Brush with Greatness


Mark's Friggin' Visit To In Demand Production Office / Launch Party - Wednesday, November 16, 2005

In Demand Production Office Tour

Sometimes all of the work I do with this friggin dot com of mine does pay off. I recently got an invite from Doug Goodstein to visit the In Demand production studio and to go to the launch party for Howard Stern On Demand. How could I turn down that offer?

Goodstein, who used to work for E! Entertainment producing Howard's E! show, is now Executive Producer for Howard Stern On Demand. He invited me and Mutt (AKA Jeff) from to tour the production studio and offices at In Demand where they'll be producing Howard Stern On Demand. Me and my wife headed into the city a little early in the afternoon to make sure we had plenty of time to deal with the traffic that we might run into. We got there an hour early so we ended up walking around the city a bit to find where the party was going to be held later that night. After that we headed up to In Demand's offices to meet with Doug.

We met up with Doug who brought us back to his office to kill a few minutes while we waited for Jeff and his girl Kim to show up since we got there a bit early. Doug left us to watch some In Demand programming on his HD TV while he went to meet with the CEO for a couple of minutes. He also gave us a list of the programming that was going to be available for the Howard Stern On Demand launch. Right now all of that content is re-cut and edited E! show footage... but it's going to be uncensored! No more bleeps or blurs!

Jeff and Kim showed up a short time later so Doug started our tour of the offices there at In Demand. The first stop was the ''prop closet'' where they've stored a bunch of the old props from the E! show. Doug said they couldn't save everything but did save the important stuff like the beekeeper's mask, birka and welder's mask that Gary was forced to wear whenever Howard had hot chicks in the studio. They had a ton of other props that any big fan would recognize from the old E! shows. Jeff took some pictures of the prop room but his camera didn't have a memory card in it... oops! Doug later gave him another digital camera to use so he could snap pictures in other areas.

Doug showed us another storage room where they had thousands of Beta video tapes of old E! shows and raw footage that they shot when they were still doing the E! show. They've also started to shoot some new stuff, in High Def, for Howard Stern On Demand. So far this was turning out to be a Stern Super Fan's wet dream. All of this Howard Stern content was overwhelming.

We were introduced to the crew who are already hard at work on getting shows ready to go on Howard Stern On Demand. Many of the people working on the show were brought over from E!. Isaac Mark, Richie Wilson and Mike Gange were all there so it was nice to see some familiar faces. There are many others working on the show as well but I'm so bad with names that I couldn't remember them if my friggin life depended on it.

Doug walked us through the process of getting the shows re-cut, encoded and uploaded to the servers that allow people to watch Howard Stern On Demand. We were shown the equipment that's used and had people explaining how it works. It's very impressive stuff. We were even shown some of the content that will be available starting November 18th. Editor Joe Miklaszewski, who has a friggin sweet editing set up, showed us the new opening they'll be using for the new shows. Doug told us that we were probably the first ''super fans'' to see that opening. The opening alone is awesome. It features Howard dressed as a Ring Master and tons of cool effects and graphics in the mix. There's so much going on in the opening that people will be pausing it just to see what they're missing.

The show opening wasn't the only footage we got to see. Joe also showed us a 5 minute segment that Howard has mentioned on the air. It was raw footage they shot out in the halls at K-Rock where Sal and Richard, dressed as Tonto the Stockbroker and Cowboy Christy, bust Ronnie the Limo Driver's balls by sticking their junk in his face and just drive him nuts. The short segment was hilarious and un-friggin-censored so it's almost like being there in the halls with them. That 5 minute segment is just a sample of what will be available On Demand. The segments that are available On Demand can be 5 minutes, or 45 minutes, they won't be just 30 minute shows like they were on E!... and that's just for the classic shows. There's more to come when Howard moves to Sirius Satellite Radio.

Once Howard moves to Sirius Satellite Radio in January, his show will be recorded in High-Def video. The video feed will be fed directly to the In Demand offices where it will be stored on an amazingly complex computer system that allows them to edit it as it's being saved. The show will be edited and uploaded within about 36 hours for distribution on the On Demand system. Each day, once the new programming is made available in April, there will be new content for people to watch and it will be in High-Def. There won't be any bleeps and blurs in that stuff either. Eventually they plan on having hundreds of hours of content for people to watch On Demand.

Doug also treated us to a sneak peak at the plans for Howard's new studio over at SIRIUS. He brought us over to visit Scott DePace who had a few artists renderings of what the studio will look like and the actual floor plans that we got to peek at. No pictures were allowed. That was all top secret stuff. As I said before, we were introduced to a lot of people over there, including the CEO of In Demand, Rob Jacobson. Rob, and everyone else, were very nice and seemed to be very motivated to bring the fans what they want.

After our tour of the production process, Jeff and I were brought into a conference room for a bit of an impromptu interview with a marketing person by the name of Marjorie. The interview was videotaped in High Def. First of all, I have no business being on camera, especially in High Def. I don't talk much when I'm not nervous so when I get in front of a camera, I really clam up. Luckily Jeff isn't shy and had plenty of great questions and answers for Marjorie. I locked up, turned into a retard, and had no idea what to say. The interview didn't last too long, they just wanted to get an idea of what we were interested in and what kind of shows we might want to see. Jeff also asked a lot of questions about how the service will work and who will be able to get it. Check the Howard Stern On Demand Fact Sheet for more on that.

The Launch Party

After we were done at the In Demand offices everyone headed down to the launch party which was held at the Sugar Bar on Church Street. On the way out we picked up High Pitch Eric who was out in the waiting room at In Demand. I got stuck behind him in the elevator but didn't notice any unusual smells coming from him like they've described on Howard's show before. That was a pleasant surprise!

Sugar was packed by the time we got there which was about an hour after the party started. Everyone from the show was invited but not many of them made it to the party. We did get to hang out with the likes of Richard Christy, Benjy Bronk, Dan the Song Parody Man, Will Murray, former intern Steve Grillo, former office manager Annemarie and many others. Everyone was really cool to me and my wife. I got a lot of positive feedback about my site and I still can't believe how popular it remains even though now has a daily synopsis. Go figure.

Well, that was a very interesting evening for me and the wife. I can't wait to get my Howard Stern On Demand... but I'll have to wait until next month to do that. I'll be moving to a new home around Christmas where I'll have Comcast cable. I'm dropping my DirecTV satellite system to go back to cable just so I'll be able to see these great shows. You'll have to check with your local cable company to see if Howard Stern On Demand is available in your area. If they don't have it, beg them to make it available.

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