Producer will prod Dems to deliver

Kirshner ready for politco battle at convention, against TV competish

The show must go on — a point not lost on producer Ricky Kirshner as he ventures forth with his third Democratic National Convention.

While the national political conventions long ago lost any element of surprise, that’s not going to stop Kirshner, whose credits include a string of TV extravaganzas, from trying to find water at the oasis when the Democratic confab gets under way Monday.

It’s the first time the Dems have descended on L.A. since 1960, when John F. Kennedy was nominated.

Kirshner was relaxed as he took Daily Variety on a tour of the Staples Center in downtown L.A., pointing out the 150,000 balloons being stored in 80 huge nylon bags that will be released Thursday night when presumptive presidential candidate Al Gore accepts his party’s nomination. A thousand pounds of confetti also will be dropped.

“Of course, we don’t dump it all on one person,” Kirshner joked.

He knows most of the news types by now and quickly helped out when a group of producers told him the state signs positioned throughout Staples were too high and spoiling their camera shots. No problem — the metal poles can be cut and shortened, Kirshner told them.

His immediate crew includes 500 stagehands, who run a complex network of lights, audio systems and cameras. The podium moves up and down — a maneuver that requires two keys. And there’s a 360-degree Webcam located in the podium for Internet fans at home.

Like Kirshner, most crew members seemed relaxed, at least compared to the politicos, who were handling the first wave of media arrivals. The adjacent Convention Center is devoted entirely to the 15,000 members of the media expected.

On the outside, the LAPD is preparing for a series of planned protests throughout the week. Political rock band Rage Against the Machine has applied for a permit to play on the Staples perimeter Monday. A police spokesman said no such permit has been granted yet.

Whether more airtime is given to the Democratic convention itself than to the Republican, held July 31-Aug. 3 in Philadelphia, remains to be seen.

“The surprise is someone who is going to go out there and mesmerize this place. It won’t be someone singing the national anthem. Hopefully, it will be Gore’s speech this year,” said Kirshner.

The Democratic National Committee on Thursday released its speaker list, which includes President Clinton, first lady and New York Senate candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton, New Jersey Sen. Bill Bradley, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg.

Michael Sheehan, a prominent speech-writing consultant, has the task of prepping each speaker — even the candidates. He’s already set up in a room backstage, ready to fine-tune.

“We know,” Sheehan said, “that we’re up against ‘Survivor’ and ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.’ “

More TV

  • Punisher Jessica Jones

    Marvel's 'The Punisher,' 'Jessica Jones' Canceled at Netflix

    The last of Netflix’s Marvel shows are officially ending. “The Punisher” has been canceled after its second season, and the upcoming third season of “Jessica Jones” will be its last, Netflix confirmed on Monday. The news comes after Netflix gave the ax to its other Marvel series: “Daredevil,” “Iron First,” and “Luke Cage.” “Marvel’s ‘The Punisher’ will [...]

  • SND Boards Comedy Series 'Family Shake'

    SND Boards Comedy Series 'Family Shake' With 'Desperate Parents' Producer

    SND, the commercial arm of the French TV network M6, has acquired worldwide distribution rights to “Family Shake,” a comedy series written by Baya Kasmi and Michel Leclerc. SND is the latest vertically integrated French film group to start handling live-action series, following TF1 Studio, Studiocanal and Gaumont, among others. Produced by Gaëlle Cholet at [...]

  • 'Super Shiro' Anime Series Inspired by

    'Super Shiro' Anime Series Inspired by 'Crayon Shin-chan'

    The enduringly popular Japanese cartoon franchise “Crayon Shin-chan” has inspired a new animated TV series, “Super Shiro.” “Crayon Shin-chan” has been on air since 1992 and inspired 26 feature films. “Super Shiro” is a fast-paced chase series, for kids, based on original IP by Yoshito Usui and scripted by on Kimiko Ueno.  The series is [...]

  • Us Television Writers and Producers Maria

    Mad Men’s’ Andre, Maria Jacquemetton Set for Series Mania’s UGC Writers Campus

    MADRID — André and Maria Jacquemetton, the Emmy and WGA Award-winning writer-producers of AMC’s “Mad Men” and consulting producers on Amazon Studios’ “The Romanoffs,” will serve as Guests of Honor at Series Mania’s UGC Writers Campus, a workshop whose participants include Denmark’s Christina Miller-Harris and Israel’s Noy Carmel. The Jacquemettons will deliver a masterclass and [...]

  • China Plans Remake of BBC Time-Travel

    China Plans Remake of BBC Time-Travel Cop Show ‘Life on Mars’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    A Chinese “Life on Mars” is in the works after BBC Studios and Phoenix Entertainment inked a deal to create a Mandarin-language version of the time-travel cop series. BBC Studios will officially unveil the format deal at Showcase, its annual programming market for international buyers, which is now underway in Liverpool, England. “Life on Mars” [...]

  • DF-10193 – L-R: Ben Hardy (Roger Taylor),

    'Bohemian Rhapsody' Leads MPSE Golden Reel Awards for Sound Editing

    “Bohemian Rhapsody” followed up love from Cinema Audio Society sound mixers with a pair of honors at the Motion Picture Sound Editors’ 66th annual Golden Reel Awards Sunday night. The musical biopic scored wins for dialogue and ADR as well as sound editing in a musical. The film is nominated for sound editing at the Oscars [...]

  • Melissa McCarthy as "Lee Israel" and

    WGA Awards 2019: 'Can You Ever Forgive Me?,' 'Eighth Grade' Win Screenplay Awards

    In a pair of upsets, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” has won the Writers Guild of America’s adapted screenplay award for Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty and Bo Burnham has won the original screenplay award for “Eighth Grade.” The major television trophies went to “The Americans,” “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “Homeland” and “Barry” for the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content