Interview: Ken Reid Talks ‘TV Guidance Counselor Podcast!’

TV Guidance Counselor Podcast, Ken Reid

(Courtesy of TV Guidance Counselor Podcast)

Villain Media has an exclusive interview with comedian/host Ken Reid of the highly popular TV Guidance Counselor Podcast. We’re very excited to discuss the world of television, especially with an avid collector who owns just about every copy of TV Guide from the ’60s through the ’90s.

Currently on the top 200 podcasts on iTunes, the TV Guidance Counselor Podcast utilizes the back issues of TV Guide Magazine as a nostalgic blast from the past. Comedian Ken Reid selects a certain TV Guide issue, sits down with his guest, and delivers his nostalgic take with a bit of silliness. Notable guests on the podcast include Elivra Mistress of the Dark, “Weird Al” Yankovic, and John Hodgman.

In the course of our interview, Reid discusses celebrating his 250th episode milestone, questioning whether or not we are living in the Golden Age of Television, and the state of comic book TV shows.

VILLAIN MEDIA: Tell me how the inspiration behind TV Guidance Counselor Podcast came about?

KEN REID: I always collected TV Guides. From a very early age, I used to pay for my own subscription to the magazine, as it was essential in the pre-internet age, and was one of the few things I looked forward to every week. I had a good chunk of the collection in two store spinning racks in the corner of my living room. When people would be hanging out at my house, they would often naturally gravitate to the TV Guides. They’d flip through and we’d chat about shows we watched.

I always wanted to do a podcast but didn’t want to do just another podcast involving comedians talking about comedy, but I didn’t have a good concept.  My good friend, the very funny comedian Sean Sullivan (buy his new album, Song and Dance Man), one day just said “just make that TV Guide thing people do at your house a podcast” and it was kind of that simple.

VM: Do you fall back to your collection of TV Guides to prove a point of yours, or is it more for nostalgic purposes?

KR: It can be a bit of both. There’s absolutely nostalgia! It’s amazing to be able to look at an exact hour of your life where you know what you were watching and when. I do find that the level of writing in TV Guide was incredibly high. They had some really top-notch writers who wrote well-researched and insightful stories. The internet can be a faulty trove of information, so TVG can often be a good check.

VM: You previously had guests on your podcast including Weird Al Yankovic, Elvira Mistress of the Dark, Jen Kirkman, and Lizz Winstead on your podcast. Do you approach this guest discussions as a debate, counseling like the title says, or research?

KR: Kind of all of the above and none of the above. It’s a really casual conversation. It’s the kind of late night chats you’d have with your friends. The conversations can (and often do) go anywhere. We usually end up focusing on that shared experience of popular culture those of us who came of age before the millennium, but sometimes we can very academic. Sometimes we get silly, sometimes we get serious, and reveal things about our childhoods.

VM: Tell me about reaching your 250th episode for the TV Guidance Counselor Podcast. Are you ready for 250 more episodes?

KR: It kind of snuck up on me. I really love doing the show. It never feels like work. I look forward to recording it, booking it, editing it and releasing episodes so the time has flown by. If the next 250 are the same way, I’m ready!

VM: We’ve seen filmmakers jump onto television ever since Alfred Hitchcock. We now have David Fincher (Mindhunters), RZA (Iron Fist), Joel Schumacher (House of Cards), Shawn Levy (Stranger Things) directing Netflix shows. What would your TV Guide research say about this trend?

KR: There used to be a very distinct break between TV actors and Movie actors. That has since dissolved that you were one or the other. You either graduated to movies, or you fell backwards into television. Directors have always had less of an issue with that. Many 7’0s exploitation and low-budget directors were hired to helm Made-For-TV movies for the networks because they knew they could work quick and work cheap. Wes Craven especially directed a good number of made for TV movies. John Carpenter wrote and or directed quite a few himself. Joe Dante directed many episodes of Police Squad and created the show, Eerie, Indiana. There was also a large push in the mid ’80s of sort of “training” directors on TV to later helm movies, especially through things like Spielberg’s Amazing Stories anthology series.  You also had of course David Lynch and Twin Peaks

Today, with more shows absolutely being more like movies, single camera, finite story, etc. it makes sense, but it isn’t new.

VM: We at Villain Media are huge fans of The Flash, Supergirl, Arrow, and Legends of Tomorrow. Have you noticed a change in comic book TV shows since Batman ‘66?

KR: Absolutely! Batman ‘66 was strange in that the Batman presented in the show wasn’t really the Batman we were getting in the comics. The huge success of the show though camped up the comics again until the Denny O’Neil and Neil Adams era of the ’70s.  The success of the DC TV shows has greatly influenced the comics. The DC “New 52” really attempted to align the comics universe with the TV universe. Serialization, and sort of a “teen-ification” of the characters has also been a result of the shows success, which is interesting.

VM: Audiences have become enamored with Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Sopranos, and This Is Us. Do you think we are really living in the Golden Age of Television? Or is this just a streak of good luck?

KR: I feel like television is where movies were in the ’70s. The old studio systems are kind of at a loss, and so they are allowing some talented people to do interesting things with resources that would previously be unavailable to them. Television is a bit desperate for success since their old models of making money are drying up. Desperation usually breeds innovation and experimentation, so we’re getting interesting things. I love it! It is a bit of a streak of good luck, things will eventually settle down but the influence and the heightened quality should stick around.

VM: What’s next for TV Guidance Counselor Podcast?

KR: More of the same. I still have some dream guests I’ll continue to try and pursue. Also more live shows. I’m working on making the TVGC Sleepover a monthly live event.

VM: You are also a comedian. Do you have any upcoming shows in the comedy circle you would like to tell our readers?

KR: My live show schedule is always up at ikenreid.com. I’m running a Q&A with John Hodgman for his Vacationland book on the 1st of November at the Coolidge Corner Theater in Brookline, MA. I’m also hoping to do another (maybe two) stand-up album in 2018.

Check out Ken Reid here on Twitter and TV Guidance Counselor here on Twitter.

– By Jorge Solis

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