Fred de Cordova and The Inside Story of Soap: Next on TVC

Authors Mark Bennett and A.S. Berman will join us on a special encore edition of TV CONFIDENTIAL, Friday at 7pm ET and PT on Share-a-Vision Radio, KSAV.org.

In the early 1990s, Fred de Cordova — the legendary producer and director of such classic television series as The Jack Benny Program, Burns and Allen, The George Gobel Show, My Three Sons, The Bob Cummings Show and The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson — was more or less winding down his career when he happened to meet Mark Bennett, a young actor and producer who at the time had recently relocated to Los Angeles from his native Colorado. In an unlikely twist, Fred not only became Mark’s friend and mentor, but would lead Mark on a journey that would change both their lives.

That story is at the heart of The Big Show, a memoir of Mark’s years working with Fred de Cordova. Though set in the world of set business, The Big Show is, at its heart, a story about mentorship that readers will enjoy no matter what their profession. The book includes a very heartfelt foreword by comedian Bob Newhart. Mark Bennett will join us in our first hour.

This week’s program will also include a replay of our conversation from May 2014 about Soap, the long-running ABC comedy series that was as passionate and controversial as the era in which it was made (1977-1981). Though often dismissed as a mere parody of daytime soap operas, Soap tackled sex, death, depression, infidelity, homosexuality, transsexuality and other taboo subjects with a wit and gentleness that had never been seen on American television. It was also a show that both ad-hoc groups and the mainstream media universally hated ― albeit for different reasons ― long before a single episode ever actually aired. But Soap not only survived all the controversy, it thrived, launching the careers of Billy Crystal, Robert Guillaume, and Katherine Helmond, while also establishing Susan Harris as one of television’s premier writer/producers.

Soap is also the subject of Soap: The Unauthorized Inside Story of the Sitcom That Broke ALL The Rules, an excellent book by A.S. Berman that includes a foreword by Soap actor Jay Johnson. A.S. Berman will join us for an extended conversation that will begin near the end of our first hour.

 

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