“It is an extraordinary time in television, especially as an independent production company. It is a period in this industry that is unprecedented, where anything is truly possible” -David W. Zucker
After receiving several nods from this year’s EMMY nominations*, David W. Zucker, President of Television for Scott Free Productions, sat down with Kai Ryssdal and the Corner Office Podcast on Marketplace to share his thoughts on how the landscape of television works today.
With simultaneous success on traditional network TV with critically acclaimed hit series “The Good Wife,” and streaming TV with “The Man in the High Castle,” Zucker gives insight into development and distribution in the world of independent production companies and how that has changed rapidly in the past decade. “Well,” he says, “to use an English term, it’s very ‘bespoke’ in the sense that any of these productions can get put together any number of ways … and with buyers like Amazon and Netflix that are cognizant to the needs of an international audience—there’s really no place you can’t go. It is very much a global business now.”
Zucker observes that today’s TV landscape has fewer limitations in subject, and consequently, stories that attract feature talent into the TV space. The result is a diverse mixture of content. That content attracts more buyers than television has ever seen before. He says that in the past “… you assessed your limitations based on the market of networks … if a network decided not to proceed with a pilot, there was really no hope of any future, despite the content. Now, as the fiscal opportunities have changed and the studios cannot rely on the same syndication deals—that changes the financial mathematics of it all. From a content standpoint, we [Scott Free Productions] have been enormous beneficiaries.”
With the industry so radically different from 10 years ago in content and distribution, some may describe television as more competitive and unpredictable, however Zucker enthuses about the one constant. “The one thing that hasn’t changed is that it all begins with the writer and with the idea,” he says. “There are more possibilities and opportunities than ever before. If you believe and have enthusiasm for pieces you’re developing with your writing and directing and acting partners, hopefully they’ll find the right home to support it and hopefully allow it to live a good, long and fruitful life.”
Check out the full interview here!
*Scott Free Productions received a total of 8 EMMY nominations this year including Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series, Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series, Outstanding Costumes for a Contemporary Series Limited Series or Movie, and Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series for “The Good Wife” and Outstanding Main Title Design, Outstanding Special Visual Effects, Outstanding Production Design for a Narrative Contemporary of Fantasy, and Outstanding Cinematography for Single Camera Series for “The Man in the High Castle”.