The Guy in the Suit – Ten Years After

Interesting article in The TVNewser at

on the 10th Anniversary of the launch of The Site. That’s the TV show I helped create for Ziff-Davis many moons ago.

I’ll never forget pitching it to NBC at 30 Rock just before Christmas 1995. Then NBC News Director Andrew Lack came in in a three-piece suit and cowboy boots. He propped his booted feet up on the table and said, “ok, let’s hear it.” It was like something out of Seinfeld.

I wish I were a better packrat. I have the 90-page treatment on a disc somewhere. If I can find it I’ll post a couple of pages.

I had hoped to be the lead reporter on the show, but the NBC executives told me I had no chance of getting on camera so they stuck me in a VR suit and the character Dev Null was born. I won an Emmy for it but the only other competition was a sock puppet character on the local Spanish language station, so it wasn’t exactly a competitve category.

The show was cancelled after 18 months. Our anchor, Soledad O’Brien went back to NBC. She’s now the anchor of CNN’s American Morning. Most of the rest of us stuck around to found ZDTV six months later.

And it all started ten years ago tomorrow. The Site was a major network’s idea of what a technology TV show should look like: big on production values, light on content, but it was an important moment in the mainstreaming of the Internet. I still run into people now and then who remember me as “the guy in the suit.”