think that he doesn't, to those who just observing it doesn't look like he had a succession plan.
One of the things that's emerged sort of in the reporting has just been, you know, that che pack took away the creatives budgets and sort of centralize them, right. I'm probably butchering this. And now I just saw a story the other day, that was saying that McKinsey had given the recommended, you know, the classic like, oh, clearly, someone's trying to blame McKinsey for this. But I'm curious like, yeah, do you think the whole sort of creatives losing control the budgeting issue was really important? Here are this sort of all just like things people make up after the fact to try and have reasons for
holding budgets and the ability to say yes, to greenlight of any project, I put money in other people's pockets to go and make stuff is the colander ish core of SoCal power in Hollywood. And any changes to the dynamic of how that money is spent cause ripples. And you know what, it's funny because, again, when you've worked in a business a long time, and how that decision making processes approached is literally the subject of maturity level, navel gazing at every organization on a kind of secular basis is, how can we make less risky decisions? You know? Or how do we turn this into a process? Or you know, and then there's only so many ways you can look at the structure that says, we're being pitched something? Should we buy it on it? And the way you can you can muddle your way that 1000 ways, but yeah, no one likes having power taken away from them. But I don't think that I don't think that's the underlying reason. You know, that's, that's part of the popularity contest thing. Once you start to hear this is how it typically goes. The first bad news you hear about executive never ever comes internally, it comes from one of a handful of senior agents or agencies, where you start to hear the wobble around Scarlett Johansson, and then it becomes a kind of feeding frenzy around describing I was just not a creative person, Akshay Feck is no more or less creative than the next CEO if I'm realized that CEO of one of these companies was meant to be a particularly creative job. But that is right. That is what the kind of industry holds on to as the reason why we are different and special and need to be treated so differently here in Hollywood, is because we are creative. And that's just a fucking nonsense, excuse my French it really,
really, you know, we I want to push back. I mean, the actual IP of like, Star Wars Marvel, like Pixar, like those stories are what, you know, the cult, exactly what you said earlier, the cult of Disney, that fans love it so much. That's where they make all the money. And at the end of the day, having those great stories is what you're monetizing? Well, I
think there's a version of yes to that. But I would take out at any cost has been one of the major problems and major major problems facing the business. And that's one of the major problems, right. And, as a CEO, probably more encouraging of the workers, others who are, let's just say the truly creative people that make a difference in the quality of outcomes of franchises like that, or original pieces or whatever, Disney's doing an amazing job or absent Bob jpg. If I look at, for instance, the output of Disney Kluft as the consumer, the output of Hulu, and its associated networks, that is a company in retail from a content point of view, oh, everyone will like say, Oh, this movie bombed or that movie bombed? Well look around the business. That's just how it is. But in the main, that cop right there, dark content strategy is beyond working with audiences. And you'll get a few people who are in the like real, hardcore Disney fans that will moan about oh, well, that's not very Disney or that was no in the main their trajectory from a content point of view was successful. And they got great leaders, granular level of the content businesses, this is something different and you don't, again, if you're a creative in one of these organizations, and you've got an uncreative or a non someone who's proudly non creative as a CEO, and there are those are like, creative students do you know yeah, there's lots of that. But the ones that actually listen and then empower you or listen to track record, I don't know what he didn't green light or I don't know what decisions he made. That is the only one off but that doesn't seem to be a part of the problem. It's all in this. Yeah.
Well, it does seem I'm one of the things I've always been really impressed with with Iger is you know, they always say he's a creative CEO, he doesn't write a script. You know, what he does though, is make creatives feel that they are being listened to when they're talking to someone who understands the art behind what they do. And that seems very different than someone who is just so plainly not to criticize che Peck specifically because I don't know him. Exactly. But a suit a suit, right. And that's, that's what they that's the nightmare, right? That is that I'm this creative, you know, special bird. And I don't want to be seen talking to kind of a vulgar, you know, profit and loss guy.
Well, you see, if you're in the consumer projects, the consumer products and the theme park business, even though the Magic Kingdom, it sounds very specific, you know, the theme parks at Disney have a very specific kind of internal residence, you are ultimately the guy responsible for the widgets of the company. It's like the language of the unit, you know, gate cabinet, the way that the theme parks behave very different to an all the other parts of the businesses in a company like that. And the Consumer Products Division relies entirely on scratching the table of the core creative businesses to be successful, will matter what your merchandising, no, here, no t shirt. Right. So to come from that, into that, I think that has its challenges optically, and in terms of pure capability, because, yes, you'd be absent some of the bedside manner that someone like Bob has honed over many decades, I'm sure he wasn't always perfect at it, you know, like meat young or whatever. But I think he understood that being viewed as someone with taste. And an artist friendly person is an important part of the leadership role at Disney and it might not be so others, but it definitely is.
