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“Our TV show”: Legitimacy, Public Relations and J. Edgar Hoover’s “The F.B.I.” on ABC-TV
Unformatted Document Text:  Cecil  —  “Our  TV  show”    —    10   From Hoover’s perspective, Warner Brothers and QM had ceded power over everything including storylines, casting, composition of the production crew and even final script approval to Hoover’s FBI. With an ambiguous contract offering only a one-sentence statement defining control over the content of the show, Hoover and the QM staff clashed repeatedly from the beginning of production. The Battle for Control For the FBI, the management of a television program produced across the continent in Los Angeles posed an extraordinary set of challenges. Some of the challenges resulted from the complex logistics of the production. Another challenge, the ongoing disagreement with QM Productions over the content of the shows, threatened the FBI’s brand and thus, its projection of an image of legitimacy. Associations with certain advertisers carried potential risk for the FBI’s image as did the inclusion of certain actors, directors, writers, producers and other crew members in the production. The storylines themselves carried the risk that the FBI brand could be damaged through depiction of irresponsible or violent acts by agents. An outside challenge involved the news media’s scrutiny of the production. Journalists’ questions about the appropriateness of FBI involvement in an entertainment television program dogged the production throughout its run. Enforcing the FBI brand on the series required the combined efforts of dozens of Bureau agents and staff members. The cast and crew were advised and controlled by a full-time agent assigned to monitor the production on the scene. Inspector Ed Kemper was on-set for the first two years. Special Agents Dick Douce and Dick Wolf oversaw the production for the remainder of its run. Kemper, Douce and Wolf were production advisors, instructing the cast and crew on

Authors: Cecil, Matthew.
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Cecil  —  “Our  TV  show”    —    10  
From Hoover’s perspective, Warner Brothers and QM had ceded power over everything 
including storylines, casting, composition of the production crew and even final script approval 
to Hoover’s FBI.  With an ambiguous contract offering only a one-sentence statement defining 
control over the content of the show, Hoover and the QM staff clashed repeatedly from the 
beginning of production. 
 
The Battle for Control 
 
For the FBI, the management of a television program produced across the continent in 
Los Angeles posed an extraordinary set of challenges.  Some of the challenges resulted from the 
complex logistics of the production. Another challenge, the ongoing disagreement with QM 
Productions over the content of the shows, threatened the FBI’s brand and thus, its projection of 
an image of legitimacy.  Associations with certain advertisers carried potential risk for the FBI’s 
image as did the inclusion of certain actors, directors, writers, producers and other crew 
members in the production. The storylines themselves carried the risk that the FBI brand could 
be damaged through depiction of irresponsible or violent acts by agents. An outside challenge 
involved the news media’s scrutiny of the production. Journalists’ questions about the 
appropriateness of FBI involvement in an entertainment television program dogged the 
production throughout its run. 
 
Enforcing the FBI brand on the series required the combined efforts of dozens of Bureau 
agents and staff members. The cast and crew were advised and controlled by a full-time agent 
assigned to monitor the production on the scene. Inspector Ed Kemper was on-set for the first 
two years. Special Agents Dick Douce and Dick Wolf oversaw the production for the remainder 
of its run. Kemper, Douce and Wolf were production advisors, instructing the cast and crew on 


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