On To Something

Ideas that'll get the doc biz buzzing
September 1, 2004

TV: Taking Care of Business

Season two of nbc’s The Apprentice begins September 9, with high profile corporate placements a sure bet. The show’s success set off a trend for business-themed programs that’s currently gripping the reality genre. Notable among the spin-offs is TLC’s upcoming Taking Care of Business. More than half of all small businesses in the U.S. fail in their first five years, but the Discovery net is betting that if Starbucks and Krispy Kreme can become multinational corporations, so might others. The 13-part series sees its five hosts try to turn around failing businesses. Debuting October 16, the program counts Visa among its sponsors.

DVD: Fahrenheit 9/11

Timing is everything – just ask Michael Moore, whose Fahrenheit 9/11 has made US$115 million at the box office is the U.S. while Kerry and Bush battle daily for the top seat in the White House. Next is the Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment release of the DVD on October 5 – one month before U.S. citizens head to the polls. Bonus features include deleted scenes with titles such as ‘Outside Abu Ghraib Prison.’ Just for reference, Bowling for Columbine did about $100 million in DVD sales, or five times its box office. Also prepped for DVD release is Grizzly Adams Productions’ George W. Bush: Faith in the White House, which challenges Moore’s critique of the U.S. president. Religious trade FaithWorks is distributing, with a theatrical release possible for autumn. Only time will tell how this doc fares.

Big Screen: The Year of the Yao

Broadcast conglomerates and indie prodcos alike have been eager to gain entry into the Chinese TV market. Given the country’s 1.2 billion population, an early toe-hold promises huge revenue potential.

But what’s coming out of China is just as big – seven feet six inches, to be exact – and NBA Entertainment and Endgame Entertainment have already captured this audience pleaser, spending a meager $1.5 million to do so. Premiering at TIFF, The Year of the Yao follows Chinese basketball legend Yao Ming in his first year in the NBA. The most recognizable figure from China since Mao Tse Tung, Yao faced culture shock and Shaquille O’Neal while shouldering the burden of representing his vast homeland. Try doing that while dribbling a ball.

About The Author
Daniele Alcinii is a news reporter at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joins the rs team with journalism experience following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.