Alfred Schneider

Executive, Standards & Practices


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his two-and-a-half hour Archive interview, Alfred Schneider (1926-2016) talks about his early career working for ABC shortly after the formation of the network. He discusses his early role in business affairs at ABC and his subsequent move to CBS in 1955, where he became the assistant to president Louis G. Cowan. He details his role in dealing with Standards & Practices at the network as well as his return to ABC, where he became head of their Standards & Practices department. He discusses the fallout of the Quiz Show and Payola Scandals and the legislation created in their wake. He talks about his role in establishing the National Association of Broadcasters' (NAB) Code of Standards as well as network reaction to government legislation. Schneider discusses The Untouchables, That Certain Summer, The Day After, and Soap as well as other television programs. Karen Herman conducted the interview on July 22, 2004 in New York, NY.

"I felt that if the government can tell us what to put in a program, they can tell us what not to put in a program. And if they can tell you to put one thing in a program, they can propagandize. You had to be very careful, even though the message was worthwhile, that we do not become a surrogate for government propaganda."

Interviewee(s)
Highlights
Alfred Schneider on working with Producer Leonard Goldberg on his TV movie Something About Amelia, which dealt with incest
Alfred Schneider on writer/producer Susan Harris's response to being told that a scene in Soap where women were discussing sex had to be cut
Alfred Schneider on the role of the government in regulating television content and President Nixon's attempt to encourage anti-drug messages in television programs
Alfred Schneider on his pride in his work on The Day After
Alfred Schneider on advice to aspiring Standards & Practices professionals
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his childhood and early influences; on his service during World War II; on how he came to work in ABC's legal department
On the early days of ABC; on the founder of ABC, Leonard Goldenson; on the first time he saw television
On creating, with ABC Executive Jim Stabile, what may have been the very first television package deal -- for The Danny Thomas Show; on his move to CBS as Assistant Director of Business Affairs and negotiating the contract for The Phil Silvers Show; on working on contracts for Peter Falk and Barbara Walters
On the Hollywood Blacklist; on working as Executive Assistant to the President of CBS, Louis G. Cowan

Chapter 2

On the Quiz Show and Payola Scandals and his part in writing legislation in response to the scandals; on the Kefauver Congressional Committee's investigation of violence in television; on the networks' decision to create Standards & Practices departments
On the establishment of the Television Code and its contents; on working in Standards & Practices at ABC; on his greatest contributions to the TV movies and miniseries Something About Amelia, The Day After, and The Winds of War
On how the Italian-American reaction to The Untouchables led to ABC agreeing to not use the term "mafia"; on how a controversial episode of Bus Stop ("A Lion Walks Among Us") led to the demise of ABC President, Oliver E. Treyz, as well as further inquiries into the effects of violence on television

Chapter 3

On an episode of Howard K. Smith: News and Comment ("The Political Obituary of Richard M. Nixon"); on the difference between how news and entertainment are handled in terms of censorship; on the Kennedy Assassination
On why ABC passed on All in the Family; on why ABC was able to take a risk on Soap and how the network dealt with the show's depiction of controversial topics; on the decision to not allow two men to kiss on Thirtysomething
On the power of advertisers in decisions made by Standards & Practices; on the Family Viewing Hour; on That Certain Summer; on Multiplication Rock, Super Friends, and Wonder Woman; on meeting with special interest groups and handling their concerns

Chapter 4

On ABC Afterschool Specials and docudramas; on sit-in protests in response to Marcus Welby, M.D. and other ABC shows; on regulating portrayals of violence in Roots versus S.W.A.T. and The Six Million Dollar Man
On regulating Standards & Practices for Roots and Baretta; on Producer Danny Arnold throwing him off the set of Barney Miller; on Happy Days; on Three's Company
On working with Steven Bochco versus working with Aaron Spelling; on changes in the power of Standards & Practices with the rise of cable television
On the setup of the department of Standards & Practices at ABC; on overseeing the editing of feature films for television; on the television rating system and the V-chip; on how views of what is acceptable on television have changed over time