Right. And this is the thing that that that kind of, you know, I feel for for champaca, almost, because, you know, he goes out there and says, Oh, by the way, Disney plus is gonna lose one and a half billion dollars. And every analyst comes back and says, like, we are ending your career. And meanwhile, Reed Hastings and Netflix have been like losing $3 billion a year. And they've been celebrated for their parades in the streets of New York and Silicon Valley for how much money they will lose
the CEO. So go ahead, you have to read them, you have to read the moment, you know, it was grow, grow, grow, and now it's profitability. And that's just sort of how things are, you know, you're supposed to execute towards the strategy the market wants at the moment, and you know, the market wants it for, for reasonable reasons, you know, about sort of, I don't know, is that that crazy?
Well, what I would say is, when there are people who are in businesses that make kind of pronouncements, like, remember, I had an uncle who just was a very successful investment guy, so people you never seem to end up with any money himself. But he told me about once a little boy Caddying for him, he said, one word, asbestos map for hush just goes, asbestosis is going to change the Wealth of Nations. Whoa. And then all you read about growing up was like, this stuff. asbestos was killing loads of people and cancer and millions, billions, billions of millions of settlements. And all of this stuff was like, Oh, well, I'm gonna, when someone makes a kind of definitive, Armageddon statement about something, I'm gonna pay attention every time even if I do my own research and dismiss it. But if someone I know and trust says something that sounds off, I should pay attention, I'm going to be in the business of ever being more curious about finding out what's going on. And someone very well regarded in our business has made a lot of money and been very successful in it. So what is happening right now, and I think he said it in the middle of 2019 will be looked at retrospectively as the greatest destruction and value ever experienced by our business sector. And that will be paying the cost of it for a decade that it is going to be very, very hard on the ranking file these companies and when I said value destruction, what do you mean, I was like that everyone is chasing Netflix? And in doing so all that they are doing is massively ramping up the cost of content and I mean, by hundreds of percent in many cases, what a show should could and actually cost and you can see this by looking at international arbitrage and say well, how much does an hour of drama cost? fully fledged drama costing? I don't know making it up Copenhagen Denmark. Why is it Copenhagen might one of most expensive places on the planet but isn't that cost of living and credibly high? Aren't we always here in Copenhagen is expensive? Well, how the edge can they make a drama for 700,000 Danish crowns or euros and the shame production values or optical production values? Net of some obviously identifiable above the law base is 7 million now in Hollywood. Well, yeah, someone's being taken for a ride. Not quite sure Couric who it is yet but in there that lies the truth of what's happening now, which is yeah, you know, it's as if comes in mazing. Absolutely no one expecting won't.
This is David's as the CEO of Warner Brothers, Warner Brothers
discovery caught everyone napping with whatever that transaction was, I can tell you there were people that were just like, holy moly. And then you look at the methodology, which is, how have they done this chutes construct? And I when I look at the stock charts, I'm just picking up my flags. I'm not like, I'm not pretend I know the stock price off the top of my head by secretly googling it. But here's who couldn't keep these media stocks quite close to hand. Okay, so here's the Warner Brothers discovery share price is $11.40. And there is a time six months ago when it was $79 a share. Okay, this market cap of the absolute largest catalogers managing pictures on the planet is $27.69 billion. Which if you add that enormous pile of debt probably puts the cost of the whole shebang still less than the purchase price of sky or the purchase price of 20. Going back in time, okay. So what's happened? Just what the hell has happened to all of that value that was in a company that someone thought was 79 bucks less than six months ago, people are talking about FTX. Your own graph, sunshine? What's going on there? And why aren't more difficult?
You're talking about time we're
talking about Tom?
What touch the hood? So Time Warner Yeah, I can do a quick one here. So Time Warner, with att. All right. So basically, a couple of years ago, Time Warner was like in this auction sale. They just wanted to profit. They just wanted to sell themselves not Time Warner was called Warner Brothers because time had been spun off anyway. No, no, it was called Time Warner. Anyway, they were sold to at&t and one of the most disastrous deals that has ever happened in the media industry where at&t had no idea what to do with this asset. They brought it out was last cycle, right. I mean, that was the last cycle. So at&t offloads this asset in the middle of 2021. To this merger that happened with discovery, which was overseen it was the co founders David Zaslav, who was kind of the king of reality television,
it was being positioned as like a genius when this happened, right?
