Dear Howard Stern...
In 2014 I was engulfed in a complex interview process for a role with the in-house development and production company for Discovery Communications. This was a competitive situation to become the development assistant to a gritty, hardboiled, demanding Executive Producer. A native Aussie, this titan of champagne tele was a maestro at the boomerang toss. Time and time again, we met, then I departed only for me to circle back for another interview callback.
Then he asked me to write an email. One final test to gauge my creativity and writing skills. I thought the race was over, only for the mile markers to shift again.
His prompt: Write an email to Howard Stern convincing him to join a reality television show titled, "All Men Are Liars."
The following is my creative response:
Dear Mr. Stern,
I’m contacting you on behalf of Discovery Studios, the development and production company associated with the Discovery Networks.
We’re in a bit of a jam and hope you can help us out. I’ve spoken with Don Buchwald and he’s agreed that our project is right in your wheelhouse. He also provided me permission to e-mail you directly. Mr. Buchwald further mentioned that you’re growing bored of the “nightly hula-hoop acts and the latest Swiss family chorus singing fucking ‘Kumbayah.”’ While that may be true, you still contribute immensely to the particular program I speak of and we remain all the more impressed by the creative spice you consistently contribute to your professional commitments.
To The Point:
Jesse James just broke his verbal agreement with us (believe it or not, we didn’t see that coming) and we need a celebrity guest to fill in as a host for a single, high-profile episode. Our show is called, All Men Are Liars, and in case you’re not familiar with our program, it’s a weekly, hour-long (48 min. taped) show that explores how far men will go in order to impress his potential lady. But instead of unveiling the bright plume of feathers, we’re curious to see how our Male Contestant unveils his bravado, ie.) how easily will men lie in order to win a woman’s favor? We’re exploring the deepest, darkest truth about our human instinct and we believe you and your plethora of experience in the matter of human sexuality and desire will be able to shed light on the matter.
The signature show in the Discovery After Dark lineup, All Men Are Liars is focused on creating moments of high sexual tension for an adult, late-night audience. Each episode is set in a different city, with a dif- ferent male demographic. We’re curious about stereotypes. For example, does the white New England WASP lie more frequently than the blue-collar Texas oil driller? How about the tech-savvy Asian in San Francisco or the African American Police officer in Chattanooga? Or do all men lie the same?
As a last-minute contributor, your talent would be required in one city only — in this particular episode, New York. There are two (2) Female Contestants and two (2) Male Contestants. The only way to win the “game” is for both Female Contestants to choose the same male — that male, the winner — is only allowed to keep his prize if he DOES NOT LIE. The Male Contestants are aware they must win the “hearts” of both females, but they are UNAWARE that they automatically forfeit if they tell a single fib which producers thoroughly cross-check and track, allowing the at-home-audience to follow in real-time.
As part of your responsibility as episode host, you choose the two Male Contestants from our short list. You will also interview and profile the Female Contests to uncover who these females selected and why. At the beginning of the episode you make a winning prediction. If your choice wins, that lucky contestant receives a further prize.
Most importantly, Mr. Stern, we request that you COME AS YOU ARE. We need Howard Stern to be his favorite self. This show airs on cable television, at 11:30pm (EST) for good reason.
The purpose of this e-mail is to garner interest and start immediate dialogue. I have cc’d Mr. Buchwald and hope to hear from you soon. If you have further questions, please let us know. If you are interested in working with Discovery Studios, we will gladly move to the next step of negotiation. We hope you will continue to push the envelope with us.
We appreciate your time and consideration,
*Candidate for hire. This email is not real. This show is not real. Cole Akins is not currently em- ployed by Discovery Studios, though he would be thrilled at the opportunity to contribute to the development of high-quality, nonfiction television.
Working at Discovery was an awesome experience. The EP is a lifelong mentor and friend.