7:37 AM, Jan 10, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
The federal agency that oversees the Voice of America is seeking someone to produce a TV entertainment show to be broadcast in Iran in the Farsi language that includes "Hollywood news" and "other interesting aspects of life on the West Coast of the United States." The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), whose board members include Secretary of State John Kerry, is looking for a contractor to produce a "weekly entertainment show that must be aesthetically and musically appealing to VOA’s [Voice of America] audiences in Iran."
The description of the desired program sounds like an Entertainment Tonight or Access Hollywood type show:
The Contractor shall have behind the scenes access to high profile events, parties, concerts, celebrities, fashion houses, charities, musicians, entertainers, artists, actors, and people of interest from both the United States and the Middle East. The Contractor shall shoot on location on the West Coast of the United States as well as other U.S. and international cities, depending on current events and in prior consultation with VOA. Episodes shall include a mix of lifestyle, music, fashion, comedy, art, entertainment, interviews, and backstage access in a modern and fast-paced format that will make it appealing to the target audience. Episodes shall contain interviews with leading Iranian, Iranian American and American entertainment, fashion, business and other media personalities.
Despite (or because of) the pop-culture subject matter, potential contractors are cautioned to keep the target country's "sensitivities" in mind:
The episodes shall be without any political bias or advertising and shall be mindful of Iran’s culture and sensitivities. Programming must not contain visual or audio content of any offensive nature to the target audience.
According to the BBG, the agency has produced similar programs in-house in the past, but is now looking for a "turnkey" product ready to air within 45 days of the contract award. The amount of the contract will not be determined until potential producers have submitted 10-minute pilot episodes and price proposals for thirteen full 28-minute episodes. The deadline for responses is January 13.
The State Department declined to comment about whether or not such a program would enhance its diplomatic efforts in Iran, but rather deferred to the BBG for comment. The BBG responded to a similar request for comment with the following from the public relations office of the VOA:
California is home to a large and active Iranian diaspora community, and the lifestyle of these new American immigrants is of natural interest to Iranians living in Iran, especially the young people there who make up a large portion of the population. California is also home to the multi-billion dollar US entertainment industry, which exports movies, TV programs and other entertainment products that are of interest around the world, including Iran, where the government frequently bans them.
The VOA Charter, under which we operate, mandates that we not only report accurate and balanced hard news but also “represent America” to foreign audiences. During the Cold War, VOA was highly regarded for its jazz programs, which showcased one aspect of America’s vibrant cultural life, and drew huge audiences to our news programs. Cultural programs that showcase our music, arts, entertainment and language are among the ways in which we show different aspects of our society and what makes us uniquely American.
In public diplomacy terms, these cultural programs are often a reflection of a nation’s “soft power,” and they are one of the ways we attract the attention of our audience, which in Iran was most recently estimated at more than 20 percent.
It is also worth noting that the solicitation was designed to be open as well to Persian language production houses in L.A. because we want to know who is out there and what they might offer.
9:06 AM, Sep 6, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
One industry badly hit last month was "the motion picture and sound recording industry," according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. From the jobs report released this morning:
Within information, the motion picture and sound recording industry lost 22,000 jobs in August, following a gain of 8,000 in July.
11:14 AM, Jun 28, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
According to a recent Gallup poll, 42 percent of Americans believe that the Affordable Care Act will make their family's financial situation worse. Almost half of those surveyed believe that it will make the nation's overall health care situation worse.
4:58 PM, May 13, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Via the pool report:
Pool was ushered into Harvey Weinstein's 5 story West Village town home for POTUS's remarks to the assembled donors. The ground floor room contained 8 tables of 8, covered in white linen with roses as a centerpiece.
Several White House staffers were seated at the tables including Dan Pfeiffer and Jay Carney. Patrick Gaspard was standing in the right side of the room (POTUS's) right.
Will White House release guest list?7:34 AM, Apr 9, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
On Barack and Michelle Obama's schedule for today, this event is listed:
6:26 PM, Jan 8, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
President Barack Obama will tomorrow host a screening of the sitcom 1600 Penn, according to the White House.
"Later in the afternoon, the President will host cast and crew members of the television show 1600 Penn for a screening at the White House," reads Obama's schedule. "This screening is closed press."
1:39 PM, Dec 31, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
President Barack Obama was so impressed with Anne Hathaway's performance as Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises that he described her as "spectacular… the best thing in it." Hathaway was "leather-clad" in the movie, according to the Telegraph
12:22 PM, Dec 25, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
Actor Jackie Chan has committed to visiting the rogue Iranian regime, according to a report from the Iranian outlet ISNA. The story is headlined, "Jackie Chan: I will definitely come to Iran."
"International action superstar, Jackie Chan said he would definitely visit Iran," the report reads. "In his short interview with Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA) reporter in Malaysia, Jackie Chan said he had tried so many times to come to Iran in past years."
Makers of Zero Dark Thirty scrutinized. 12:15 PM, Dec 18, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
In response to a report that classified information had been leaked to the makers of the Hollywood movie Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal, Congressman Peter King, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, says he's concerned.
12:38 PM, Dec 11, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
At a candlelight vigil for Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez in Bolivia, actor Sean Penn offered great praise for the sick strongman:
9:38 AM, Oct 8, 2012 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
We learn from the Times that:
Mr. Obama made clear to advisers that he was not happy about debating Mr. Romney, whom he views with disdain. It was something to endure, rather than an opportunity, aides said.
4:24 PM, Oct 7, 2012 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
Thank goodness the everyday Americans of Main Street, U.S.A. have someone to run on their behalf against the out-of-touch rich guy.