Well, he was on top, I mean, you know, he was able to figure out a way in which he was the last media mogul out there. And then it turns out that he gets this job. And he has a deal. And Paul, you can talk about this, I'm sure with a lot of knowledge, like a new entity that had a huge amount of debt that had a very unclear streaming strategy at this point, and was coming up against HBO Max. Yeah. And like Paul was saying, it's the largest catalog of movies in the world. It's an incredibly interesting property. But it's also coming up against this time, not
just movies, television catalog and huge television production capacity in America in any given year. Several of your favorite shows are made by WB Warner Brothers, whether it's for their own services or others, they're a powerhouse, absolute powerhouse in physical production. Yeah, yeah. So
when it comes to catalogue and ability to produce content, unmatched, and yet now they're saddled with this, you know, huge amount of debt and a stock market that just doesn't seem to know what to do with media think the
stock market's just wrong, or what I know you were sort of saying you don't totally know the answer to what's going on here. But what do you make of how low the value is for Warner Brothers? Well, or Time Warner and I think this
Warner Brothers discounted price discovery,
I mean, no need to know I know, right? So it's like slightly dizzying to keep up with who owns what, where, why and how. And also like your absolute transparent understanding as which businesses any one of these constructs that actually owns and operates like, the way he talked about the even Hulu was anomaly or what's discovery coming together with HBO Max really look like who's doing what what is there anything they can digest so that they can streamline what are they looking at? And time and time again, you see the kind of recourse and when you've got yourself into a spot financial bother which I think that graph represents and by the way, they're not alone with a graph like that. Although I think it's interesting when you look at Netflix over the last six months going the exact opposite direction, you know, the cut programming or cut creativity, cut the product, the r&d and cut the workforce, rather than take a rating half the businesses and or I will topple for the sake of optics will topple a few tall business leaders with big reputations. You know, like you saw that when at Warner's in preparation, they got rid of people that doesn't have people that have been working there for like 2025 30 years. And by the way, you can see if you're on LinkedIn on the wish you shouldn't really be on For more than like a second day, but the you can see, after 25 years at the same company, I talked to pastures new, like freshly chipper, heartbroken statements by people that have just been tossed out in the street as a result of things they don't understand. Like, Why did someone borrow $50 billion to buyers? Oh, we the best thing on the planet. Like we've been working here on massive heads for years. And now this is falling down around our ears. And I think there's a lot of people that feel that way when he talks about morale and what's it feel like in the industry, there's kind of like, oh, no boss is kind of letting us down a bit here.
Yeah, well, one of the things that I found fascinating from when I covered the industry was there's a certain type of job that used to be extremely prestigious in the industry, that is basically disappearing. And I think of like programmers, as one of them. I mean, that used to be almost the top of the heap, right? If you were the guy who was sitting there in front of the big cork board, and can figure out you know, which TV show was going on which night, that was a really fucking important job. And people would would strive in their careers to get to that level. And now it's, it's basically like a dodo bird. I mean, people just don't
well, that'd be a no, I changes happening in the business the whole time. I mean, again, I'm telling a story about starting TV distribution in the pre broadband era, is the first time he saw mp3, you could have drawn the conclusion that traditional television was dead, okay, remote, like the first time, you know, oh, my gosh, you couldn't get video, the same thing. I just got an email, okay. But content, storytelling, publishing, those businesses are constants, the way that it happens in the way that businesses make money that's been subject to ever, you know, enormous amounts of change. So I'm philosophical, I don't lose too much sleep about structural change in the business. But the undeniable Kaos agent was, you know, when he talked about I'm not a Hollywood historian, I don't have much, but I kind of love the stories of like, how Century City happened, oh, the Japanese arrived in the 80s right before the Kobe earthquake, right, and had a load of money and hit Hollywood. And everyone was like potty potty, new office is amazing boot movies that were greenlit that would never get made now. And it kind of, you know, a bonanza of new fresh cash into certain parts of the business, right? I wasn't around then I would pretend I was working with business. But the arrival of tech, whatever Netflix and Amazon and just an apple to an extent, whatever the the sort of arrival of major new highly resourced eminences in Hollywood is that triggers a number of responses, one of which is, and they may deny it, but a whole lot of people go yummy, yummy, fresh blood, some new suckers have arrived in town, let's milk it for all it's worth. And there'll be a gold rush of sorts. And at the end of the day, it's alright, we enter picks and shovels anyway, so it's the people that picks and gels. You've heard all of this before. But it genuinely feels like we are heading for some sort, of course correction around the cost of everything. How many employees probably one more major merger of waste in the landscape making sense. And when people talk about Apple by Disney, and everyone always says about Apple? Well, it could buy absolutely anything they wanted on any debt or right.
But are you betting on that? Or?
I'm not sure I would bet on it. Not in the immediate short term, because I think that that really will start head spinning about what really is going on behind closed doors. And I think that even though neither of those companies really owns any competing assets, I think which a Department of Justice. I only say this by having had a side row seat to seeing what gain consent decree looks like or what a big merger what it throws up at the moment. Well, let's just say the democratic Department of Justice are no friends have companies getting bigger. Right? So I don't I'm not necessarily certain that apple plus Disney passes the his Magister monstrous thing. Yeah, test,
right to an American. And now everybody's mad at you know, Apple was fighting with Elon for a second. There was a flash of Apple is, you know, the biggest company in the world. Maybe we should worry about it more for antitrust and not just pick on Facebook all the time? Well, I think
Yeah. And that's really going on in Europe already. You know, and Europe tends to be upstream of the US when it comes to regulation. That's true.
upstream to an extent but in terms of its history with corporations, America has an amazing, amazing history of breaking up large companies over and over again, we've seen it happen and And historically, I'm not certain with that. But I would think that there would fishy some of these companies, not too big to fail. Big enough to fail, is really what it looks like. Yeah.
