Fetch the Remote

“Plenty of things will grab a dog’s attention: squirrels, tennis balls, funny smells, other dogs. But a TV channel? Absolutely, say the makers of DogTV, the first cable network to deliver 24-hour programming for dogs.” — The New York Times

“Okay, I’ve had Wolf Blitzer’s agent on the phone for an hour, and he’s not going to sign. Without Wolf, we don’t have a morning show. Not after we lost Ellen Barkin. We can’t keep rerunning Fox & Friends.”

“Our audience loves Fox & Friends. Especially the fox. I don’t think the morning is our problem. Throw a few reruns of Bones in there, and everyone’s happy.”

“I didn’t get into this business just to program reruns. I want to develop new programming. I just screened the pilot of Ruff Justice, and I think it’s a winner. We can pair that with Mike & Collie and that’s Monday night, completely taken care of.”

“Yeah, at a thousand times the cost of our flying frisbee show — and we haven’t had a single complaint about twelve hours a day of flying frisbees. I don’t know what you’re worried about.”

“I’m worried about stagnation. We can’t keep running frisbees, mailmen, Lassie episodes from twenty years ago, and old Alan Ladd movies and expect our audience to stick around. We have to innovate. I have a doggerel competition in development — surely we can do something with that. I’ve had interest from Claire Danes to be the moderator — she’d obviously be great. She even volunteered to read some Archibald MacLeish poems.”

“Did you even read the focus group reports? Our audience wants Goofy and Pluto cartoons, Alpo infomercials, and selected episodes of America’s Funniest Home Videos — at least three times a day. You’re barking up the wrong tree. They don’t want highbrow.”

“They don’t know what they want until we give it to them. I want to do a political hour. I have a call in to Barbara Boxer. She’d be perfect. Plus, Angela Bassett is interested in narrating a documentary about the Bouvier family.”

“Don’t be so cavalier — you’re not listening. I want wagging tales and fetching beauties. You saw what happened with your attempt last season at a game show.”

Heel of Fortune could have been a huge hit if we gave it more time. There’s a learning curve. Our audience needed to get used to the format. We had the perfect host, and now I don’t know if Bob Barker will even take our calls. You’re not thinking about the future. At some point, we’re not going to have any episodes of Benji left in the vault.”

“Then we’ll run them again. Our viewers won’t know the difference.”

“This is what you always do — you underestimate our audience. We don’t have to pander to the lowest common denominator. We can enlighten while we entertain. I’m not saying we need to cancel the bouncing balls. I’m just saying we don’t need to run a marathon of them every single weekend. What about some service journalism, a Jim Shepard story reading, or maybe an evening concert with the Pointer Sisters?”


“We don’t have the budget for any of that.” 

“Which is why no one watches our late-night programming. It’s all infomercials for chew toys and three hours of a dancing stick.”

“That stick gets our highest ratings.”

“We can do better — especially with our older, more mature, middle of the night viewers. I know I’ve pitched this before…”

“No — for the last time — DogTV After Dark is off the table.”

“I’m just saying, there’s an audience for that kind of thing. And we already have the collars and restraints…”

“There is not an audience for that kind of thing.”

“At least let me develop some reality shows. Jersey Paw?  Actual Dog the Bounty Hunter?”

“No. We just need more frisbees. You get me more frisbees, and then we’ll talk. They are the warp and woof of our business”

“Fine, Buster. I’ll get you more frisbees.”

“Thanks, Buddy. I appreciate it. And I hope the station owner gets back soon. I really need someone to take me out.” 

Jeremy Blachman wishes his apartment building allowed dogs.