MIPCOM 2013 – KHAN MANKA, JR. MEDIA MASTERMIND KEYNOTE INTERVIEW
Khan Manka, Jr. (KM): First of all, Ben, before we start, I’d like to say, Ryan Kavanaugh is an idiot.
Ben Silverman (BS): I mostly agree with that – but don’t you think he’s doing some interesting things at Relativity television?
KM: If by ‘interesting things’ you mean ‘really suck ass crappy shit,’ then, yes, he is doing some interesting things. Is that drink mine?
BS: I think so – mine is this one – the gin fizz…
KM: OK – let’s explore Kavanaugh’s business philosophy.
(KM takes a large gulp from his cocktail.)
KM: Ryan Kavanaugh makes a lot of horrible movies and his model is to spin movie shit into TV gold. Fine, that can work. Worked with “Buffy,” we’ve had a couple of successes that way – “Norway 10″ comes to mind. But Ryan Kavanaugh is an idiot and his strategy sucks because he appears to be calling himself a genius because of it. A real genius wouldn’t consistently make all that crap. I mean, we’re talking about an unbelievably high volume of really shitty stuff here.
KM: Right right – (calling out) sorry, Luc! I was told by the MIPCOM guy, Luc, before the interview to watch my language. Executives from the Children’s Television Workshop are in the audience today.
BS: In Ryan’s defense, as long as the buyers are buying – you have to try to sell. Even if you know you have a bad show.
KM: You know all about that, right, Ben? “Mob Wives,” seriously? When you cancel that you’re going to get a bullet through the eye.
BS: It’s all about pushing the envelope.
KM: Yeah? OK – I’ve got a show for you. It’s called “Celebrity Beatdown” – every week you get some low life thugs and have them stalk and beat up a beloved celebrity. Next week, we kick the shit out of Tom Hanks.
(There are some ‘boos’ from the crowd.)
KM: Wait – wait. But imagine the ratings – every week another huge unsuspecting celebrity gets a beat down from some thug – and you can export that format, too. Next week we kick the shit out of Gerard Depardieu.
(There is some applause from the crowd.)
BS: I know you’re joking – but I like that idea. Women, too?
BS: That wasn’t me, but I did watch the show. Some of those chicks could really punch.
KM: (to the audience) – And just like that, another billion dollar franchise.
BS: You gave a keynote address last year here at MIPCOM (and, I also gave one three years ago when I launched Electus). Have things changed much since then? Where do you think the television business is heading?
KM: Definitely not where we want it to go – that’s for goddamned sure. Most studio heads and executives want things to be 1979 again. Four networks – huge ratings and we controlled the entertainment that the world saw. Now, WE still live in that world but the audience doesn’t. And nobody really works anymore – they just have meetings all day long. Because it’s really bullshit what entertainment executives do. We come up with crap ideas and then have a support team around us to tell us how great the ideas are. And very few people get fired for sucking.
(KM takes another drink. BS gets refills.)
KM: “Celebrity Diving?” Did that one come like a thunder bolt to some guy like Einstein’s Theory? Hey, I just thought up another show – “Celebrity Tennis!” Wait – another one is coming… “Celebrity Bowling!” Or better yet – the Duck Dynasty guys have a spin-off show where they join a bowling league and they bowl once a week! I’ll call it “Duck Bowling.” And then we can have “Celebrity Duck Bowling” where the Duck Dynasty guys bowl against celebrities with movies coming out the next weekend.
BS: I like it. Now you’re thinking like a global programmer.
KM: And, in conclusion, if I had a gun, I would blow my brains out. Don’t people realize that we are the reason Hollywood isn’t glamorous anymore. We are the reason young people could care less about the products we put out. We turn plumbers into heroes and celebrities into morons. And while that may be true, it’s not what we are trying to do. Hollywood is ruined and the damage is irreparable. Any questions?
(There were several questions about Manka Bros. television shows that have failed in the last year and the studio’s inability to launch any new franchises and whether James Schamus or Adam Fogelson have accepted the job offer from Manka Bros. [not yet] – but those were not recorded for this transcript.)