Chapter 5

On how and when sexuality and other controversial topics became acceptable on television; on Standards & Practices and the presidency; on Chair of the Federal Communications Commission, Newton N. Minow's "Vast Wasteland" speech
On Standards & Practices and the Vietnam War; on the role of government in regulating television content; on criticism he received over the years
On his legacy; on advice to aspiring Standards & Practices professionals; on advice to show creators in dealing with Standards & Practices professionals; on his book, "The Gatekeeper: My 30 Years as a TV Censor"
Shows

All in the Family

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Alfred Schneider on why ABC passed on All in the Family

Barney Miller

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Alfred Schneider on Producer Danny Arnold throwing him off the set of Barney Miller

Bus Stop

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Alfred Schneider on how a controversial episode of Bus Stop ("A Lion Walks Among Us") led to the demise of ABC President, Oliver E. Treyz, as well as further inquiries into the effects of violence on television

Danny Thomas Show, The aka Make Room for Daddy

View Show Page
Alfred Schneider on creating, with ABC Executive Jim Stabile, what may have been the very first television package deal -- for The Danny Thomas Show

Day After, The

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Alfred Schneider on his pride in his work on The Day After

Herman Wouk's The Winds of War

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Alfred Schneider on allowing nudity to be shown in The Winds of War

Howard K. Smith: News and Comment

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Alfred Schneider on an episode of Howard K. Smith: News and Comment "The Political Obituary of Richard M. Nixon"), and how it led to the formulation of a policy to protect news departments from the interference of sponsors

Marcus Welby, M.D.

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Alfred Schneider on sit-in protests by the gay community in response to Marcus Welby, M.D.

Phil Silvers Show, The aka You'll Never Get Rich aka Sergeant Bilko

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Alfred Schneider on negotiating the contract for The Phil Silvers Show as Assistant Director of Business Affairs at CBS

Roots

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Alfred Schneider on regulating portrayals of violence in Roots versus S.W.A.T. and The Six Million Dollar Man

S.W.A.T.

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Alfred Schneider on regulating portrayals of violence in Roots versus S.W.A.T. and The Six Million Dollar Man

Six Million Dollar Man, The

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Alfred Schneider on regulating portrayals of violence in Roots versus S.W.A.T. and The Six Million Dollar Man

Soap

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Alfred Schneider on why ABC was able to take a risk on Soap and how the network dealt with the show's depiction of controversial topics

Something About Amelia

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Alfred Schneider on working with Producer Leonard Goldberg on his TV movie Something About Amelia, which dealt with incest

That Certain Summer

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Alfred Schneider on negotiating the depiction of the controversial subject matter of That Certain Summer

Thirtysomething

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Alfred Schneider on the decision not to allow two men to kiss on Thirtysomething

Untouchables, The

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Alfred Schneider on how the Italian-American reaction to The Untouchables led to ABC agreeing to not use the term "mafia"
Topics

Advertising and Sponsorship

View Topic
Alfred Schneider on how an advertiser's displeasure with an episode of Howard K. Smith: News and Comment ("The Political Obituary of Richard M. Nixon") led to the formulation of a policy to protect news departments from the interference of sponsors
Alfred Schneider on the power of advertisers in decisions made by Standards & Practices

Advice

View Topic
Alfred Schneider on advice to aspiring Standards & Practices professionals
Alfred Schneider on advice to show creators in dealing with Standards & Practices professionals

Censorship / Standards & Practices

View Topic
Alfred Schneider on the establishment of the Television Code and its contents
Alfred Schneider on working in Standards & Practices at ABC
Alfred Schneider on working with Producer Leonard Goldberg on his TV movie Something About Amelia, which dealt with incest
Alfred Schneider on his pride in his work on The Day After
Alfred Schneider on allowing nudity to be shown in The Winds of War
Alfred Schneider on a controversial episode of Bus Stop ("A Lion Walks Among Us") and how it led to further inquiries into the effects of violence on television
Alfred Schneider on the difference between how news and entertainment are handled in terms of censorship
Alfred Schneider on why ABC was able to take a risk on Soap and how the network dealt with the show's depiction of controversial topics
Alfred Schneider on the decision not to allow two men to kiss on Thirtysomething
Alfred Schneider on the power of advertisers in decisions made by Standards & Practices
Alfred Schneider on negotiating the depiction of the controversial subject matter of That Certain Summer
Alfred Schneider on meeting with special interest groups and handling their concerns about portrayals of certain groups and depictions of controversial topics on television
Alfred Schneider on regulating portrayals of violence in Roots versus S.W.A.T. and The Six Million Dollar Man
Alfred Schneider on Producer Danny Arnold throwing him off the set of Barney Miller
Alfred Schneider on working with Steven Bochco versus working with Aaron Spelling
Alfred Schneider on how and why portrayals of sexuality and other controversial topics have become more acceptable over time on television
Alfred Schneider on the role of the government in regulating television content
Alfred Schneider on the criticism he received over the course of his career and being the "conscience of the company"

