Thomas Miller, TV comedy producer, dies aged 79

Thomas Miller, a producer who has been instrumental in creating hit TV shows including “Happy Days”, “Laverne & Shirley” and “Full House” as well as the films “Silver Streak” and “Foul Play” , died Sunday at the age of 79.

The cause of death was complications from heart disease, according to Warner Bros., its longtime production house. He died at his home in Connecticut.

Mr. Miller was best known along with his professional and personal partner, Robert Boyett, for developing family-style television comedies. The hit shows launched by Miller / Boyett Productions included “Family Matters,” “Full House,” “Perfect Strangers,” and “Step by Step,” all of which were staples of ABC’s prime-time programming in the UK. 1980s and 1990s.

A native of Milwaukee, Mr. Miller arrived in Los Angeles in 1962 and landed a job as a dialogue coach for director Billy Wilder. He has worked on several director’s classics, including “The Fortune Cookie”. He then moved to executive television roles at Twentieth Century Fox and Paramount Studios, where he oversaw the development of several hits including “The Odd Couple” and “Love American Style”.

After leaving Paramount to become a producer, Mr. Miller founded a company with Edward Milkis. Along with producer Garry Marshall, they were part of the team behind ABC’s hits “Happy Days”, “Laverne & Shirley” and “Mork & Mindy”. Miller-Milkis Productions also directed the hit films “Silver Streak” with Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder and “Foul Play” with Goldie Hawn and Chevy Chase.


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Mediapro studio buys top Spanish comedy producer El Terrat

MADRID – After months of reported negotiations, The Mediapro Studio, the production-distribution powerhouse launched by Spanish group Mediapro in March, has acquired El Terrat from Andreu Buenafuente, Spain’s leading comedy brand.

No price has been communicated for the acquisition, which relates to 100% of the shares of El Terrat.

Founding owner of El Terrat and host of “Late Motiv” Andreu Buenafuente will continue to run El Terrat under TMS ownership, Agustí Esteve remaining executive director.

For The Mediapro Studio, the purchase represents their latest talent contract, having previously incorporated creators such as “Homeland” executive producer Ran Tellem, the Argentinian director. of time ”, co-creator Javier Olivares.

The agreement gives The Mediapro Studio access to Spain’s greatest comedic force in terms of profile, talent and production capacity. Comedy creators at El Terrat include Andreu Buenafuente himself, the epitome of late-night humor for high-end Spaniards, whose monologues on “Late Motiv” strike a note of tolerant bewilderment in the face of current events. , often of a political nature, contrasting with the bitter confrontation of contemporaries. Spain.

Other El Terrat comedians include longtime collaborator Berto Romero, creator of the sitcom “Mira lo que has hecho”, a new take on parenting and hit the Spanish pay TV / SVOD platform Movistar More , David Broncano, the fast thirty-something host of the late night show “La Resistencia”, as well as Quequé, host of the comedy news show “LocoMundo”, actor Raul Cimas, a regular on “Late Motiv” and “LocoMundo”, and popular film and television actress and imitator Silvia Abril (“Padre no hay más que uno”).

El Terrat’s current or recent production roster includes nine on-air, returning or pre-production TV shows; plus three radio shows, six theatrical productions, a comedy festival, Singlot, now in its sixth year, and two podcasts.

He may not own much intellectual property on some of these shows, but the key to the Mediapro-Terrat deal is the constant return of a now firmly established national base in Spain and the international potential of El Terrat to export its shows – the original or its formats and talents, through international co-productions or direct sales.

The purchase comes as the major platforms, so the major producers, strive to provide a full range of entertainment for consumers, functioning as near-television services. It is no coincidence that four of El Terrat’s flagship products – “Late Motiv”, “La Resistencia”, “LocoMundo”, “Mira lo que has hecho” – are all broadcast on Movistar Plus, the best television service. fee / SVOD from Spain.

Mediapro Studio has worked or is working with almost every global platform, or their companies, co-producing, for example, the Sky Atlantic / HBO / Canal Plus series “The Young Pope” and “The New Pope”, and producing “All or nothing” , Emmy Winner “Six Dreams” and “The Dinner of a Lifetime” for Amazon Prime Video. Other titles from TMS include series with, US companies, Disney, DirecTV, Viacom, Vice and Turner, with which it has a partnership multi-year production.

For El Terrat, part of The Mediapro Studio – which has 34 fiction series in various stages of production this year, while parent group Mediapro has 36 offices around the world – the purchase also marks a potentially powerful next step. for a company that helped bring Spain into the era of modern comedy.

Andreu Buenafuente’s national consecration in Spain dates back to 2005, hosting a late-night talk show “Buenafuente”, a sensation from the first season that gently broke taboos, for example the royal family, and described by Buenafuente itself as “an American make with a Latin soul.” Its sophistication has earned it the nickname in Spain “Latin Letterman”.

Steadily growing its production roster, El Terrat has always aspired to innovate on an international playing field, being briefly acquired by Frenchman Banijay Entertainment in 2009, until the reported divergence in production strategy triggered a buyout. by Buenafuente three months later.

The new Mediapro agreement will now give El Terrat the financial support, distribution and production contacts, capacity and formats to cope with its international expansion.

