Our latest interview request: Joseph Townley

Joseph Townley, COO at MY Tupelo Entertainment

Joseph Townley, COO at MY Tupelo Entertainment

Yesterday, we received an unsolicited copy of the “talent services contract” for National Geographic’s Old Believer television series, along with a special request: Would you please help us translate the contract’s 14 pages of legalese into plain English? Because we don’t understand what we’re being asked to sign.

We’d love to help, but we’re journalists, not lawyers — so the language in the contract is often confusing or ambiguous, even to us.

That’s why we reached out to Joseph Townley, who graciously took our phone call today. Mr. Townley is the Chief Operating Officer of MY Tupelo Entertainment, the production house that’s making the Old Believers series for National Geographic. With more than two decades of experience in the entertainment and sports television sectors, Mr. Townley certainly knows his way around the TV business. And since his name, title, and address are listed on the contract, we figure he must understand all the fine print.

What’s especially nice is that based on our phone conversation with him this afternoon, Mr. Townley seems like a real good guy.

Mr. Townley said he would consider our request for an interview, but only if we submitted the request with relevant details via email. He then gave us his email address.

Here is our email (sent earlier today), with the relevant details:

(click email to enlarge)



  • Alan Motta

    **The commentary below has nothing to do with the article**

    Firstly, congratulation for the blog.
    Alan, what was the BIG mistake of NGC? Rupert Murdoch? Well, I think so. It’s very, very, very sad, watch how Rupert is eroding and destroying so hard the good name/brand of National Geographic. I’m big fan of magazine (every month I buy mine) and the channel has some really good programs, but some of them are, at least, bad. I’d like to see more people supporting “Dear John: let’s talk”. Returning to my first question: Why NG needed Rupert to “take care” about the channel? And Why John Fahey doesn’t talk openly about your questions, he has something to hide? Hugs, your namesake, Alan.

    PS: I’m from Rio, Brazil, I’m sorry for any mistakes in English. I knew your blog in the last week and I already enjoyed it!

    • Hey there, Namesake –

      Thanks very much for your message — and for your moral support. It’s always great to receive such a positive review from someone who just stumbled on this site. Please know I’m grateful for kind words….

      To answer your question re: why did NG need Rupert? Money. Launching a cable TV channel is a very expensive proposition, and money is something that Mr. Murdoch has in great supply. He also understands the TV business and international distribution, which is expertise that NGS did not, and does not have.

      As for John Fahey — I wish he would talk more in public. If not to me, then to someone else who would share John’s insights with the world. … The questions I want to ask are just a reflection of the strategies that John has designed and implemented. And I fear he realizes those strategies have some fatal flaws.

      I still believe there are solutions to what ails NGS. But John will never find them until he begins to open the Society to its members — and to the outside world.

      Thanks for stopping by, Alan. And no need to apologize for your English. In fact, it’s quite good — and certainly much better than my Portuguese. 🙂

      • Alan Motta

        Thanks for the answer Alan. Now I know why Mr. Murdoch is important, money, money, money, always money…

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