Before we turn the conversation, what streamer relative to its position now are you most optimistic about?
So? Obviously, don't count Disney out on shoots, subscriber numbers and brand value. And I think they'll figure out how to make money and do that. Right. Okay. I've been incredibly impressed and encouraged with the progress that Amazon's made. And I'll say that mainly in terms of just you guys who are in the tech business, when Prime first started it, right. It really felt like a service that wasn't run by people in the entertainment industry. And I mean, that from the kind of interface point of view even like finding shows, or everything felt like a little bit thrown together Amazon, which was strange, because it's such a massively well resource company. But I give huge credit to how the business has evolved, and also what contents emanating from there. So Amazon is going to be there or there abouts in this game got great executives and people that know what they're doing over there. Likewise, I want you to go by my own habits. I'd found myself watching anything more and more, I was surprised that a lot of people have said that to me. Likewise, Hulu. So when people say would you counsel any of them? One nice business reason I'm going to keep them more going. But where am I going every day? Every day? We're on Hulu. Everyday we're on Disney plus, because the kids and every day we're probably on Amazon because we're buying stuff, but at the same time, it's like finding stuff. Peacock
is certainly not on this list.
Are you? Are you more devoted incredible value for money play. And I actually see areas of usage where they're really growing like physically, I've got like quite a few successful reality shows on the show. They're getting great viewership for like those housewives and things like that. And then there's something undeniable. So there was a movie that I would never go to see in a movie theater, and I'm like, I'm a Vikings fan. So they done a movie called Norseman that focus features. And to get me to go to the movie theater to see Norseman will be absolutely impossible. But almost day in day, it was on Peacock, and I pay 99 cents a non peak up. I'm on a discounted deal. Yeah. Okay, so I'm like no nonsense. Oh, they've got northmen back, you know, don't go into Northman. And it says, I'm gonna have to watch him out. And I'm thinking, well, in the movie theater, or, you know, willingly watch like 15 pre rolls, right? You'd be watching the trailers buy some weird local ad for the food court or whatever. And they roll, it sends two ads, you're gonna roll. One of which is a prime actual interview I'm about to watch only. The other was actually a remarkably Kutner piece of locally served advertising. I thought, well, that's great to watch two pieces of content. And then about absolutely free runner, a brand new movie. So what effectively is less than no money? And so I don't know where that fits into their desire to make money. But for the consumer, I'm literally sure it's a good deal for me. Good deal.
I did want to ask, and we talked about this a little bit beforehand. But you know, we did talk about you, you did kind of in your trajectory of your career rise to the top of NBC and then, you know, rather publicly end up through either a reorg, or a pretty scathing article written about your leadership end up getting up getting pushed out. And, you know, just as to very quickly, kind of explained the article, you know, the allegations in it was that as the leader of this company, you know, of NBC, you know, he had created a work environment that many anonymous sources described as toxic. I think some people spoke on the record, like Sharon Osbourne, but she didn't work there.
Well, every I'm not going to undermine the article too much Tom can. But it's like, being from totally outside of it. It's like every bad word you could be you're like, sexist, and but then it's sort of like, massage. We're just like that. It's like celebrities being like, he said, I'd never work in this business. Again, if I didn't comply with what the studio wanted, which is like, isn't that what studios
never was like, you'll never work in this business. Again, it was like, beware of anyone that thinks they have the power to say that and let's look at what's going on in the business right now, which is talent, they don't really need any of these companies to be talent anymore. That's really what the big evolution. So yeah, that's hindsight. And there's accountability. And then there's a set of feelings that you could sit in about, Well, that wasn't fair. Look what happened to me. And you know what? It was such a weird moment, just in general. So if you wanted to, to culture in the culture, and I think we're still a little bit in that weird moment, but I think that the fog is lifting to an extent, where, you know, it's not only sort of thoughtful because I don't want to be glib about what if if people's feelings were hurt at any point in conversations with me, that is undeniably something that could happen. And that's because I express myself incredibly, clearly, transparently and in a very opinionated way, in a way that is occasionally polarizing anyway, then you add a layer to that, which is why we say you need to meet Elizabeth to Lady, an 87 year old woman from the north of England, who swears more than me, literally, she's got to bail him out. And in fact, kind of you to not take permission. It's like, no, there were certain words that surfaced in terms of like schoolboy humor, pure rile, or whatever, you know, like things you don't really want to hear necessarily by yourself, which is a modicum of truth in terms of the perception that you communicate certain way, you should be a bit more careful about that and corporate America. And at the same time, what I would say to anyone that took offense who felt like they were a junior employee, or someone that I was like, was I wielding excess power in some sort of toxic environment. Now, I talked to my bosses precisely to the way that I would talk to you. And you can ask them, I remember someone coming up and saying, Did you just tell the CEO of this company that he was a P? P word? I'm not going to say it because apparently, I'll be offending someone by saying it, even though I use it far stronger word it normally to use them? And I said, No, no, no, no, I didn't call him a keyword, or said he was actually like the P word. Okay, and so whatever that you know, hahaha, or you got to use another swear word. And people come up to me and say, What's your language? And I understand that, but it was more probably, of manifestation. If a man was drawn span, you choose the ratio, which anyone could use anyone have any ism? I did that. And then when you go, what is the defense mechanisms for being called a racist? If you're not? What if you could stand on your track record is who's you've lifted up in the business? And oh, all of my friends this all over. But funnily enough, one of the most overwhelming areas of support when I had when this went down was a lot of incredibly nice notes from people who would have been subjected to the so called isms who said they've never had any of that experience. And they were sorry if others had, but their experience was completely different. And you're right, it was like mine. I remember my lawyer at the time said, Well, this article basically says everything apart from Oh, oh, no, you are responsible for the Kennedy assassination. Oh, sorry. They've added that right now. And, you know, you question your own sanity. And then when I say the moment was you get accused of being a racist and for making a phone?
