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Let’s Talk ‘Supertrain,’ One of TV’s Greatest Failures (Podcast)

The 1979 drama was supposed to save NBC from last place. It was a trainwreck

In 1979, NBC President Fred Silverman, trying to save the last-place network, fast-tracked a drama called “Supertrain.” It combined railroads, disco and murder, and if you think it sounds terrible, you’re on the right track.

We talk about the “Supertrain” trainwreck in the latest episode of our “Shoot This Now” podcast, and you can listen to on RadioPublic or Apple or Spotify or right here.

Our guest this week is Dan Delgado, who devoted an entire recent episode of his fantastic Hollywood-stories podcast, “The Industry,” to the story of “Supertrain.” You can listen here.

Each week on “Shoot This Now,” we talk about how to turn great stories into movies. Delgado has an excellent idea for how to tell the story of “Supertrain” — he sees it as an Adam McKay comedy populated by the likes of Zack Galifianakis, Steve Carell, and/or Ed Helms. We can totally see it. There’s an “Anchorman” vibe to the whole thing… except on a futuristic train.

Despite the failure of “Supertrain,” things worked out quite well for Silverman. Besides making massive contributions to the success of ABC and CBS before he was even 40, he also laid down the track (sorry, last train metaphor) for some of the best shows NBC ever made.

If you like this episode, please give “Shoot This Now” five stars on iTunes. And you may want to give five stars to “The Industry,” too.

Also, because we love you, here’s the entire first episode of “Supertrain.”