Criticism of TV

View Topic
Alfred Schneider on a controversial episode of Bus Stop ("A Lion Walks Among Us") and how it led to further inquiries into the effects of violence on television
Alfred Schneider on regulating portrayals of violence in Roots versus S.W.A.T. and The Six Million Dollar Man
Alfred Schneider on how and why portrayals of sexuality and other controversial topics have become more acceptable over time on television
Alfred Schneider on Chair of the Federal Communications Commission, Newton N. Minow's "Vast Wasteland" speech

Diversity in Television

View Topic
Alfred Schneider on the decision not to allow two men to kiss on Thirtysomething
Alfred Schneider on writer/producer Susan Harris's response to being told that a scene in Soap where women were discussing sex had to be cut
Alfred Schneider on negotiating the depiction of the controversial subject matter of That Certain Summer
Alfred Schneider on meeting with special interest groups and handling their concerns about portrayals of certain groups and depictions of controversial topics on television
Alfred Schneider on sit-in protests by the gay community in response to Marcus Welby, M.D.

Historic Events and Social Change

View Topic
Alfred Schneider on the decision not to allow two men to kiss on Thirtysomething
Alfred Schneider on writer/producer Susan Harris's response to being told that a scene in Soap where women were discussing sex had to be cut
Alfred Schneider on negotiating the depiction of the controversial subject matter of That Certain Summer
Alfred Schneider on meeting with special interest groups and handling their concerns about portrayals of certain groups and depictions of controversial topics on television
Alfred Schneider on sit-in protests by the gay community in response to Marcus Welby, M.D.

Hollywood Blacklist

View Topic
Alfred Schneider on dealing with the Hollywood Blacklist as an executive at CBS

Industry Crossroads

View Topic
Alfred Schneider on dealing with the Hollywood Blacklist as an executive at CBS
Alfred Schneider on the Quiz Show and Payola Scandals and his part in writing legislation in response to the scandals

LGBTQ

View Topic
Alfred Schneider on the decision not to allow two men to kiss on Thirtysomething
Alfred Schneider on negotiating the depiction of the controversial subject matter of That Certain Summer
Alfred Schneider on sit-in protests by the gay community in response to Marcus Welby, M.D.

Quiz Show Scandals

View Topic
Alfred Schneider on the Quiz Show and Payola Scandals and his part in writing legislation in response to the scandals

Richard M. Nixon

View Topic
Alfred Schneider on an episode of Howard K. Smith: News and Comment ("The Political Obituary of Richard M. Nixon"), and how it led to the formulation of a policy to protect news departments from the interference of sponsors
Alfred Schneider on the role of the government in regulating television content and President Nixon's attempt to encourage anti-drug messages in television programs

Sex & Violence

View Topic
Alfred Schneider on a controversial episode of Bus Stop ("A Lion Walks Among Us") and how it led to further inquiries into the effects of violence on television
Alfred Schneider on regulating portrayals of violence in Roots versus S.W.A.T. and The Six Million Dollar Man
Alfred Schneider on how and why portrayals of sexuality and other controversial topics have become more acceptable over time on television