Were you surprised? Were you surprised to hear these allegations? So
what I would say is that when journalists and you both are members of the profession start, I'd heard about so much, someone's trying to do a hit job on you. And what you've got is a few something like slightly off color remarks, I mean, alleged to have made and I said, and trust me, I will remember the context, the reasons for saying it, probably clearer than most. But anyway, it was a moment because of time, George Floyd has been, you know, murdered in public, or however you perceive that and that the kind of, you know, half the world turned their Instagram page black, and then told you can't do that. That's not good. Either. My people didn't know what to do in response to this moment,
as you see it, like what's the story of like, what motivated it it's like the reporters looking to fit the narrative, it's like employees are looking to sort of be part of a solution. Or it's like you had like opponents within a company, who are using this moment to like to go after you.
Oh, my gosh, oh, sorry, tweet like and by the way to, like I say, it's such a sort of weird bubble that I and my family were in. So, you know, in terms of like the amount of sleepless nights thinking about what would have done differently, I would have ever spoken to this person or being polite to that incredibly important person that was behaving utterly appalling, me towards all of the people around them. And it becomes my job as both of these companies sanction people who don't feel they should be sanctioned. And what do they do and they're sanctioned by someone that they don't want to be sanctioned, whether it's Sharon Osbourne, who miss remembered, this is I apparently took a woman to a business meeting was Sharon Osbourne, which anyone that knows person, Reggie was going to a business meeting at Soho House, or no, it was it, we were going for a drink with Sharon Osbourne and the lady had to kiss my wife. But the article says I took some young, inappropriately young girl to a meeting. And and then they were like, oh, no, no, no, we're still going to leave that in. We're actually just kind of straight about it. And her.
So you were told The Hollywood Reporter that the woman that Sharon Osbourne brought up is like some floozy that you brought to the bar was in fact, your wife, no,
my wife and my fiancee, like, the entire time I knew Sharon Osbourne, I was either weird or engaged to my current spouse, my wife, my current wife. Yeah. And so that's slightly wounding and then with this like, by association, the toxicity in the obstacles like though they all they want to mention Trump this and Trump that like why because he was on The Apprentice and what I was his boss at the BBC, Oh, Dad, NBC. So there was a lot of The weird stuff in there. But the intention to bring me down had been clearly signaled by the journalist to our press department, months before the article came out. And we're working on this why? We've been what? Told by whom? Former employees? Yeah, largely formally, but also some people there that don't really like him. And you know, he said the wrong thing. And I was like, Okay, well, I can tell you what, there's no circumstances under which I if I would have asked, but I can't flee wouldn't have given me egg. In those circumstances. Why? Because it was, frankly, all just a lot of twaddle. Some of which are take huge responsibility for because I can't help not why, because I was in a very highly paid job with a trajectory that suggested I might be getting another job anytime soon. And suddenly, I'm an independent producer, doing what many other people have to do when a career comes to an end. That is not a choice. It's not something you do. And then you have to be analytical about why it happened. And you know what? I am someone that expresses my opinions clearly. And you know what, with hindsight, here's what I would say as much as I would love to have kept their job. And I think I could be making a contribution at that company. Things happened for a reason. And I wouldn't be able to work there now. Right? Okay, so I'm just seeing what's going on. So in many ways I got out and I'm able to start over and do some interesting things, and, you know, carry on making shows, because for me, I'm much more focused on the consumer that sits behind all of these platforms, and these corporate stories and stuff like that, that I'm lucky enough to work on shows or been involved with creativity, where completely random people come up to, you know, in a conversations African loves American Ninja Warrior, changed my kid's life or love the voice? or what have you done lately, you know, I've been lucky. And I get to work on stuff,
in terms of like rebirth in your career, whatever. When we talked about the cancel, we didn't use the word cancel, but like, how much did you feel like how like, your peers are just like the social environment? Like canceling? Has it been hard to work with people? Or was there sort of a testing period where you're like, I don't know. Is he too hot to touch? Or what's how's that?
