Article for Broadcast Magazine

Executive Relief
By Richard Herring
“Operation Good Guys” has just come out on DVD. There are adverts in all the papers detailing the celebrities who have cameos in the show. Like Jude Law and Johnny Lee Miller – impressive. David Seaman and Denise Van Outen are next -hardly Hollywood superstars, but might shift a few copies.
Then comes a slightly surprising name – Alan Yentob.
Alan Yentob? The BBC’s Director of Drama, Entertainment and CBBC?
Do you think his name is going to persuade anyone to buy this? Are there hordes of Alan Yentob fans out there, with Alan Yentob posters of their walls, all desperate for more DVDs featuring Alan Yentob?
Will anyone see this and say, “Ooooh, look, Alan Yentob! I must own this.”? Anyone not related to Alan Yentob?
It’s painfully obvious that there is only one person this is aimed at and that’s Alan Yentob. Nice ploy. Flatter the exec and they might give you another series.
Some might call this executive relief, but I call it executive schmoozing. It’s something I have never been good at. It’s something I am reluctantly having to attempt again, as I pitch my latest TV ideas. I hate executives. They are all, without exception, clueless idiots who wouldn’t know a good idea if it ate their expenses budget.
See how bad I am at schmoozing. They all read Broadcast, you know. I mean what else have they got to do? It’s not like they have to work.
I’ve done it again.
I suppose the years of disappointment (tinged with occasional rays of hope, which only makes things worse) have made me cynical, but even when an executive shows an interest in my work, I know that just as the project is about to be green-lighted they will suddenly get a job at a different TV station and that’ll be the end of it. Or that after two mildly successful series a new controller will be appointed and decommission everything from the previous regime. Or that’ll I’ll simply open my big mouth and ruin everything.
I’ve written a TV script based on my weblog (www.richardherring.com/warmingup). My manager tried to pitch it to the brain behind Channel 4’s Bo Selecta (yes, I was surprised there were that many brains involved), who replied “I read that. He slagged off Bo Selecta on it. Next!.”
He did agree to see me about another project next week, but now I’ve just ruined that too!
I think the Operation Good Guys team are on a hiding to nothing anyway. I’ve met Alan Yentob and he seemed to me an intelligent man of the people who would not be swayed by such cheap flattery.
By the way, I’ve got the perfect show for CBBC, Alan. Any chance of a meeting?