Television Industry

View Topic
Alfred Schneider on creating, with ABC Executive Jim Stabile, what may have been the very first television package deal -- for The Danny Thomas Show
Alfred Schneider on dealing with the Hollywood Blacklist as an executive at CBS
Alfred Schneider on the Quiz Show and Payola Scandals and his part in writing legislation in response to the scandals
Alfred Schneider on the establishment of the Television Code and its contents
Alfred Schneider on working in Standards & Practices at ABC
Alfred Schneider on working with Producer Leonard Goldberg on his TV movie Something About Amelia, which dealt with incest
Alfred Schneider on his pride in his work on The Day After
Alfred Schneider on allowing nudity to be shown in The Winds of War
Alfred Schneider on a controversial episode of Bus Stop ("A Lion Walks Among Us") and how it led to further inquiries into the effects of violence on television
Alfred Schneider, Standards & Practices executive, on how an advertiser's displeasure with an episode of Howard K. Smith: News and Comment ("The Political Obituary of Richard M. Nixon") led to the formulation of a policy to protect news departments from the interference of sponsors
Alfred Schneider on the difference between how news and entertainment are handled in terms of censorship
Alfred Schneider on why ABC was able to take a risk on Soap and how the network dealt with the show's depiction of controversial topics
Alfred Schneider on the decision not to allow two men to kiss on Thirtysomething
Alfred Schneider on the power of advertisers in decisions made by Standards & Practices
Alfred Schneider on negotiating the depiction of the controversial subject matter of That Certain Summer
Alfred Schneider on meeting with special interest groups and handling their concerns about portrayals of certain groups and depictions of controversial topics on television
Alfred Schneider on regulating portrayals of violence in Roots versus S.W.A.T. and The Six Million Dollar Man
Alfred Schneider on Producer Danny Arnold throwing him off the set of Barney Miller
Alfred Schneider on working with Steven Bochco versus working with Aaron Spelling
Alfred Schneider on how and why portrayals of sexuality and other controversial topics have become more acceptable over time on television
Alfred Schneider on Chair of the Federal Communications Commission, Newton N. Minow's "Vast Wasteland" speech
Alfred Schneider on the role of the government in regulating television content
Alfred Schneider on the criticism he received over the course of his career and being the "conscience of the company"
Alfred Schneider on advice to aspiring Standards & Practices professionals
Alfred Schneider on advice to show creators in dealing with Standards & Practices professionals

Television and the Presidency

View Topic
Alfred Schneider on an episode of Howard K. Smith: News and Comment ("The Political Obituary of Richard M. Nixon"), and how it led to the formulation of a policy to protect news departments from the interference of sponsors
Alfred Schneider on the relationship between Standards & Practices and the presidency
Alfred Schneider on the role of the government in regulating television content and President Nixon's attempt to encourage anti-drug messages in television programs

Women

View Topic
Alfred Schneider on writer/producer Susan Harris's response to being told that a scene in Soap where women were discussing sex had to be cut
Professions

Executives

View Profession
Alfred Schneider on creating, with ABC Executive Jim Stabile, what may have been the very first television package deal -- for The Danny Thomas Show
Alfred Schneider on working in Standards & Practices at ABC
Alfred Schneider on the criticism he received over the course of his career and being the "conscience of the company"
Alfred Schneider on advice to aspiring Standards & Practices professionals
Alfred Schneider on advice to show creators in dealing with Standards & Practices professionals

Television Executive

View Profession
Alfred Schneider on working in Standards & Practices at ABC
Alfred Schneider on the criticism he received over the course of his career and being the "conscience of the company"
Alfred Schneider on advice to aspiring Standards & Practices professionals
Alfred Schneider on advice to show creators in dealing with Standards & Practices professionals
Genres

Classic Anthology Series

View Genre
Alfred Schneider on how a controversial episode of Bus Stop ("A Lion Walks Among Us") led to the demise of ABC President, Oliver E. Treyz, as well as further inquiries into the effects of violence on television

Comedy Series

View Genre
Alfred Schneider on negotiating the contract for The Phil Silvers Show as Assistant Director of Business Affairs at CBS
Alfred Schneider on why ABC passed on All in the Family
Alfred Schneider on why ABC was able to take a risk on Soap and how the network dealt with the show's depiction of controversial topics
Alfred Schneider on Producer Danny Arnold throwing him off the set of Barney Miller

Cop/Detective/Mystery Series

View Genre
Alfred Schneider on how the Italian-American reaction to The Untouchables led to ABC agreeing to not use the term "mafia"
Alfred Schneider on regulating portrayals of violence in Roots versus S.W.A.T. and The Six Million Dollar Man

Drama Series

View Genre
Alfred Schneider on how a controversial episode of Bus Stop ("A Lion Walks Among Us") led to the demise of ABC President, Oliver E. Treyz, as well as further inquiries into the effects of violence on television
Alfred Schneider on the decision not to allow two men to kiss on Thirtysomething

Medical Dramas

View Genre
Alfred Schneider on sit-in protests by the gay community in response to Marcus Welby, M.D.