This play? is really what people say about you behind your back, I think. Okay. But my experience in pure facing the businesses, most people that need to know me know me, and know the truth. in one form or another, they have like your reaction, Eric is a complete outsider. has been, I would say, in the case of someone who's a complete insider, depending on where they sort of fall out on the kind of just the pure personal tastes right? Do you like that person? Yes, or No, which is occasionally pletely, legitimate binary answer. Most people that I've encountered are like, holy shit, what happened to you? It's just kind of extraordinary. Oh, my God, if it can happen to you bluntly, it's not that it could happen to anybody. But I think everyone knew the truth about you. They hired you. You're exactly the same on day one, and maybe the world and the organization change. But we know the truth about you, Paul, we know what your passions are. And we know we can rely on you. And on the personal level, it's like, no, I've had, right when it was happening, I had, in many ways, but it was like, it's wonderful. But what was it I have kept every This is the people first up people, when you MDC, email stops working, and your cell phone doesn't work anymore. There's a period in which people are trying to reach you that you had no clue about. And it takes months for what we're in the main extraordinary good wishes, and loads and loads of messages that kind of support and can't wait to see what you do next. And all of that. And on a social level, have I felt occasionally, like in a restaurant in West Hollywood, a couple of eyes following me around the room, and maybe something like, oh, isn't that Porter bag, do something? And of course, I would lead to the conclusions of, do they think I'm an ism an est? Am I am I going to be after Mar Lago with Nick Fuentes and Donald Trump or like, what's my story? Because someone's certainly going to, you know, whatever. And the answer is, you just, you keep on keeping on and you work with the people. It's not about pushing against open those who work with the people that just sort of know the truth. And so far, so good. People, I haven't had anyone say, I'm not taking a meeting with you, because of what happened to you. But when meeting new people, let's just say someone that hasn't had any kind of creative relationship with me. As you can imagine, when you
Google that the articles
come up or versions of it or the way it was reported, like in India or whatever. The internet's a funny thing, and, you know, it's the kind of graffiti you can't take a sponge to, right. However, you can talk to people and you can be transparent and you can exhibit The truth is, it's not my truth, their truth. Our truth is, this is what happened to me. These are the bins that I think that I was in control of. And you know, there's lessons I've learned, I certainly won't be using the C word in meetings much in America. But back in England, it seems fine down the pub. And I've never used it in isolation should qualifying it. And it's not a misogynist term. If you're using it about a man, I guess, I don't know. But I've certainly learned to, you have to be accountable for your words and actions. And you had to be 20 years ago, 10 years ago, five years ago and five years in the future. The problem is, bluntly, the culture of how these things are reported and how the news is disseminated. And, you know, I'm a big point of my
last question on this is I mean, did you I just wondered this as a reporter, you know, because you do have a situation where sources come to you, they are all saying the thing you get enough to create a narrative, you come to the company, you tell them, This is what we're hearing? I mean, did you feel that you were given a fair hearing by the reporters in this?
I haven't spoken to either of them. I remember my last interactions with both of them. And I know precisely why they don't like me. And by the way, I could go into elaborate details about things that motivate why someone working for the Hollywood Reporter thinks it's their job to do that. Okay, good question. But there's a very good, reasonable, anyone that owns those businesses is trying to shed them as fast as they can and being bounced around from pillar to post, because it's, it's just, you know, it's funny at the BBC, which is an organization really founded on the sweat of journalism. And it before it was, let's just say, at a time when it wasn't an honorable profession. It was made an honorable profession by people that put themselves in harm's way in war zones harm's way in investigations, harm's way in terms of the checks and balances of power and politicians. And journalism was an honorable profession. And the search for the truth was important and valid, not balanced, for the sake of it not He Said, She Said, and it's all everyone gets a view, but actually looking for the truth is quite an important thing. Now, when you are subjected to one of these, oh, there's lots of phone calls being made to random people about you. And you get the first 20 phone calls from someone that says, hey, I'm not being funny. But I've just had this journalist asking really weird questions about it for mainly about your sexual habits and who you've slept with? And is there any dirt on you that they don't already have, when you're in litigation through your company, and you see that private investigators have been hired and that they're calling parents at your kids school, and stuff like that, right? This is a bit rich, because I can understand the procedure urge bad people, by law enforcement in any business all the time. And I can understand the need for companies to change and other cultures to evolve. But I don't understand how a journalist job involves calling people and the minute someone says, hang on a minute, that isn't my experience at all. In fact, dot dot dot, that the phone is literally hung up, hung up. I had five people tell me that one of the Germans just hung up on him in the middle of what they would describe is not a defense of Paul, but no, no, that wasn't my experience. Well, thanks. Goodbye. Thanks. Goodbye, or, and so it doesn't feel like that's journalism. It's what I would say.
