Executive Meddling: Other
There are executives in every industry.
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- It is said that the Greek sculptor Polykleitos was making a statue once, and people constantly instructed him about how it should look (in some variations, it was an official committee). He made such a statue, while in secret, making another the way he wanted. In the end, he showed the people both statues, and explained the difference between his creation and theirs.
- The Statue of Freedom on the Capitol Dome was originally designed wearing a Phrygian cap, but the man overseeing the project, Jefferson Davis (future president of the Confederacy), rejected that part of the design.
- If you tour the Vatican, the guides will tell you a possibly apocryphal story about Michelangelo and a Cardinal. The Cardinal demanded that Michelangelo cover up the genitalia of the figures in his paintings. Michelangelo retaliated by painting him as Satan in Hell, with a serpent covering his crotch. When the Cardinal complained to the Pope, the Pope replied "I am sorry my friend, but he has painted you in Hell, and I only have the power to release people from the purgatorium."
- Dinosaur Revolution would have been a purely animal-centric animated Edutainment Show, consisting of six episodes in which highly anthropomorphic prehistoric animals goofed off, with no obtrusive Narrator or any Talking Heads. Then, to explain the science behind these comedic and often far-fetched stories, there would have been a companion show where real life paleontologists would have, well, explained stuff. This was deemed too "risky", so the two series got combined, and only four episodes were made. Many segments, some of which had been storyboarded and had their CGI models ready, were abandoned. They added "sparse" (yet at times still obnoxious and unneeded) narration, and cheesy holograms of talking scientists and various Stock Footage clips now interrupted the stories. Worse, despite the stories clearly having been animated as very dark comedies, the final show was presented to the viewers as a legit documentary. The Discovery Channel realized these faults, and at a later date, a cinematic version titled Dinotasia was released, which attempted to present the concept as it was originally intended, with no narration. However, since it could only work with whichever scenes had already been done, the movie turned out to be an inconsistent mess, and without the originally planned companion series, the educational value was all but lost. Even most of the special effects looked hokey, due to the rushed production.
- Nobel-prize winner Leon Ledermann, writing a book about the Higgs boson, wanted to call it "the goddamn particle" because of all the trouble it was causing within particle physics. His publisher, knowing what sort of controversy was more likely to stir up journalists' interest, insisted on kicking off trouble between science and theologians instead; hence, the Higgs is now popularly known as "the God particle".
- Beta readers in general. The idea behind a beta reader (or simply beta) is that you hand out your story to someone else and have them fix the grammar, spelling and possibly plot, but that also means you take responsibility for anything your beta does.
- TEEN FORTRESS 2: MarissaTheWriter came in contact with "Logic Edtor", who wanted to fix one chapter of horrible spelling and grammar, a Mary Sue cameo, indiscernible mixture of different fandoms and overall OOC-ness; however, the original was posted as well as the fixed chapter. (This is in fact with agreement from the author, unlike My Immortal's hacked chapter.)
- And the fixed chapter had Cave Johnson's trademark lemon rant randomly inserted.
- In-Universe: this is why the titular Show Within a Show in The Calvin, Hobbes, and Paine Show was retooled into a Variety Show after Watterson left. Another incident Calvin describes was when they were forced to do a parody of The Blair Witch Project in 1999, just like every other comedy show did at the time.
- After the author of Origin Story included a scene with Tony Stark (among a few others) speaking with George W. Bush (President at the time of the Civil War arc), the Twisting The Hellmouth mods declared that the scene violated policy, and was ordered to "remove George W. Bush and Dick Cheney from the story.". He did so. The mods only then declared that, no, he was supposed to remove the entire scene. not just sub out the real-world politicians for easily recognized replacements. The author (not to mention several other popular writers) no longer posts on TTH.
- This is what killed Cracked. Tabloid owner Dick Kulpa bought the mag, and as a cost-cutting measure, turned most artists' and writers' pays to flat-rate instead of by page. As a result, many veteran writers/artists left, such as Walter Brogan and John Severin. Kulpa was running the mag from his kitchen table, plastering it with tabloid-like covers, constantly delaying releases, and overall ruining the mag through his lack of experience. After that, an anthrax attack briefly stopped things. Finally, the mag was re-tooled as a "men's magazine" like Maxim for three issues before dying and coming back to life as a highly popular humor website.
