"The Diary of Al Frank" was found underneath the skating pond at the RCA Building. It is purportedly the record of an NBC executive who had something to do with the presentation of "Holocaust," which was recently shown on television over a period of four nights.
"June 3, 1977: Holy smoke, I can't believe it. They called me this morning and told me they were making a mini-series on the holocaust, which would be the definitive story of how the nazis eliminated 6 million Jews. I said they were out of their minds. Where did they think they would get sponsors to advertise on a show like this?
"They said, 'When the advertisers see the numbers, they'll be standing in line to buy time. Everyone said "Roots" would bomb out but when the ratings came in, ABC was kicking itself for what it charged for a minute."
"They told me to tell the agencies that with the hype they were going to give the show, plus the interest in the subject matter, 'Holocaust' would be the biggest cost-per-thousand-buy in television.
"Sept. 2, 1977: Have been up and down Madison Avenue for almost two months. At first I was met with disbelief that we were going to put this show on the air. I told them we were going to back it with the biggest promotion in television history. We were putting out the paperback at the same time. It would be done in the best of taste and we were going to make the American people feel guilty if they didn't watch it. 'Holocaust' could be bigger than the World Series and the Academy Awards show combined. It would be the first time Hitler's 'Final Solution' would be shown commercially on network prime time.
"Well, much to my surprise, the orders are starting to come in. I got a dog-food sponsor, the ring-around-the-collar detergent company, several painkiller drug makers and, believe it or not, Lowenbrau, the German beer company. We're quoting $150,000 a minute. But I told them if they came in early we'd give them a discount. I assured them the commercials would be spotted during each night's program, five or six at a time, and would be a welcome relief from all the depressing scenes in the show itself. I'm starting to have a good feeling about 'Holocaust,' and so are the people upstairs.
"Jan. 14, 1978: Just signed up Gilletee, Martini and Rossi Vermouth, Aspen automobiles and Nabisco. The word of mouth is we've got something none of the other networks thought of, and nobody wants to be left out. A time buyer from a cereal company called this morning and said they would like to get in on the 'Concentration Camp Hour,' which broke me up. Now the denture products' comanies are banging down the door. Two of the our nights are sold out. I wish I had a piece of the action.
"April 14, 1978: Would you believe both Gleem toothpaste and Stir Crazy popcorn are now in the lineup, not to mention Polaroid and extra-strength Excedrin? Timex and Mellow Roast coffee are also signed up.
"I've seen the entire series, without the commercials, of course, and it's going to brak everybody's heart. They're going to ask, 'How coul anyone be so callous to let all those people are we to have allowed such obscene things to take place without raising ou voicew?"
?We're getting fantastic newspaper coverage and all the critics, except The New York Times, have called it the most important programming ever to be put out on the air. We even got the cover of TV Guide. Several of the advertisers have already called in thanking me for puting them on the sucha goodthing, adthis isbefore they've even seen the ratings.
"If we get the share of the audience I expect, they're going to all be screaming for a sequel.
"Our problem is, what do we do for an encore?"