"Morning, folks. Thanks for coming to the meeting. Help yourself to coffee ? decaf's on the right ? and you'd better grab one of those little croissant things before I eat them all myself, ha ha. Now, I want you all to say hello to Mr. Butch Baker from NASA, who's stopped by this morning to talk about a little project he'd like us to show on our network. Butch, you have the floor."
"Thank you, Mr. Smith. Ladies and gentlemen, we're about to witness the realization of humanity's most exciting dream. Landing on the moon! In fact, this may be the biggest moment in the entire history of?"
"Excuse me, um, Butch. I see in the outline you plan to stretch this moon thing out for, what, four days?"
"Well, yes. That's how long it? "
"You know, we may be in problem territory right there. Nobody's doing mini-series right now. Besides that, even the Super Bowl only takes a few hours."
"Another thing, Butch. Once they get to the moon, then what?"
"That's it? Walk?"
"Right. Walk! On the moon! It might be the biggest moment in the entire history of? "
"Larry, if I could just break in. Instead of walking, couldn't these guys wrestle or something? We sure could use some 18-24 demos."
"Or how about bungee jumping? With that gravity thing up there, I bet we could get some real distance."
"What do you say, Butch? Could we tweak it a little?"
"Well, I, um, that is, ah... one of our astronauts was talking about, um, hitting a golf ball."
"A golf ball."
"Ooooh, wrong sport, Butch. Golf skews a little old for us. We like something that says, 'extreme!'"
"Is there a way we could work in some nudity?"
"Wait a minute! The moon's all powdery, right? So why not snowboarding? That way, Mountain Dew would look at it. You know,'Do the Dew ? It's Cooler than Oxygen!'"
"I like it."
"I hate it."
"Excuse me, people, but the problem is, these guys are all unknowns. Armstrong, Aldrin, Collins ? who ever heard of them? Let's get some names."
"That's right. Do a '48 Hours' thing. Young guy, hot under the collar, needs a veteran to show him the ropes up there on the moon. I'm thinking Burt Reynolds and Keanu Reeves. And the third guy who stays with the mother ship, he keeps cracking jokes over the two-way. I'd go with Adam Sandler."
"Make it a girl. Janeane Garofalo?"
"Good. I know her agent."
"Not to reinvent the wheel here, everyone, but the whole concept of moon is going hold us back, sales-wise. I mean, if we were talking about a walk on mercury, for example, we could go to the Ford-Lincoln people. If we're walking on mars, you have some candy angles. For that matter, can't we think out of the box a little? Why not a walk on the sun? Then you've got Sunkist."
"And Sunny Delight."
"And Suntori, which opens up the Japanese market."
"Gentlemen, IF you don't mind. What we really need here is a big, flashy production number. You know, 'Up With People' in pastel space suits. Next, bring on a couple of high school marching bands to spell out USA or NASA or ROCKET SHIP or something. Then, as a grand finale, everybody starts shooting it out with laser guns. Finally ? right in the middle ? up pops Cher."
"I like it."
"I hate it."
"Larry, this budget's going to kill us. To start with, we're shooting at night. Imagine the overtime."
"And why can't we just build a set and slap in some digital junk? I mean, who's going to know?"
"Not only that, this script needs a major rewrite to tone down all the foot-oriented stuff. You've got 'moon walk,' 'small step,' 'giant leap.' What is this, a Dr. Scholl's commercial?"
"They're right, Butch. And to be honest, we already have so many things in development this season, I think we're going to have to take a pass. It's not a bad idea, just not for us."
"No hard feelings, though. Say, have you thought about pitching this thing to the Golf Channel?"
Copyright 2000 by Garry Lee Wright. All rights reserved. GLW's on WGN (AM Radio 720) Chicago. E-mail, listen via Internet, and check out other News Junkie columns at wgnradio.com.