Neal Baer has written and produced some of television’s biggest hits like ER, Law & Order: SVU and Under the Dome. But for years, he was also acting — pretending to be straight. He tells us why he finally came out of the closet and how Hollywood has responded. Plus, Seattle’s Scarecrow Video turns to crowdfunding to survive in the age of Netflix.
FROM THIS EPISODE
Kim Masters is joined by Michael Schneider, Executive Editor of TV Guide Magazine to discuss top entertainment news stories of the week.
- Fox chairmen Gary Newman and Dana Walden name David Madden as president of entertainment for the network.
- Upfront ad dollars are down both in broadcast and cable networks for the first time since 2009.
- Amazon goes to battle again, this time against Disney.
Neal Baer has been a writer and producer enjoying outsized success over decades on shows such as ER, Law & Order: SVU and the CBS series Under the Dome.
He’s also a doctor who got his degree from Harvard Medical School. He’s something of an overachiever.
But for many years, Baer found it difficult to enjoy his success. He was waging an internal battle, hiding a part of himself from the rest of the world. Now in his mid-50’s, he’s finally come out of the closet.
As far back as 20 years ago, Baer’s secret found its way into his work. He was among the first to craft storylines involving gay, transgender and HIV positive characters on primetime television.
Baer tells Kim Masters about coming out mid-career in Hollywood and why he thinks network TV today is more conservative than it was in the 90’s.
Scarecrow Video in Seattle is something of an institution. They’ve got more than 120,000 movies in formats like VHS, laserdisc, DVD, Blue-ray and more. And among those movies are some rare, hard to find titles like Disney’s Song of the South and the Beatles Let It Be on VHS.
Kate Barr, an outreach coordinator for the store, says that despite its wealth of material, Scarecrow Video has suffered the same woes as other video stores across the country. A plea to customers for help brought in some donations last fall, but not enough to keep the store in the black. Now Scarecrow has launched a Kickstarter campaign in hopes of becoming a nonprofit called the Scarecrow Project.
Unlike film archives at places like universities, which focus on preservation, Scarecrow Video wants people to take these rare movies home to watch. In the age of Netflix and VOD, Barr thinks there’s still good reason to go to a physical video store. Especially since Scarecrow has about 10 times as many titles as you can find online.
Kate Barr, Scarecrow Video
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