Michael Fuchs

Executive


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his three-hour Archive interview, Michael Fuchs discusses his early life, including his time as an entertainment lawyer and his stint in the legal department of The William Morris Agency. He recounts his start at HBO and his decision to bring more than just movies to the channel. He describes HBO's early business model, his creative team there, and his rise to CEO. Fuchs speaks about HBO's place among the broadcast networks, how home video changed HBO's fortunes, and outlines some early HBO original programming. He recalls the creation of Cinemax, and how he invented the practice of "multiplexing" channels to give viewers a wider selection of choices. He reflects upon HBO's signature shows including Dream On, The Larry Sanders Show, and 1st and 10, as well as HBO movies Stalin, Sakharov and the children's program, Fraggle Rock. He talks about his time as the head of Warner Music, and touches on the various projects he's been involved with since. Karen Herman conducted the interview on July 21, 2010 in New York City, NY.

"HBO was primitive when I got there. It didn't know what it could be, what it should be, or how to get there. Serendipitously, a really interesting collection of people came together. We had lots of laughs - I never did a meeting without a joke. If you go talk to old HBO people just ask them, 'What was it like back then?' It was Camelot to us."

Highlights
Michael Fuchs on early controversial and political HBO programming
05:18
Michael Fuchs on the advent of "multiplexing" programming
02:10
Michael Fuchs on the merger of Warner Bros. and Time Inc.
08:15
Michael Fuchs on the creation of Cinemax
03:22
Michael Fuchs on turning down Seinfeld for HBO
01:33
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on television he watched as a child; on his time in entertainment law and at The William Morris Agency
15:12
On how he came to work for HBO; on his decision to branch out HBO beyond movies; on his early HBO team
15:26
On HBO's early business model; on HBO's interaction with networks, movie studios and home video; on early HBO original programming
15:47
On HBO's censorship policy; on the creation of Cinemax and "multiplexing"; on the early technical aspects of HBO
12:55

Chapter 2

On HBO dealing with government regulations and cable companies; on HBO's keystone shows, including Dream On
15:27
On various HBO series; on HBO's international programming and satellites; on developing made-for-television movies for HBO
16:34
On developing Fraggle Rock and Not Necessarily the News; on HBO Sports programming; on HBO since his departure
15:14
On HBO programming verses broadcast network programming; on the merger of Warner Bros. and Time Inc.
10:55

Chapter 3

On the effect of the Time Inc./Warner Bros. merger on HBO; on his time as President of Warner Music
13:40
On being fired from Time/Warner; on HBO's brand
18:30
On then-current projects; on the future of television
14:53
On advice to aspiring executives; on business achievements and regrets
11:49
Shows

Dream On

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Michael Fuchs on developing HBO's Dream On
02:14

Everybody Loves Raymond

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Michael Fuchs on various series HBO had a hand in developing or eventually turned down
03:11

Fraggle Rock

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Michael Fuchs on developing Fraggle Rock for HBO
04:15

Friends

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Michael Fuchs on developing HBO's Dream On
02:14

In Living Color

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Michael Fuchs on various series HBO had a hand in developing or eventually turned down
03:11

Larry Sanders Show, The

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Michael Fuchs on developing The Larry Sanders Show for HBO
03:57

Not Necessarily the News

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Michael Fuchs on developing Not Necessarily the News for HBO
02:31

Roseanne

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Michael Fuchs on various series HBO had a hand in developing or eventually turned down
03:11

Seinfeld

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Michael Fuchs on turning down Seinfeld for HBO
01:33

Sex and the City

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Michael Fuchs on HBO Sports programming and HBO post-his departure
05:32

Sopranos, The

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Michael Fuchs on HBO Sports programming and HBO post-his departure
05:32

Tanner '88

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Michael Fuchs on early controversial and political HBO programming
05:18
Topics

Media Consolidation

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Michael Fuchs on the merger of Warner Bros. and Time Inc.
08:15
Michael Fuchs on the effect of the Time Inc./Warner Bros. merger on HBO's programming
03:15

Technological Innovation

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Michael Fuchs on the early technical aspects of HBO
03:20
Michael Fuchs on the advent of "multiplexing" programming
02:10
Michael Fuchs on HBO's foray into international programming and the use of satellites to deliver programming
03:11
Michael Fuchs on the future of television
11:25

Television Industry

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Michael Fuchs on HBO branching out beyond movies
04:23
Michael Fuchs on HBO's early business model
03:45
Michael Fuchs on the networks' and movie studios' early reaction to HBO, and HBO's reaction to home video
06:44
Michael Fuchs on the advent of "multiplexing" programming
02:10
Michael Fuchs on the merger of Warner Bros. and Time Inc.
08:15
Michael Fuchs on HBO's foray into international programming and the use of satellites to deliver programming
03:11
Michael Fuchs on the effect of the Time Inc./Warner Bros. merger on HBO's programming
03:15
Michael Fuchs on HBO's brand and advertising 
10:44
Michael Fuchs on the future of television
11:25
Professions

Cable Executive

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Michael Fuchs on advice to aspiring executives
05:09

Executives

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Michael Fuchs on advice to aspiring executives
05:09

Television Executive

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Michael Fuchs on advice to aspiring executives
05:09
Genres

Children's Programming

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Michael Fuchs on developing Fraggle Rock for HBO
04:15

Comedy Series

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Michael Fuchs on developing Not Necessarily the News for HBO
02:31

Sports

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Michael Fuchs on HBO Sports programming and HBO post-his departure
05:32

TV Movies/Miniseries/Dramatic Specials

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Michael Fuchs on developing the made-for-television movies Stalin and Sakharov for HBO
01:17
People

George Carlin

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Michael Fuchs on early controversial and political HBO programming
05:18

David Crane

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Michael Fuchs on developing HBO's Dream On
02:14

Jim Henson

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Michael Fuchs on developing Fraggle Rock  for HBO
04:15

Marta Kauffman

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Michael Fuchs on developing HBO's Dream On
02:14

John Malone

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Michael Fuchs on HBO's foray into international programming and the use of satellites to deliver it
03:01

Steve Martin

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Michael Fuchs on HBO branching out beyond movies
04:23

Sheila Nevins

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Michael Fuchs on hiring Sheila Nevins at HBO
01:00

Robin Williams

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Michael Fuchs on early viewer reaction to and censorship policy of HBO
02:29

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