- When Bill Watterson wanted a new half-page Sunday format for Calvin and Hobbes that would give him more control over the layout and arrangement of the panels, this caused considerable consternation in executives from the syndicate and the newspapers carrying the strip, as it would require drastic change in the layout of many of the papers' comics pages. In this particular case, negotiation between these executives resulted in a split decision: his half-page format would indeed be adopted, but so would a greatly shrunken quarter-page version to accommodate papers that couldn't spare the extra space. As Watterson noted in his anthology, this meant his strip actually lost space in some newspapers (reducing the royalties he received). On the whole, however, he counted this as a victory.
- The creator of Luann anticipated this so he made alternate strips concerning one story arc.
- Lynn Johnston wanted to end For Better or for Worse in 2008, however she was forced to write more strips because the syndicate(s) didn't want to lose their slots in the papers.
- For the most part, though, they gave up and went to straight reprints.
- Similar to the above example, Johnson's friend Charles Schulz had plans to end Peanuts in 1980. He knew that he was running out of ideas for the strip, and wanted to end it before it became stale. When he approached United Features Syndicate (who owned the strip) about doing so, they said that would be fine... but if he did, they'd turn Peanuts into a legacy strip and get someone else to write it. Not wanting to see the franchise in the hands of someone else, Schulz grudgingly took back his plans to end it and continued to do the strip for twenty more years.
- A positive example of executive meddling is with the creation of Thunderbirds. The production company exec, Lew Grade, liked the show so much that he demanded that the half-hour show have hour-long episodes. As a result, Gerry Anderson's company had to, at least initially, pad the time with additional plot twists and character development, which gave the series a sophistication that made the show a cult classic.
- Further executive decisions resulted in the cancellation of Thunderbirds after The Film of the Series failed to perform. This did, however, allow Anderson to develop his next show, Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons, which gathered a significant cult following of its own, if not as big as that of Thunderbirds. Grade made a less positive decision concerning Anderson's final Supermarionation show The Secret Service. Each episode featured Father Unwin, voiced by Stanley Unwin, bamboozling people with Unwin's trademark "Unwinese" doubletalk. Unfortunately, when Grade first heard this, he cancelled the show with only 13 episodes in the can, on the grounds that viewers wouldn't understand Unwinese — despite the fact that they weren't meant to.
- The Howard Stern Show: Executives were trying to change Stern's vision of his show since his first day on the air. It's generally agreed upon by critics and fans that him fighting and being able to do his show the way he wanted completely changed the way morning radio shows were presented. However, whether or not Stern going through the actual process of fighting these battles was entertaining leads to a case of Broken Base.
- While discussing the constant format battles in his Private Parts biography, he brings up several interesting anecdotes. For a Crowning Moment of Funny, when airing on WNBC, the station required a quick station identification before every commercial, which Howard dutifully agreed to do. But later, his program supervisor came to him and told him that the station wanted him to say "WNBC" with a quasi-Southern drawl, emphasizing the "N", specifically (Something like "W-Ee~ee~en-B-C!"). Naturally, the next day, Stern featured a skit with himself and another cast member playing the role of gay men auditioning for a WNBC program, debating over which of their ridiculously overexaggerated drawls was most suitable.
- Later on, he had a female program manager who was willing to go along with any idea he wanted, as long as it was planned out in advance, something he himself admitted was a perfectly reasonable request. If he wanted to have such-and-such skit, great; just pencil it in at X time on Y day, so listeners know to expect it on a regular basis. But at that point, Stern was still in that strange embryo phase between Small Name, Big Ego and Protection from Editors, which led to him arguing that he should be allowed to air skits and segments whenever he felt like it; in this case, he got away with it, but one wonders how many other supervisors there were willing to work with his ideas and get them into a structured format, as opposed to the majority he talks about in the book who were simply looking to hammer the censorship button and make his life hell.
- Stern himself has speculated the reason he was fired from WNBC was because the Chairman of RCA (who owned NBC at the time), Thornton Bradshaw, head Stern's "Beastiality Dial-A-Date" segment and ordered him fired.
- BBC executives banned The Goon Show from imitating politicians (which was a shame, since Peter Sellers had such voice-acting talent he could imitate anyone on Earth), and would regularly censor the scripts so nothing overtly political got through. Spike Milligan responded by trying to make the censors' lives as miserable as possible and ranting a lot about the BBC.
- On The Stan Freberg Show, CBS ordered the ending of the nearly episode-length sketch "Incident at Los Voraces" changed to replace the hydrogen bomb with an earthquake. The sketch returned to its original version on LP and CD.
