Barry Glazer, a four-time Emmy winning director, has teamed up with talk-show powerhouse Regis Philbin to develop prime-time television entertainment programming that could see a return to a modern-day variety show.
The unique partnership also includes cable television veteran Edward Walson and writer-producer-show runner Cort Casady. Where it goes is anyone’s guess, but Regis is focused on family entertainment.
“[An] entertainment type of show would appeal to me,” Philbin told The New York Post. “Almost a variety show. In our business you don’t want to say variety because it’s frowned upon now, but something with people who are performing.”
Philbin said the company, known as RAF (Regis and Friends) Television, is also contemplating a talent show, “but it involves the whole family, a family competition, which is something new in our business. It’s going to be on prime time when it happens,” he said.
Glazer brings a lot of experience to the table. He began his career as Executive Producer and Director of TV’s longest-running entertainment series, “American Bandstand” with Dick Clark. He went on to direct ABC’s popular “In Concert” series and countless music specials, network anniversary shows, game shows, pageants and comedy concerts.
Glazer has also helmed an assortment of talk shows including “The Tony Danza Show,” “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and, most recently, “The Talk” on CBS. He sat down with TheImproper to offer some insight into RAF’s plans to reshape television.
IM: Tell us about your company with Regis.
Glazer: Regis was on the Live show for 28 years, and he and I have partnered with Emmy Award winning writer/producer Cort Casady and Edward Walson, who has been involved in the cable TV industry in Pennsylvania and New Jersey since 1990.
IM: Is RAF working on anything you can tell us about?
Glazer: We have several shows we have developed and pitching and making sizzle reels [for] family show, variety, game, talk shows.
IM: Do you prefer live performance, or interview-type shows like the Danza show?
Glazer: Actually ‘The Tony Danza Show’ was live, five days a week for two years. It was different every day with total surprises and outrageous jokes that startled even the executives. Directing live music concerts and variety shows are very demanding because so many people are involved; managers, agents and publicity people all want their clients to look and sound good and it would all come down on the producers and director to fulfill their wishes. There is nothing like directing a live show and know instinctively how to solve a problem on the spot when millions of viewers are watching.
IM: Your time at American Bandstand was monumental; can you give us some of your best moments there?
Glazer: There were so many. When new artists would come to ‘American Bandstand’ to break in a new record I would like to think that I was instrumental by creatively directing their songs that might hit the charts that month. Songs by Neil Diamond, Madonna, John Travolta, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, The Jackson 5, The Rolling Stones. Directing in the control room, calling camera shots, lighting effects, getting the dancers rev’d up and hearing these new artists sing their hearts out was an unbelievable thrill.
The staff, the crew, the audience and Dick Clark all knew the song was going to be a huge hit and the place would explode and I loved being a part of it all! My association with the top managers, agents, choreographers and of course my dedication and friendship with Dick Clark and his wife Kari helped pave the way for my future career in television.IM: What does a director do?
Glazer: First and foremost, DO THE HOMEWORK before you walk into the studio. That means listen to the song the artist will be performing days in advance. Plan what the look will be, camera shots, lighting, sound, art work, etc. Have detail meetings with the audio crew, the camera crew and the lighting crew on how the tape day will be planned out.
At times we would tape five one-hour shows in one day (two before lunch and three after) so if we didn’t have an early morning meeting to tell everyone exactly what is to be expected, hour-by-hour, it would have been total chaos! I also would instruct the dancers not to look at the camera, to keep up with the fashions and to learn the newest dance steps and dance their behinds off!! I also would have meetings with Dick and the producers for any new things we needed to introduce into the show.
IM: What have been among your most favorites directing-gigs?
Glazer: American Bandstand will always come first along with the 40 years directing “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.” I loved directing “The Ellen DeGeneres” show because she would always crack up the crew on stage and in the control room. And if you know crew people–they’ve seen it all–but loved Ellen! I also favor directing live shows, red carpet specials, Orange Bowl Parades, talk shows, In Concert projects.
One of the best times I had was directing “The Tony Danza Show” in New York. It was live every morning at 10am so the crew would start the day around 5 in the morning preparing all the bits that were planned the day before At times it was last minute planning and everyone getting it together. We would sometimes have a cold opening which would be planned (open in the streets, open back stage, open in Tony’s dressing room, etc). However, there were times when there were no plans for the opening and Tony would tell me not to worry and just follow his lead. We had no idea what he was going to do when suddenly 30 seconds to air he would call me in the control room to bring a couple of camera’s out in the street because he wanted to skate down Columbus Ave.
I would then get the cameras and our audio crew quickly to the streets while my assistant director was counting down the time to air–10, 9, 8, 7,–Flying by the seat of our pants was frightening and a great rush and I loved it, especially working with Tony who would never panic and break us up into hysterics.
IM: Who were your mentors?
IM: Working with Dick Clark must have been amazing; can you give us some insights?
Glazer: Dick is not only television personality, but a clever producer and most of all one of the shrewdest businessmen I know. He had a wonderful instinct to know what was a winner; be it a TV show, a piece of property, a Broadway show. Dick was not afraid of anything, or anyone. He would yell at a network president and then in the afternoon have lunch with him.
He is a great believer in trying out things for Bandstand. He would make sure we were all up in the latest dances, fashions, hair styles and most of all any new releases or new acts we should have on AB. Dick was a very hard working guy that always had time for everyone, from the biggest producer to a page in the studio. But away from the office and studio he knew how to have fun, relax and just be one of the guys.