News and Documentary

View Genre
Alfred Schneider on an episode of Howard K. Smith: News and Comment ("The Political Obituary of Richard M. Nixon"), and how it led to the formulation of a policy to protect news departments from the interference of sponsors

Sci-Fi/Supernatural Series

View Genre
Alfred Schneider on regulating portrayals of violence in Roots versus S.W.A.T. and The Six Million Dollar Man

TV Movies/Miniseries/Dramatic Specials

View Genre
Alfred Schneider on working with Producer Leonard Goldberg on his TV movie Something About Amelia, which dealt with incest
Alfred Schneider on his pride in his work on The Day After
Alfred Schneider on allowing nudity to be shown in The Winds of War
Alfred Schneider on negotiating the depiction of the controversial subject matter of That Certain Summer
Alfred Schneider on regulating portrayals of violence in Roots versus S.W.A.T. and The Six Million Dollar Man
People

Danny Arnold

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Alfred Schneider on Producer Danny Arnold throwing him off the set of Barney Miller

Steven Bochco

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Alfred Schneider on working with Steven Bochco versus working with Aaron Spelling

Louis G. Cowan

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Alfred Schneider on working as Executive Assistant to the President of CBS, Louis G. Cowan

Leonard Goldberg

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Alfred Schneider on working with Producer Leonard Goldberg on his TV movie Something About Amelia, which dealt with incest

Leonard H. Goldenson

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Alfred Schneider on the founder of ABC, Leonard Goldenson
Alfred Schneider on the founder of ABC, Leonard Goldenson's testimony before Congress in response to the Payola Scandals
Alfred Schneider on working on issues of Standards & Practices with founder of ABC, Leonard Goldenson

Jim Haggerty

View Person Page
Alfred Schneider on an episode of Howard K. Smith: News and Comment ("The Political Obituary of Richard M. Nixon"), which led head of ABC news, Jim Hagerty to formulate a policy to protect news departments from the interference of sponsors

Susan Harris

View Person Page
Alfred Schneider on writer/producer Susan Harris's response to being told that a scene in Soap where women were discussing sex had to be cut

Nat Hiken

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Alfred Schneider on negotiating the contract for The Phil Silvers Show with writer Nat Hiken as Assistant Director of Business Affairs at CBS

Newton N. Minow

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Alfred Schneider on Chair of the Federal Communications Commission, Newton N. Minow's "Vast Wasteland" speech

Richard M. Nixon

View Person Page
Alfred Schneider on an episode of Howard K. Smith: News and Comment ("The Political Obituary of Richard M. Nixon"), which led head of ABC news, Jim Hagerty to formulate a policy to protect news departments from the interference of sponsors
Alfred Schneider on the role of the government in regulating television content and President Nixon's attempt to encourage anti-drug messages in television programs

Howard K. Smith

View Interview Page
Alfred Schneider on an episode of Howard K. Smith: News and Comment ("The Political Obituary of Richard M. Nixon"), which led head of ABC news, Jim Hagerty to formulate a policy to protect news departments from the interference of sponsors

Aaron Spelling

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Alfred Schneider on working with Steven Bochco versus working with Aaron Spelling

Jim Stabile

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Alfred Schneider on creating, with ABC Executive Jim Stabile, what may have been the very first television package deal -- for The Danny Thomas Show

Brandon Stoddard

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Alfred Schneider on his pride in his work with ABC Executive Brandon Stoddard on The Day After

Oliver E. Treyz

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Alfred Schneider on how a controversial episode of Bus Stop ("A Lion Walks Among Us") led to the demise of president of ABC, Oliver E. Treyz

Herman Wouk

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Alfred Schneider on allowing nudity to be shown in Herman Wouk's The Winds of War

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