Donora native, TV producer sets sights on a global audience
Television shows produced in the United States, especially dramas, have universal appeal because America is a melting pot nation made up of people from all over the world.
That was a major point of presentations made by Donora native Kim Moses as a featured speaker at the annual New Europe Market (NEM) international conference in Dubrovnik, Croatia.
“It was a wonderful experience,” Moses said. “We were honored and humbled by the opportunity share the forum with some of the most notable television producers and executives in Europe. Dubrovnik is one of the most beautiful cities in the world — historical, gorgeous and incredibly sweet people.”
Moses and her husband, Ian Sander, partners in Sander/Moses Productions in Hollywood, participated in a key session, “US Creative Principles,” at NEM 2014 with Katrina Wood, CEO of MediaXchange; Antony Root, executive vice president of original programming and production for HBO Europe; and Lars Lundstrom, an award-winning Scandinavian TV creator, screenwriter and producer at Matador Productions.
During that discussion, which centered on the development of sustainable series, writing within budgetary restraints and maintaining successful shows on the air, Moses amplified her reasoning for the international popularity of American TV shows.
“Ask any producer, writer, director, crew member or executive in the entertainment industry and they will tell you how they, their parents, grandparents, great-grandparents migrated to the United States from other parts of the world,” Moses told her audience at Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa. “That‘s certainly the case for me — my heritage of growing up in the Monongahela Valley, which is ethnically diverse. I came with certain cultural values and also absorbed wonderful things from people of our community. I consistently infuse all of it into my creative work.
“Americans, just like people in other parts of the world, carry our heritage in our hearts and brains. We pass it down from generation to generation, which makes the entertainment industry in our country a mish-mash of global cultures and languages. It influences how we tell stories, and I believe that people in other parts of the world sense this when they watch certain shows from (America). This enables them to relate to some of the material on the screen.”
Moses, a graduate of Monongahela Valley Catholic High School, said she firmly believes “quality characterizes American drama.”
“That's not always the case, because of Hollywood's efforts to mass-market TV to the masses,” said Ian Sander, Moses' partner. “However, over the past two years, pressure to capture live audiences and compete with high profile cable series has led to a resurgence of quality drama.”
Moses also emphasized that technology plays a huge role in the evolution of how “we create, disseminate and consume content” in the United States.
“And because, through technology, we're interconnecting with the rest of the world at lightning speed,” she said. “Some of the values of the global structure are being infused into the content created here. Things that keep Americans up worrying at night — education, climate change, crime, politics, economy — are the same things that keep people up at night around the world. So when we tell a story about taking down the bad guys, it resonates beyond our borders. And that's also why content created in other countries resonates in America.”
Dramas produced in Europe are becoming more and more popular in the United States for many reasons, she said.
“Thanks to all the new technology, the new world order is that we're more interconnected and interdependent than ever before, so shows made in other countries speak to Americans more than ever before,” Sander said. “Because the quality of European dramas is so terrific … it's exciting to discover what new content is coming out of Europe and how they are innovating creatively, technologically and financially.”
NEM 2014 was held one week before “Reckless,” the newest Sander/Moses series, made its debut to favorable reviews (People magazine called it “the sizzler of the summer”). The romance drama based in Charleston, S.C., airs at 9 p.m. Sundays on CBS.
Among the many programs created and produced by Sander/Moses over the past 20 years is “Ghost Whisperer,” which also has gained international popularity.
The program ran five seasons on CBS and is now syndicated in 213 markets around the world.
Moses, who has been a featured speaker at conferences throughout the United States and internationally, said she and Sander will continue to follow their mantra of “never doing the unexpected, never taking the easy path, never standing still” in pursuing further success in the entertainment industry.
In doing so, she told the NEM 2014 conference, they will be “looking to our counterparts in other countries to help with … how these shows get made.”
Ron Paglia is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.