Shiny, happy people ... or not
Tonight we are doing something very different and pretty cool: As part of our "Planet in Peril" project, we are debuting a new song from REM called "Until the Day is Done." It's very, very powerful and evocative music, and we are jazzed the band made it available to us. But under the heading of "transparency" here's the backstory on how Michael Stipe and REM became a part of our "Planet in Peril" project, despite our clumsy efforts.
Early in the planning and shooting of the documentary (reminder: airs October 23 and 24 at 9 p.m.) we knew our research and storylines were solid and that our high-definition video from all over the world would be magnificent. So we wanted very strong and memorable music to make the doc even more powerful. Given their iconic status, legendary musicianship and longstanding interest in a lot of the issues our documentary would examine, we thought first of REM.
We've worked with Michael Stipe in the past and we guessed there could be a good fit. But we also knew it would come down to some very basic questions: Did the band have any new music coming out that might work with what we are doing? If so, would the timing work? And would the band even want be associated with our project?
That was the background when Charlie Moore -- who is executive producing the documentary -- and I cluelessly walked into the executive's office at Warner Music Group here in New York City. The folks there were fantastic. Charlie and I figured this would be a no-brainer. After all, we explained, CNN is owned by Time Warner and we were making a deal at Warner Music. All in the family, right? We'd get some sort of special consideration, get a deal done and then go have a little lunch. Totally clueless.
As we proceeded with our pitch, we vaguely noticed the thought balloon floating above this executive's head was: "These guys are rubes." So when we'd finished our clever pitch, the executive gently explained how a while ago Time Warner had sold Warner Music. They are not connected. No special consideration. We'd made a total hash of this. We were not "Shiny, happy people."
And yet, and yet, despite our uninformed if not self-destructive impulses (and with the invaluable help of Mark Shimmel of Turner Broadcasting) we are so, so fortunate to have this amazing music from REM, who, yes, loves our "Planet in Peril" project. In fact, Anderson is talking to Michael Stipe about it tonight on "360."
-- By David Doss, "360" Executive Producer
Dont Miss: REM debuting song on "360"