I mean, I I can under I mean, what happens is a reporter you start out you're like, you're looking for like a recurring theme. I think one of the problems in these canceled culture articles is like the kitchen sink ones are just sort of like, Oh, they're they seem to be presented as bad and every sort of issue. It's one thing of it, you're like, oh, there's a specific problem where like, the whole story is built around, you know, I don't know something specific, less
you say 911 has never been called. Okay. Neither. And by the way, like, like a shake. You live through it, you kind of metabolize the, you know, funnily enough, that toxic word that, you know, it's an interesting one, because you definitely know, then you've come into contact with a toxic environment. Okay, like, you know, what, you know, he's feeling and things normally unravel quite quickly around that kind of toxicity. And the journalists thesis about me, it's, it's very strange started years ago, years ago, and I've just I've pinpointed to a very specific personal interaction. That's all I can say. That things got quite personal, it seems to those two people, and I don't know a clue why. And then once you've got a thesis, no one likes to be tough. You imagine. I've got this amazing thesis, and this is the patient should and this is how I'm going to back it up. While your thesis is wrong. No, it isn't. I've been working on this thesis for 10 years. What's wrong? Okay, well, no, I'm gonna publish it anyway. How about it? And you know, in the what was right or wrong, you know, I'm through it. My family's through it was hard for a bit. And you know what? It was a bubble I was in and it's three years I can't believe I'm saying it's nearly three years on now. I mean fat and say more important things in the world to worry about.
Yeah, well, look, I mean, we appreciate you talking about I know it isn't easy. But last thing, Paul, just in terms of you know your time atop NBC, you got to deal with them. Sure. A lot of celebrities and interesting interactions. Any good Trump stories? I mean, you weren't his boss for a couple of years. What can you tell me about the time he was the head of the apprentice and what it was like overseeing the Man Who Would Be King
goodness gracious me? Well, you know what? It was just bizarre at times is the only way I can put it. And you know what I feel like, for the sake of people that being so discreet about what's alleged or isn't alleged to have happened on the set of that show, I never witnessed anything. And I've had hundreds of conversations he used to call me every Monday morning of the show, went out and seen a Celebrity Apprentice said every Monday morning after the show went out to read me the ratings analysis that the author was reading from a fax but I someone in my office or someone at our organization extended me. Okay, but so
I'm surprised he didn't print it out and write it in Sharpie. I thought that was his style, usually right with the
Well, yeah. Oh, by the way, we used to get loads of faxes with his handwriting. We had to keep a fax machine in the office because she was the last person faxing last minute fax that he didn't have a computer on his desk, not sending wiska emails from Rona and his assistant and stuff like that. But, you know, I want to, I want to kind of I must give you a tip, having answered that question. But honestly, I never saw him do anything that fell into the category of the, let's say, the nonsense that he embarked on with a political career. But for journalists, I thought this was interesting. And I think it's really interesting in the context of like Elon and Twitter, that there was this moment. And it was some time in the Obama presidency when he started going on about the birth and stuff. So and Obama was came into office, literally, six with the inauguration was like a few months off a couple of months after I joined NBC, it was like the week of the Golden Globes or something. And I think that he's he'd embarked on this birth certificate bullshit a bit earlier, in that kind of process. And I said, I remember talking to him, because I don't know whether it was that we had a particularly African American cast on that season of The Apprentice or what, I don't even know what the reasons, but the reasons we're saying this shit is racist Donald, but implying any because Central European, I'm half Hungarian, but anyone that is challenged to produce pieces of paper to prove who they are, it creates kind of visceral relationship with poppy and a bit that, you know, like, No, we don't have to prove who we are. And you don't you told him that and you, you doing this to Obama is racist. And I was like, Oh, which one? If Donald Trump's racist, then it's like, or it's perceived as racist? Somehow I would have qualified it possibly. And he goes, Yeah, but every time I tweet about it, Twitter was new to him. I get another 10,000 followers. He goes, You know, I've got more followers than the New York Times has circulation. Because when I tweet more people see it and read the New York Times created the New York Times where it's like going on and on about the New York Times. I'm bigger than the New York Times. And he made this visceral connection between popularity and strong opinion in this specific space with an uncapped people will listen to my tweets on oil prices, people will tweet this to my tweets. And what was most extraordinary was, I was just assuming that got a load of research. And weirdly, his we could see popularity was in fact shunting up with every negative Obama tweet. And it was it was as a four years after, I feel like it was, you know, I don't know what I couldn't datestamp it. But it just was very interesting to me that he had made the connection between the influence of social media and his ability to reach people. And so anyway, like, yeah,
was it bad for the show or good for like, he was getting more popular, but his, for advertisers, he was becoming more negative, or he was still doing the show when he was doing the birther stuff. Yeah,
he was he was he was and it was just like, Oh, God isn't where you
calling him? Because it's sort of gotten escalated, or you're just
