FLAMEOUT Drug-related content cost Quiet Desperation its slot on MyTV.
Boston bohemians and other fans of quirky television have new reason to hate conservatives. This time the scapegoat is Bill Binnie, a millionaire plastics magnate, failed Republican US Senate candidate, and wannabe TV mogul who some claim singlehandedly buried the locally cultivated reality sitcom Quiet Desperation.
First conceived two years ago by Boston jester and musician Rob Potylo (see "As Seen on PC," January 28, 2011), Quiet D has been a highly visible outlet for hundreds of area comics, actors, and musicians. After a successful run on YouTube, late last year Potylo, with backing form the Allston-based production company Metropolitan Pictures, inked a deal with the New Hampshire–based MyTV to air 18 episodes over nine months.
Until recently, MyTV took pride in Quiet D, which, at the time of this writing, the network's Web site still boasts as "America's only locally produced weekly sitcom." But that enthusiasm apparently began to erode in early March, when Binnie's Carlisle One Media, in its fourth station grab in six months, bought MyTV (which will now be called WBIN-TV) from ShootingStar Broadcasting.
Soon after the purchase, Potylo says he was instructed to scrub all marijuana references. According to new WBIN-TV General Manager Gerry McGavick: "The content of [Quiet D] is inconsistent with the programming model that we have developed for our station." A spokesperson also says that decision came from vice-president of programming Lee Kinberg — not Binnie, as has been alleged.
"As one of many people who contributed time to Quiet Desperation, I'm extremely disappointed," says Mike "Cann" Crawford, president of weed-activism group MassCann. "Are they censoring That '70 s Show?" How about re-runs of The Office with marijuana humor? Or was it just the late, local programming that they thought they could push around?"
Potylo says that the Quiet D team planned to shop the show to bigger stations anyway. Despite the setback, they're already filming new episodes focused on local music scenesters including singer Casey Desmond, who is currently enjoying a major national buzz from her stint on the NBC show The Voice.
"We wouldn't have expected anything less from a mean egomaniac like Binnie," says Potylo. "The guy changed the fucking call letters of the station to his last name. . . . It's okay, though. MyTV gave us a chance, but it was just a trial run. We proved that we can do it out of our basements. Now that we have resources and advertisers, just wait and see what we come up with."