- The creators of the Planescape and Al-Qadim settings for Dungeons & Dragons have both commented that they were fortunate TSR bosses expected a different setting to be the Next Big Thing, and so were breathing down those developers' necks, and leaving them to do whatever they wanted.
- Ever wonder why Dungeons & Dragons is now owned by Wizards of the Coast and not still by TSR? This trope (as well as Screwed by the Network) is directly responsible for TSR's downfall and subsequent purchase by Wizards. To go into more detail, Gary Gygax's colleagues, the Blume brothers, had pretty much run TSR into the ground while Gary was in California overseeing the D&D cartoon, so Gary asked Flint Dille if he knew someone who could help. He did: his sister, Lorraine Dille-Williams. Gary wanted the Blumes out of the company, but they sold their shares to Williams instead of him and Williams hated gaming and gamers; Gygax himself sold his shares and left the company in 1985. Under Lorraine Williams, TSR produced tons of un-playtested material and new settings, new systems that nobody really liked, overproduced product that was either returned or never distributed (and cost the company warehouse fees), and focused lots of resources on the Buck Rogers IP because Williams controlled the franchise and thus received the royalties. She also liked to have the company's lawyers threaten lawsuits against discussion groups and message boards for just hosting discussions of D&D, burying word-of-mouth advertisement for the game and allowing its competitors (notably Vampire: The Masquerade) to flourish. Really, if you're after a how-to guide for running a gaming company into the ground, Lorraine Williams pretty much wrote it.
- Disney Theme Parks went through a period of this in the Eisner-Era. Among the results are shutting down the Subs for the first time, the entire fiasco surrounding Journey into Imagination, the infamous cost-cutting that went into California Adventure, the Paris Studios park and Hong Kong Disneyland, and other problems.
- And that's not even mentioning the whole Horizons incident, which evidently caused a ban on even mentioning that Horizons ever existed until quite recently.
- Spoofed in the League of Intergalactic Cosmic Champions with the Evil K-NIT TV-47 Executive.
- Parodied in the series Revisioned: Activision, which has an executive trying to force two writers to remake the Atari game Kaboom for modern audiences. At one point, he even flips through a guide of "Screenwriting for Meddlers."
- On Gamespy, a negative 1.5/5 review for Donkey Konga 2 was partially rewritten to score 3/5. Then they pulled it off the website and replaced it with a new one (3.5/5). Penny Arcade was not amused.
- Caused a literal Creator Breakdown in the production of the series finale of There Will Be Brawl: Matthew Mercer had planned to release it on Christmas Day, but The Escapist (the host site) suddenly announced that it would be released a week early, causing Mercer to scramble so much to finish filming and editing that he ended up on bed rest with a pinched nerve. It ended up having to be released on New Year's Day.
- Despite the rather open nature of wiki sites, many are often subject to the rule of editors, admins, or whoever happens to be running the site. Countless wiki pages (including those on TV Tropes and The Other Wiki) have been moved, altered, or deleted by editor mandate for a variety of reasons.
- Mozilla Firefox is known for a variety of options to allow users to customize Firefox as they see fit. Mozilla Add-ons is an official Mozilla website for users looking for new add-ons to Firefox (and other Mozilla developed products). They have been trying to remove full themes that let you change every inch of Firefox and other Mozilla products for the last three years much to the annoyance of customization aficionados by doings things like trying to replace full themes with themes note and trying to obscure where full themes can be found at to drive download numbers lower to give themselves the excuse to cut full themes in future versions of Firefox.
- Even Cracked can get in on the action, as is seen by thisarticle on Bogleech about how the author's article was so thoroughly changed (Most notably by adding a "kill all spiders" slant when, if you read the author's other work, you'll see he holds the exact opposite position) that he ultimately disowned it.
- Another article by the same author on how much of a pain in the butt it is to get an article accepted shows how arbitrary their standards for what gets in their articles can be. They rejected Goddamned Noseybonk for an article on nightmare fuel in kid's TV for God's sake!
- A rare example where a bit of Executive Meddling might have been warranted: on the Bad Call TV episode "Playing the Fools," Comedy Central makes the error of allowing the creators of South Park to begin their second season on April Fool's Day, without any creative intervention. The result? A massive backlash from fans, who had hoped to see a resolution to the Season One cliffhanger, only to be treated to an entire episode of just Terrence and Phillip.