it's just the wrong thing to be saying, you know, and please don't do it. And I could just think it reflects badly and by the way, I think it was during a season in which I'm forgetting who was on it, but I feel like it was like, no one's to be there. People that are saying hell yes to your tweets, you should be very careful about those people. But you know what he was. What I would say is eccentric, irascible, not always on time, took quite a long time to do fairly simple things. But I never saw him do anything that fell into the categories of that which is laterally kind of celebrated for and I think that that was like everyone was like, trust me he said the this word that word this way I don't think we would have heard if you to use that word on set. Interesting. And of course don't read don't think we wouldn't have sanctioned even Donald Trump's stuff. The main reason the show went away was the ratings were it the the format had turned itself out. It was brought back with the celebrity version by Silverman and Ben Silverman as a kind of Hail Mary for the format. And it worked and it gave it whole other additional life. And it was reordered during a strike here. And reality programming as this funny ability were like, well, we need another hour. So they expanded the one hour episodes, two hour episodes, and they were able to do that. And carry on. So it was always a construct the transistor that kind of worked until it didn't. And yeah, but I mean, one day for a cocktail and off the record. It's not it's not like the specifics of like the weirdness of just what occasionally would come down the pike with like, who's Melotte who's Ivanka friends with who's in the room? Why me sitting in this video dimension, like, say, I think it is painful. And then, you know, one day and I think it needs to be like 25 years in the future. That what happened when he came down that escalator and said that, you know, makes you go centers. There were sort of unsure,
there was the rapist
was pretty turbulent, 72 hours of my life, I have to say, which culminated in by literally, I don't have to fight him. So there's not many people that have done that with toppled. And it was extremely well, extremely difficult. And then, funnily enough, I didn't, I was pretty once you've fired someone, your relationship with them changes forever, doesn't it? And the reasons that we fired him, and then let's just say, people above me in the industry, still thought it was really important that the company I worked for maintained a kind of cordial collaborative relationship with Trump as he actually moved from running joke to actually run, if that makes sense. And I also remember walking upstairs after seeing he announced this ran for the presidency. And literally, there wasn't a person that knew Trump well, at our company who said, his odds of winning better than 5050. In fact, once he's on the ticket, once he's running is pretty unstoppable. He knows the game. He really does know, our iwi he had been handpicked to train for a soundbite. You know, once you've worked on a reality show, you can see and once you've learned the relationship between words and reaction to words, which he'd kind of learned as a public figure on a TV show, it was pretty likely he was going to win. I remember Rachel Maddow coming to her retreat. And she was like, Guys, if he's running is based on statistics alone, it's better than 5050. He wins. And I was like, 5050, plus the Trump side. So certainly, as a one term president, he's going to win it. So Lord help us we're all still still talking about him. And I think he's still planning on trying to disrupt this next election cycle with whether he runs in polls or gets arrested. I don't know what happens next. shitshow.
Yeah, the unending shitshow. fascinates
me, I feel like I there was so much I didn't know we would cover. So it's been enjoy, I really enjoy it,
as you say podcasts and talking to this. If this is a podcast, this is like having a zoom with two people, I should be probably extremely careful about what to say to but thank you for making me comfy enough to share a bit. And by the way, Tom, I know you were uncomfortable about asking what happened to me.
Right, which was the point of bringing you on, of course, to talk to talk more about that. Yeah, you know, I do appreciate you going into it. And, you know, speaking to it as best you're able to, because I think it's you know, I I guess what I always like to do because this show we sort of focus on the journalist view of the stories that we're covering and the industries that we cover. And you know, both Eric and I have written very hard pieces about executives, and I always find it valuable to talk to people who have been on the other side of the news cycle. Yeah, I just think we don't get a lot of sense of that, typically. And, you know, it is a legitimate side to every story that journalists are sometimes ignorant.
Well, no, I think that it's really you guys are part of a really important profession. It's never been more important. And I think there is going through an evolution in terms of the partnership between whoever pays a paycheck for a journalist and the distribution method. Is that right? Twitter, may journalists quite famous individuals at times Social media meant that you could have your own personal journalist brand and it became something that everyone was pursuing, which is love. Is it great to be successful, have a photo and make money doing a job. But if your job is hate to use this word quite important, which the search for the truth and is, then I think we have yet to kind of read level set. What that job description is, in the new world of you don't work for a newspaper publisher or proprietor, your editor might not you may never see the mean or like whatever it is, there's a kind of new world of how to my experience wasn't great. But I will say in the main when I talk to journalists, and when I meet them around the place, not just in our business, great at their jobs, looking for interesting stories. They're storytellers like us, and I have enjoyed my relationship with the press in the main.
Yeah, well, thanks for doing this, Paul. We really appreciate it.
Thanks for coming on
Silicon Valley Goodbye, goodbye. Goodbye. Goodbye. Goodbye. Goodbye. Goodbye. Goodbye.