This comes as the comedy scene has evolved further, as established pay-TV platforms and services in Latin America are quickly adding high-end comedy acts to their offering or schedules, like “Chumel con Chumel Torres ”on HBO Latin America. The YouTube channel “Backdoor”, a Mexican version of the online comedy show Porta dos Fundos in Brazil, owned by Viacom, has attracted a first million subscribers in four months this year.


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How a Norwegian Viking comedy producer hacked Netflix’s algorithm – the Hollywood reporter

When producer Anders Tangen sold Normans To Netflix in 2017, he knew he had a winner. Period comedy about Vikings with modern issues – one leader apologizes for his “fear-based leadership style”, another hires a slave as his “creative director” – Normans seemed the perfect antidote to the gravity of Game Of Thrones.

But there was a problem. With so many shows on Netflix – its US service alone has over 1,700 TV series – how would a Norwegian Viking comedy stand out, especially when Netflix doesn’t traditionally provide a marketing push for acquisitions? (The show originally aired on the public broadcaster NRK in Norway). “You can’t blame Netflix,” says Tangen. “They have so many shows that they can’t market everything.”

The key to landing on Netflix’s radar, he knew, would be to hack its recommendation engine: get enough people interested in the show from the start. Then hopefully Netflix’s mysterious algorithm would do its job.

Netflix had given Tangen a date on August 18, 2017, for the premiere of Normans in its English-speaking territories (the show has shot consecutive versions in Norwegian and English). Three weeks before the launch, it set up a campaign on Facebook, paying for targeted Facebook posts and promotions. The posts were fairly straightforward – most included one of the show’s six short clips (20-25 seconds) and a link, either to the show’s webpage or to media coverage.

They used what’s called A / B testing – showing two versions of a campaign to different audiences and selecting the most successful one – to refine. The American campaign didn’t cost much – $ 18,500, which Tangen and his production partners edited themselves – and it was extremely precise. Tangen focused the initial campaign in and around major American cities (LA, New York, Miami, Chicago) with additional spurts in Minnesota, Wisconsin and South Dakota, three states with large ethnic Norwegian populations. He broke the potential Normans fans into seven distinct target groups, each getting their own tailor-made Facebook campaign.

In just 28 days, the Normans The campaign reached 5.5 million Facebook users, generating 2 million video views and some 6,000 subscribers for the show. Netflix noticed. “Three weeks after our launch, Netflix called me, ‘You gotta come to LA, your show is blowing up,’” Tangen recalls.

Netflix’s algorithm had started to kick in. Fans who learned about the show through Tangen’s campaign began to recommend it to their friends. Normans started appearing on Netflix’s recommendation carousel. Tangen invested an additional $ 15,000 to promote the show on Facebook around the world, using what he learned during the initial US campaign.

When Normans has come for a season two renewal, Netflix has upped its engagement, making the show a “Netflix Original,” which means more internal marketing. Season 3 is currently in production and will be released on Netflix worldwide next year.

“The lesson is, you can’t wait for Netflix or someone else to promote your show,” says Tangen. “It’s up to you to create the buzz.

This story first appeared in the August 7 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, Click here to subscribe.


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ImprovBoston welcomes comedy producer Kevin Quigley to Spotlight Mainstage series

Producer of the Boston Traveling Comedy Show, Nation of Savage Memory, Kevin Quigley is full of entertaining stories. He will join the cast of ImprovBoston Mainstage on December 15 for memorable storytelling and hilarious improvised scenes.

Production is what Quigley loves – and he’s produced skit, stand-up, and storytelling shows. He produced his shows SketchHaus, Let There Be Rock, Miyamoto’s Revenge, Haunted Haus, The Standup Jam, Comedy, America! and Super gay comedy fun moment and presents shows at ImprovBoston, The Riot, the Women in Comedy Festival and the Boston Comedy Arts Festival.

Add a director, screenwriter, actor and stand-up comic to this jack-of-all-trades resume. He directs, writes and stars in the World of Hurt sketch comedy set and performs at Nude comedy showcase and with The Allen McRae Spectacle.

Quigley is also the author of several novels, including I’m on fire and popular novel funded by Kickstarter Eating animals. His collection of short stories, This earthly hell, and two collections of poetry Fog at night in the city and Surf’s Up are available via Cemetery dance with his numerous monographs on the author Stephen king, including Dark Map, A good story and good words, and Stephen king Limit.

He is also the occasional co-host of the popular Disney podcast. WEDway now!.

About the ImprovBoston Spotlight series
The ImprovBoston Mainstage cast welcomes Boston area VIPs to their “Mainstage Spotlight Series” every Thursday. In this series, the elite comedy improvisers of ImprovBoston spotlight the hard-hitting work of a wide range of industry leaders in Greater Boston: artists, news anchors, writers, tech innovators, professors and other personalities from across the world. foreground. Through intimate interviews, improvised narratives, impromptu scenes, songs, witty banter, and inspired reimaginings, the most experienced actors of ImprovBoston shine the comedy spotlight on some of the most successful movers and shakers. more convincing from Boston.

Other upcoming guests include:

  • AaRon wilson (Actor, singer-songwriter, author), December 22 at 7:30 p.m.

  • Colin Campbell (Variety host), January 5 at 7:30 p.m.

All Spotlight Series tickets cost $ 18 and are available online at ImproBoston.com.


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