- This caused a show to be incomplete - Polaris were making a show called Game_Jam where four teams would compete to make a game in four days for a number of prizes. The show was sponsored by Mountain Dew, and yes, that fact is important. A consultant from PepsiCo went to each team implying that 'having females on the team would put them at a disadvantage', generally trying to make that Reality TV show bullshit drama. Every team walked off the set and refused to continue the project, costing Polaris $400,000 and costing the show's producer (not the guy who actually said this to the teams) to be fired from Polaris.
- The "Twitch Debacle" with Rooster Teeth. Rooster Teeth wanted a Twitch channel for livestreaming, since that's a big thing. However, a higher up decided that, instead of making a new one, they decided that the Twitch that Achievement Hunter member Ray Narvaez, Jr. used for his own personal livestreaming should be used as it already had a big number count. This pissed off Ray to the point where he was almost ready to quit the team. Eventually, he reluctantly relented, but his performances and responses to the fans were quite sour for some time. Then he actually did leave the company, although he did leave on good terms and is still on board for X-Ray and Vav.
- Early in World War II, Messerschmitt had a workable design for a jet-propelled interceptor that would theoretically wreak havoc on the Allies' air forces. They called it the Me 262. Fortunately for the free world, Hitler decided that what the Luftwaffe really needed wasn't an interceptor, but a tactical fighter-bomber. This arguably resulted in the Me 262's entry into the war being delayed until 1944, at which point it was too late to make a difference.
- Another example from Nazi Germany was the StG 44. It was a revolutionary design, what we today would call an assault rifle. During development, Hitler put it to a halt. Due to infighting amongst Nazi officials over what weapons took more priority, he wanted new submachine gun designs, not new rifle designs. Armorers made it anyway, giving it the designation MP43, the MP a designation normally given to submachine guns, which was what Hitler wanted. Hitler did eventually find out, had the production halted again, but put the weapon through a performance trial first before giving it his approval after the results proved favorable.
- Hitler and Stalin were pretty much the epitome of this on the Eastern Front. Not only would they override their top generals' decisions, but they would make absolutely unreasonable demands and then punish the generals for not following through. It came to the point where each of them was pretty much personally controlling the front and none of their generals were willing to dissuade them. Stalin only narrowly won out in the end because he was slightly more willing to listen to his general staff's advice (on top of more of his generals having the courage to actually disobey his orders and generate actual results).
- When France introduced its Lebel rifle in 1886, it was revolutionary for being the first smokeless powder rifle in the world, rendering all previous military rifles obsolete. But in every other way, it was barely an advancement over existing rifles, due to War Minister insisting that the rifle be developed within less than a year, and that it use a cartridge that the existing Gras rifles could be converted to fire in an emergency. As a result, the Lebel with its slow-to-reload tube magazine was hopelessly outclassed by German rifles within a mere 2 years, and by the 1890s nearly every major power had superior rifle to the Lebel that was loaded by either stripper clips or en bloc clips. On top of that, the requirements imposed for the 8mm Lebel cartridge resulted in a heavily tapered case that was very ill-suited to automatic and semi-automatic weapons, plaguing French design efforts for the next forty years.
- The Vasa was a Swedish warship commissioned by king Gustavus Adolphus, who wanted it to be as fearsome and powerful as possible. He kept increasing the number of cannons he wanted on the ship against the advice of the Dutch shipwrights he hired, resulting in one of the gun decks having its ports only barely above the waterline. This is generally not a good thing on a ship, where you tend to want the water to remain on the outside of the hull. When she was launched, with open gun ports, harbour water started sloshing in, the ship began to list, and after sailing for only 1300 metres, it disappeared beneath the waves. The king was outraged and wanted to have his shipwrights executed, but the courts rightly pointed out that they had continually advised against adding more and more guns and they were exonerated. The cannons were salvaged and the ship was ultimately forgotten... until it was found almost entirely intact in 1950. The icy cold water near the bottom of the Stockholm harbour had prevented the organic matter from decaying and it was salvaged and is currently housed in a museum, almost entirely intact, with a treasure trove of seventeenth century artifacts.
- Robert McNamara was notorious for this during the 60s. First, he demanded that the M16 be sent into Vietnam with no chrome-lined barrel, no forward assist, and above all, no training on how to clean the new riflenote . Thousands of stoppages, hundreds of lives, and several protests by the military later, field manuals were issued on how to clean the M16 and later the M16A1 entered service with all the features previously removed by McNamara. But the M16 was sadly not an isolated incident.
