Producer John Fitzgerald has pulled “Playing For Peanuts” — a documentary series chronicling the exploits of the indie South Georgia Peanuts and manager Wally Backman — from the Mets’ SNY channel. Fitzgerald claims Wilpon TV wouldn’t lift a finger to promote his program, a situation he finds doubly gallng because “SNY is loaded with bad programming.”
Take a look at any of the SNY staples – Beer Money, LoudMouths, Wheel House, etc. – and compare them to anything on YES or MSG. From a production standpoint, it isn’t even close. Now, when Mets fans – fans who are very familiar with the lackluster SNY shows that are promoted ad nauseum throughout Mets games and on SNY’s website – stumble upon “Playing for Peanuts,” they would logically think the show is bad. Think about it – if you know all of the promotion is going into bad SNY shows, it stands to reason that “Playing for Peanuts” would be WORSE because you’ve never even heard of it. And that wrong (but justified) assumption would be hammered home in every inning of every Mets game, as the other shows are promoted via commercials, signs behind home plate and mentions by the broadcast team. Meanwhile, they wouldn’t even list “Playing for Peanuts” in the programming section of their website or put up a banner ad.
After a few weeks of getting the runaround from SNY, I finally told them I was willing to pay for a promotion during a Mets game. After a few days of waiting – imagine, I was willing to give them money and they had no idea what to do or how to respond – I was told it would cost $5,500 to have “Playing for Peanuts” mentioned during a Mets telecast. That’s $5,500 per mention. Nice.
Of course, $5,500 for 15 seconds is out of the budget range for a show that was financed the old fashioned way: mostly credit cards, some investors, lots of crew members working at low rates on deferred payment. Keep in mind that this is a show on SNY. A show that even with no promotion, had gotten better ratings than Beer Money in its first few weeks. After those initial weeks, I was no longer told about Beer Money’s ratings.
Fitzgerald’s certainly entitled to his opinion, but if I was, say, a single parent on a tight budget, I’d seriously opt for “Daily New Live” over renting any of the “Saw” or “Hostel” movies. If Joe Benigno-Gazingo in high definition gives me nightmares, imagine how he might scare the wits out of a small child.