Sid Sheinberg

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, Sid Sheinberg (1935-2019) talks about his early life and his years in law school. He describes going to work for Revue Productions, the then-television production arm of MCA, where he shepherded shows like Wagon Train and The Virginian. He chronicles Revue Productions evolution into Universal Television, where he became Vice President, and signed a young, unknown filmmaker named Steven Spielberg to a television writing and directing contract. Sheinberg recounts becoming President of Universal Television in 1971, and dealing with a host of issues such as the emergence of home video, cable and satellite television. He details Matsushita's and later Seagram's acquisition of Universal and his leaving to create his own production company, The Bubble Factory. He concludes by discussing his loyalty to Lew Wasserman, and by giving advice to aspiring television executives. Kathryn Harris conducted the interview on June 21, 2010 in Beverly Hills, CA. 

"I agreed to meet with Columbia. He takes out this little pad of paper and he says, 'Write down the terms under which you will come to Columbia. I'll deliver those terms.' I said, 'No.' He said, 'You can't tell me that there's no terms under which you'd come to Columbia.' I said, 'I will never walk into Lew Wasserman's office and say I'm leaving. Under any terms.' He looked at me for a second and said, 'You know something? I believe you.' And that was the end of that."   

People Talking About ...
Highlights
Sid Sheinberg on his work with Human Rights Watch
Sid Sheinberg on Steven Spielberg directing a segment of Night Gallery starring Joan Crawford
Sid Sheinberg on shepherding various shows at Universal Television including The Virginian and Wagon Train
Sid Sheinberg on becoming President of MCA, and his view of deregulation and media consolidation 
Sid Sheinberg on advice to aspiring television executives
Sid Sheinberg on creating his production company, The Bubble Factory
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on activities he enjoyed growing up; on working for radio stations announcing and writing copy
On attending Columbia University; on meeting his wife, Lorraine Gary
On his participation in the Civil Rights Movement while in law school; on going to law school and later teaching law at UCLA
On going to work for Revue; on his early duties at Revue; on the state of Revue when he started working there

Chapter 2

On working for Jennings Lang at Universal and Lang's relationship with Lew Wasserman; on Revue changing its name to Universal Television and MCA's various acquisitions
On shepherding various shows at Universal Television including The Virginian and Wagon Train; on Universal Television producing movies-of-the-week starting with The Killers; on becoming Vice President of Universal Television and signing Steven Spielberg 
On his concerns and goals for Universal Television when he became President in 1971; on becoming President of MCA, and his view of deregulation and media consolidation 
On MCA taking on Betamax and advocating other home video technology; on the emergence of cable and satellite television 

Chapter 3

On the type of programming Universal Television produced in the '70s; on MCA's syndication and television business in the '80s and the series Law & Order; on NBC's acquisition of Universal and media consolidation 
On Matsushita's acquisition of MCA
On his leaving Universal; on creating his production company, The Bubble Factory; on his work with Human Rights Watch
On his sense of loyalty; on his marriage and his longevity; on advice to aspiring television executives and career regrets
Shows

Killers, The

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Sid Sheinberg on Universal Television producing movies-of-the-week starting with The Killers

Law & Order

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Sid Sheinberg on MCA's syndication and television business in the '80s and the series Law & Order

Night Gallery

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Sid Sheinberg on Steven Spielberg directing a segment of Night Gallery starring Joan Crawford

Virginian, The

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Sid Sheinberg on shepherding various shows at Universal Television including The Virginian and Wagon Train

Wagon Train

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Sid Sheinberg on shepherding various shows at Universal Television including The Virginian and Wagon Train
Topics

Advice

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Sid Sheinberg on advice to aspiring television executives

Civil Rights Movement

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Sid Sheinberg on his participation in the Civil Rights Movement while in law school

Historic Events and Social Change

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Sid Sheinberg on his participation in the Civil Rights Movement while in law school

Media Consolidation

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Sid Sheinbergg on becoming President of MCA, and his view of deregulation and media consolidation 
Sid Sheinberg on NBC's acquisition of Universal 
Sid Sheinberg on media consolidation in the '80s
Sid Sheinberg on Matsushita's acquisition of MCA

Technological Innovation

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Sid Sheinberg on MCA taking on Betamax and advocating other home video technology
Sid Sheinberg on the emergence of cable and satellite television 

Television Industry

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Sid Sheinberg on Revue changing its name to Universal Television and MCA's various acquisitions 
Sid Sheinberg on his concerns and goals for Universal Television when he became President in 1971
Sid Sheinberg on becoming President of MCA, and his view of deregulation and media consolidation 
Sid Sheinberg on MCA taking on Betamax and advocating other home video technology
Sid Sheinberg on the emergence of cable and satellite television 
Sid Sheinberg on MCA's syndication and television business in the '80s and the series Law & Order
Sid Sheinberg on NBC's acquisition of Universal 
Sid Sheinberg on media consolidation in the '80s
Sid Sheinberg on Matsushita's acquisition of MCA
Sid Sheinberg on advice to aspiring television executives
Professions

Executives

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Sid Sheinberg on advice to aspiring television executives

Television Executive

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Sid Sheinberg on advice to aspiring television executives
Genres

Classic Anthology Series

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Sid Sheinberg on Steven Spielberg directing a segment of Night Gallery starring Joan Crawford

Cop/Detective/Mystery Series

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Sid Sheinberg on MCA's syndication and television business in the '80s and the series Law & Order

Sci-Fi/Supernatural Series

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Sid Sheinberg on Steven Spielberg directing a segment of Night Gallery starring Joan Crawford

TV Movies/Miniseries/Dramatic Specials

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Sid Sheinberg on Universal Television producing movies-of-the-week starting with The Killers

Western Series

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Sid Sheinberg on shepherding various shows at Universal Television including The Virginian and Wagon Train
People

Joan Crawford

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Sid Sheinberg on Steven Spielberg directing a segment of Night Gallery starring Joan Crawford

Jennings Lang

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Sid Sheinberg on working for Jennings Lang at Universal and Lang's relationship with Lew Wasserman 

Steven Spielberg

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Sid Sheinberg on becoming Vice President of Universal Television and signing Steven Spielberg 
Sid Sheinberg on Steven Spielberg directing a segment of Night Gallery starring Joan Crawford

Lew Wasserman

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Sid Sheinberg on working for Jennings Lang at Universal and Lang's relationship with Lew Wasserman 
Sid Sheinberg on his loyalty to Lew Wasserman and others

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