a tv producer’s job

TV producers do lots of things. Here’s what I do for The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail, and only a couple of these are solely my responsibility. For the most part it’s a team effort.

  • Pitched the show, along with Jonah, Kumail, and our production studio Red Hour’s Mike, to several networks.
  • Endlessly discuss, with Jonah, Kumail, Mike, and our director Lance, what the show will look like and feel like.
  • Meet with Comedy Central pre-production to find out what they want from the show, pitch them our ideas, tweak as needed.
  • Make a huge list of comedians and start narrowing down who we want, always checking with Comedy Central.
  • Start reaching out to comedians to explain the show and ask if they want to participate. If they do, I go to their team of reps to actually book them for the show, with the help of Red Hour, making sure that the people booked on the same show will have a good chemistry, represent our show well together, and etc.
  • Meetings about the set, production design, where cameras will be.
  • Hire our live show staff to work on the TV show, figure out what their roles will be. (Our PAs, audience coordinator, and talent coordinator were all live show staff)
  • Updating Comedy Central on stuff, as often as they like.
  • People drop out of tapings. I replace them.
  • Field requests from comics to do the TV show.
  • Work with the venue, Comedy Central, and our production staff to make sure everyone is okay with how the TV show tapings will run.
  • Hire and train the audience coordinator, who works on the live show.
  • Post the TV show tapings.
  • Meetings with staff about what Jonah and Kumail’s openings will be for the show.
  • Discussions about how we can make it fun and inviting backstage for comics.
  • Endlessly asking pals to stop by and hang out during tapings.
  • Pre-taping days, make sure comics have everything they need, setting up blocking for director if necessary. (we don’t know what they’re doing ahead of time)
  • On taping days, arriving to make sure everyone knows their jobs and how they should be doing them. Get hair and makeup. Get audience set up in the room, maintaining the integrity of the live show despite all the cameras and etc. Once the show starts, there is no stopping it, and then I’m just running the live show- timing and lighting comedians, making sure things are happening backstage, hanging out. Repeat for the second taping.
  • Take requests from comics about what they want and don’t want
  • Go through editing sessions for each episode, at least three.
  • Sound and picture sessions to make sure everything looks and sounds like our room- two per episode.
  • Field press requests.
  • Email comics on the show to make sure they know how to Tweet about the show if they want.
  • Watch show with a smile on my face.
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