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Sep 17, 2020

Falling into Fall

Since the fall months are approaching, it has made the staff at CTB reflect on the summer months now behind us. When we asked our team for one word to best describe the quarantine experience, here’s what popped into mind: Surreal. Unprecedented. Roller-Coaster. Perseverance. Patience. Adaptation. Change. Grace. Strength. Courage.

Although there was so much uncertainty and unpredictability this summer, one thing we know for sure is that this summer was unlike any other.

Thankfully, we were busy bees buzzing around on all sorts of exciting projects. To no one’s surprise, we booked more virtual programming than usual, as many productions across the board adjusted to the new normal.

Jimmy Kimmel Live!, for example, had its first summer featuring seven weeks of guest hosts, each of whom interviewed their guests via video chat. From Anthony Anderson kicking off our summer, Sebastian Maniscalco advising us how to behave during a Zoom meeting, Kerry Washington sharing her father’s dad jokes, Sarah Cooper teaching Ben Stiller about TikTok, and Josh Gad bringing his Frozen castmates to surprise a healthcare hero, our screens were filled each night with talented and entertaining hosts.

Although we missed watching Jimmy on late night, we enjoyed being on set with him for Season 2 of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, featuring celebrity contestants in the hot seat playing for their favorite charities. Similar to Season 1 back in March, the filming was yet again carried out with a minimal crew. This time, however, there were a lot more CDC safety protocols to follow, including COVID screening for all staff and extensive cleaning. Here’s a visual of our team in full PPE gear, while ensuring a safe shooting environment. We can’t wait to share this season with you scheduled to start on Sunday, October 18th on ABC.

While some of us might be thinking WTF, where did our summer go… others turn to Marc Maron’s podcast. He welcomed so many great guests such as Jerry Seinfeld, Janelle Monáe, Helen Mirren, and George Lopez. Can we mention a few more? It’s hard to pick our favorite! There was Jim Carrey, Colin Jost, Seth Rogen, Ellen Page, Giancarlo Esposito, and Martin Short. Many more fan favorites are joining Marc in upcoming episodes this fall!

Another podcast we have been excitedly awaiting for is Wondery’s new series: Say Yes! with Carla Hall, which just launched this week. Carla is whipping up a menu of inspiring interviews as she brings her own flavor and flare to these hearty conversations. Carla connects with her guests as they share their own challenges and how overcoming personal adversity has helped on their path to success.

Samantha Bee’s podcast, Full Release with Sam Bee, is another must-listen. Her commentary and in-depth conversations with such stellar guests has made for a weekly listen that is hard to miss. From Megan Rapinoe and Soledad O'Brien to Katie Porter and Julian Castro, continue to tune in every Tuesday. It has been a successful first season, and we are already craving for more!

As we enter into the political front leading up to the election, we recommend PodcastOne’s The Head & The Heart. Each week, with the help of thought leaders, journalists, and political thinkers, the hosts will bring a fresh perspective on American politics, in hopes that their listeners gain a deeper understanding as to why we all make certain decision when it comes to our politics.

We are so proud of our friend Rich Eisen for his daily show now airing on Peacock, The Rich Eisen Show. He brings his insight, energy, and engaging blend of knowledge to each episode. Some highlights have been his interviews with Tony Shalhoub, Tim McGraw, Don Cheadle, Danny DeVito, and John Leguizamo. Like so many, Rich is adapting to the new normal, as all his guests are now remote. Rich’s daily enthusiasm, however, is still just as present!

When we needed a laugh the most during the summer, we found comedic relief from the National Comedy Center (NCC). Based in Lucille Ball’s hometown of Jamestown, NY, the NCC had to creatively inspire people from afar with virtual programming... and indeed they did! Their virtual comedy festival had us laughing from miles away, with appearances by Tiffany Haddish, Debra Messing, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jay Leno, Kenan Thompson, Howie Mandel, and more! As the NCC reminds us: “In this challenging time, the healing power of laughter is more important than ever.” The truest of words.

One of the projects we are most proud of is HBO’s Seen & Heard, a two-part documentary, executive produced by Issa Rae. Slated to air in 2021, with such vision and cultural timeliness, it will explore black television – past and present – as told through the lens of today’s leading African American actors and content creators. The series will look back at the pioneers of the past – those that got us here, and celebrates those paving the way for the next generation.

CTB is so excited to announce the opening of our London office. After 20 years in business, we are continuing to expand and take our expertise across the pond. One of the shows we have enjoyed working on while there is Scandinavia’s most popular late-night talk show, Skavlan with host Fredrik Skavlan. We can’t wait for Skavlan’s newest season to begin this fall, and to share more with you in future months about our London endeavors.

Additional content to be on the lookout for is another season of Straight Up Steve Austin, Long Island Medium with Theresa Caputo, and Crank Yankers. We are also thrilled to be working on The Ringer podcast, as well as a new series for Disney+, Turning the Tables with Robin Roberts. Another show that we love working on and are looking forward to is ABC News’ The Year, especially since there will be much to highlight in this year-in-review.

This year’s annual American Valor: We Stand Together event, which honors our veterans and salutes our heroes, will mark the 75th anniversary of the end of WWII. With the same spirit as the Memorial Day Parade, the American Valor event in October will be just as meaningful, yet reimagined from previous years as the production process had to adjust to the new normal and its COVID standards. Usually, this is a live event held in Washington, D.C., but as times are changing, the American Valor team decided to pre-tape the presenters and narrators individually in a studio in California. This television special is set to premiere on Veterans Day weekend.

So what can we expect in the remainder of 2020? All we know is that together, we must continue to move forward in solidarity and hold on to what is important.

One way we are doing so is by supporting important organizations that are making a difference. For example, CTB has chosen to support Sierra Club, the country’s largest environmental grassroots organization, and their mission to avert the worst of climate change. Another strong organization that we have proudly decided to stand behind is The Female Lead, an educational charity focused on female empowerment and how to be our strongest, best selves. The mission of Female Lead holds great value and importance to us, especially as CTB is a staff of all women. We look forward to continuing to work together in support of these organizations’ impactful work.

As we gear up for these upcoming months, our team often reminds each other of all that we are grateful for and to embrace the simple joys, such as fresh air, daily walks, bike rides, gardening, reading, binging content, Zoom hangout with friends, virtual happy hours, game night with family, meditation, yoga, and home-cooked meals. When we asked our team for words that come to mind when looking ahead, here’s what they said: Renewal. Peaks and Valleys. Staying Connected. Day by Day. Stronger Together. New World.

When the world can sometimes feel upside down, CTB always has your back. We are stronger together and our CTB team extends our deepest gratitude for your continued support.

We are excited to enter the fall together, hand-in-hand, in the way we know best... virtually and via social distancing.

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