- Prior to Vietnam, the thinking was that the dogfight was a thing of the past, and thus, many aircraft were designed with this ideology in mind. However, what really hurt was the fact that because of the people in charge believing that "The Dogfight was dead", none of the pilots were trained on how to properly employ their missiles, let alone mix it up with the North Vietnamese aircraft note . Worse yet, Washington had a say in 'exactly' which route the strike forces were to take, and even ordered that the North Vietnamese Air Fields were not to be touched. Surprising no one with at least gold oak leaves or higher on their shoulders, the NVAF took full advantage of this, shot down dozens of F-105 Thunderchiefs, and always escaped before the F-4 Phantoms could catch them and shoot them down. When Col. Robin Olds arrived in Vietnam, he turned the tables on the situation there within a couple months, and nearly crippled the NVAF in his first major operation.
- The Navy didn't have it easy either. Throughout the war, McNamara tried in vain to get the Navy to accept the F-111B for fleet service. It suffered greatly from being underpowered, but more importantly, too heavy for carrier operations. Two attempts to eliminate anything non-essential on the plane to save weight failed to get it even close to the Navy's requirements. When asked if a new engine design would help any, the Secretary of the Navy answered "There isn't enough power in all Christendom to make that airplane what we want!" With that, the F-111B project was canned, and the VFX program began, resulting in the F-14 Tomcat.
- After a few recon photos showed the testing of some new Soviet fighters (the Su-27 Flanker and Mig-29 Fulcrum), the US Air Force got a little concerned that their nice shiny new F-15 Eagle might not be able to tangle with them, and so a new project was launched to try to design and build a new fighter that could take them on and defeat them. Although combat would show the F-15 was perfectly capable of taking on the new Russian fighters, Congress, in their infinite wisdom, decided to go ahead with the Advanced Tactical Fighter program, which resulted in two stealthy prototypes being deployed, the YF-22 Raptor and YF-23 Black Widow II. After a fly off, the F-22 was chosen and that's where the problems began. For starters, unlike previous planes, where one company was responsible for the airframenote , Congress decided that it was impossible for one company to build the new fighter alone, and instead of allowing Lockheed Martin to sell licenses, they ordered them to have other companies assist in the production by building various parts of the aircraft, which Lockheed would put together like a giant model kit. Making matters worse, the order kept getting slashed note and exports were prohibited in fear that allies may become enemies or use the Raptors for a preemptive attack on their neighbors. This has resulted in an otherwise great aircraft being plagued with compatibility problems, health risks to the pilots that fly it, and even a fatal crash.
- And to make things worse, Congress never learned their lesson about fighter design and ordered the design of a new Jack-of-All-Stats fighter that can do the job of any aircraft in the inventory and still be stealthy. And making matters worse was that they imposed a time limit of thirty-six months to design, develop, test, and deliver the new fighter. The end result is a plane that isn't all that stealthy, carries a laughable internal payload, can't turn, can't climb, and is developing stress fractures. All of this before the first aircraft is even delivered to the US military.
- During World War II, the Royal Italian Navy was directed by the high command in Rome until the very moment the fighting started, resulting in slowed reaction times that the Royal Navy could read the orders of in real time. Also, Mussolini forbade the Navy from having carriers and planes (aside for hydroplanes) and imposed that aircraft support was to be asked through the high command, resulting in the Royal Italian Navy never having aircraft support, the Royal Italian Air Force having inadequate bombs (called "cow shit" by the Navy), and multiple shootouts between the two (the Air Force would often come late and mistake the Italian ships for the British ones and attack, at which point the Navy would fire back at them).
- Another US one: the Beretta M9, victim of multiple troubles caused by meddling:
- When first adopted, there were reports of slide failures. Investigations showed that the failures happened on guns with very high rate counts and that the US military rounds were overpowered compared to the NATO standards. Beretta redesigned the gun to make sure that in case of failure the user wouldn't be injured and the ammo brought to normal standards, but at least one soldier lost his eye due the overpowered rounds and nobody checking the round count.
- For some reason, the US military refused to buy magazines from Beretta, opting instead to buy them from a number of other companies before settling with Airtronic USA. Airtronic magazines were infamously stoppage-prone, prompting to revert to the previous supplier.
- Still, stoppages continued. Turned out they were caused by the contract-mandated phosphate finish, which was supposed to repel sand but effectively attracted it.
- Currently Airtronic still supplies magazines to the US Armed Forces, as they cost less than other suppliers. They apparently have learned their lesson, however, as current magazines aren't as failure-prone.