When Fred Silverman, NBC and Viacom speculatively cleared 40% of the country for a daily half-hour strip starring Chicago radio personality Jonathon Brandmeier, there was only one hitch – Brandmeier had not signed on for the show.
That little technicality was corrected Jan. 24 when Brandmeier signed a pact giving him executive-producer status along with Silverman.
“Johnny B. On The Loose” will go into production here in April and on the air in June. The 21-week series is being sold on barter basis for use in latenight or fringe time slots.
Brandmeier, who also has a band, Leisure Suit, said “Johnny B. On The Loose” will not be a standard, desk-and-sofa chat show. Instead, it will include such things as taped segments, satellite feeds, man-in-the-street spots and audience interaction.
“I don’t like to do anything predictable, to fall into a routine,” Brandmeier said. “That makes me bored and when I get bored, the audience gets bored.’
The program will be produced in Chicago’s NBC Towers studio, also home to Warner Bros.’ “Jenny Jones” (see story on page 38).
NBC’s original talent development deal with Brandmeier, much ballyhooed by NBC in April ’89, expired this month with only one latenight special, a featured role in a tv pic and one week of guest-hosting on “Late Night With Bob Costas” to show for it.
Brandmeier, who was frustrated by the bureaucratic machinery at NBC and unhappy with the idea of working on specials that hampered his spontaneous style, reportedly was not unhappy at the prospect of being dropped by the network when his option came up.
Silverman, who helped engineer the original NBC deal and has worked closely with Brandmeier, stepped into the breach by showing Viacom an unaired half-hour spec Brandmeier had shot for NBC in Burbank. Viacom was sufficiently impressed by that show, and by Brandmeier’s previous one-hour special for NBC, to shop the show around at NATPE. The response was positive.
NBC is renewing Brandmeier’s contract for three years, with an optional fourth year, and producing the show in association with the Pierce/Silverman company and Brandmeier Prods. Viacom is the distributor.