I readwith some amusement and almost no surprise that MSNBC canned Michael Eisner’s “Conversations With” show. For something which he supposedly took so lightly, he certainly made a lot of noise about it in 06. He even got Frank Gehry to design the set; supposedly the architect of Guggenheim Bilbao and Disney Hall fame offered to do it gratis. One gets the feeling that Disney shareholders had probably already paid the tab, however unwittingly.
I was curious about the show because I still think that a Charlie Rose-type effort focused on bold-name entrepreneurs and execs would have an audience. The problem with Eisner as a host was that he seemed to think that the guest was there primarily to provide segues to yet another tale of his own greatness or perspicacity. James Stewart chronicled the famous Eisner ego in Disney War; the ill-fated tv showed that confirmed that indeed, Stewart was not making this stuff up.
With the dropping cost of production technology and the rise of narrow casting, it seems that there would be more talk tv available along the lines of William F. Buckley’s “Firing Line.” With no more props than stylish chairs and a cup of coffee, Buckley would sit down with Ronald Reagan and ask “is it possible to be a good governor,” or with Frederick von Hayek to ask “is there a case for private property.” What Should Our China Policy Be? What’s the Future of Social Security (2 parts)? These were all among the topics explored in the wonderful series which ran for almost 40 years.