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Executive Meddling / Other Media
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There are executives in every industry.

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  • Used in-universe by Sprint for a movie theater commercial: An animated movie is almost finished, and the studio demands pants on Happy the Hedgehog.
  • The Apple character in the commercials for Apple Jacks was originally an outright villain who tried to stop his rival Cinna-Mon from making to the bowl- his original name was even "Bad Apple". However, the health industry objected to a healthy food being portrayed as evil, so Apple underwent a Heel–Face Turn and is now a Friendly Rival who doesn’t try to cheat.

  • 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 simultaneously 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."
  • One of the friars overseeing The Last Supper's creation was tired of enduring Leonardo's lengthy production and demanded he finished the painting. Leonardo insisted he needed to find the right face for the final apostle, and after several times being insulted by the friar, angrily claimed that the friar's face looking more and more fitting for the last apostle: Judas Iscariot. The friar backed down and let Leonardo finish The Last Supper.

  • 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 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 narration and holograms of talking scientists, while various Stock Footage clips now interrupted the stories. 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.

    Fan Fiction 

    Puppet Shows 
  • Thunderbirds had a positive example. 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.
    • Possibly from trying to avoid this from American distributors, the main characters were given primarily American ethnicity so that the series could appeal to transatlantic audiences. However, whether they had to make the change is debatable, as U.S. distributors are known for re-dubbing voice acting to American accents and speech, even if it is already in English.
  • Grade also made a 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.
  • Of course, tropes are not always bad: while Sesame Street has gotten flak in the past for the bigger changes they made to the show, such as the brief addition of the Around the Corner set in the mid-90s and the current time/format changes on HBO, most changes are made to take into account the show's audience and how they would best respond to characters, stories, and segments (while still staying true to the Sesame spirit). The whole point of Elmo's World, dreaded though it may be, was to give the show's younger viewers a chance to see their favorite character alongside (relatively - it's still a kid's show) Lighter and Softer visuals and music. The negative side is, unfortunately, played straight when people like head writer/puppeteer Joey Mazzarino left after feeling discouraged with the show's new direction.
  • When Jeff Dunham did a show in Malaysia, he was politely but firmly told that he couldn't use or even mention Achmed the Dead Terrorist. He got around this by introducing Achmed's French cousin, Jacques Merde. (In other words, Achmed with a beret and a funny mustache.)

  • 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 Funny Moment, 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, heard Stern's "Beastiality Dial-A-Date" segment and ordered him fired.
  • BBC executives banned The Goon Show from imitating politicians, 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.
  • Due to a syndicate merger, two rival shows focusing on mostly 1970s and 1980s-era Country Music (Country Gold with Rowdy Yates and Rick Jackson's Country Hall of Fame) had this happen in 2012. Country Gold replaced host Rowdy Yates with Alabama lead singer Randy Owen, while Country Hall of Fame was ended entirely. The Randy Owen era was widely criticized due to his sleepy hosting style and constant ass-kissing of fellow country stars, as opposed to Rowdy's more boisterous delivery and constant sharing of interesting facts pertaining to the artists or the industry. Once Yates and Jackson got the rights back to their old formats, they both partnered with other syndicates to create new shows identical to their old ones (The Original Country Gold and Rick Jackson's Country Classics). As a result, many affiliates stuck with Owen's show switched back to Yates's and/or Jackson's new shows. Owen's Country Gold declined so far that many questioned whether it was still on the air, until Westwood One announced in March 2016 that they would be replacing him with Canadian country singer Terri Clark and focusing more on songs from The '90s.
  • In the United Kingdom, Viking FM wanted to go more along the lines of New York station Z100 for style and tone and drop syndicated programmes, but Bauer Media's executives made it verboten in 2015.

    Tabletop Games 
  • 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.
  • Some of the Crazy Awesome of Spelljammer stemmed from Creator Backlash at TSR's execs pushing their deadline forward with no chance to playtest.
  • At the end of the '80s TSR decided to cancel their fairly successful Star Frontiers sci-fi game line in favor of launching a new Buck Rogers XXVC RPG, complete with tie-in novels, boardgames, and videogames. The decision may have had something to do with the fact that Lorraine Williams, the head of TSR at the time, was also an heir of the Dille Family trust which owned the rights to Buck Rogers. She personally earned a royalty for every use of those rights.
  • When marketing Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition, the designers created a number of "iconic" characters to show up in artwork, and made a deliberate effort to avert Humans Are White (the iconic monk was Ember, a black woman, one of the iconic wizards was Naull, an Asian woman, etc). Executives pressured them to create Regdar, a white human male fighter, even though they'd already created an iconic fighter in the form of Tordek the dwarf. The designers attempted to make him Ambiguously Brown instead, but this didn't work, and Regdar became easily the most commonly-featured character in artwork and promotions. They were so disgusted at this that they made it something of a Running Gag to kill off Regdar whenever they could get away with it.
  • In an example of distributor meddling, Upper Deck Entertainment pressured Konami into letting them rearrange the rarities, severely alter the construction of the Structure Decks brought over, and create their own cards for the newest Yu-Gi-Oh! collectible card game sets. This has had the end effect of widening rifts between Japanese and Western versions of the game, and eventually led to Konami taking the game back... where they proceeded to basically do everything Upper Deck had done.
  • Magic: The Gathering's Mythic Rares. Magic had always had Common, Uncommon, and Rare cards (though not always-always: some early sets only had Common and Uncommon cards, with Rares not really existing at all). However, Hasbro, Wizards' owner, wanted the game to have "very rare" cards like every other trading card game out there; keeping in mind that one major draw of Magic was the nonexistence of "very rare" cards like everyone else. Wizards' response? Fine. But sets will now be much smaller, so that the probability of getting any one Mythic Rare in the new sets is now the same as the probability of getting any one Rare in the older sets. This hasn't changed the general public's perceptions that Mythic Rares are much more powerful and thus should be worth more money, but as a whole the game hasn't suffered much from this.

    Web Original 
  • 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 written by an independent reviewer for Donkey Konga 2 was submitted to Gamespy, and then was partially rewritten overnight to score 3/5. Then in response to the reviewer's protests, they pulled it off the website and replaced it with a new one (3.5/5). Penny Arcade was not amused. Gamespy also fired the reviewer afterwards, just to add more salt to the wound.
  • 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.
  • Cracked:
    • In this article 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!
  • An 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 1 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 that brings in the ratings. Every team walked off the set and refused to continue the project, costing Polaris $400,000 and causing 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 Narvaez 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 & Vav.
  • According to Doug at a con, Mike Michaud made him and Cinema Snob do a The Nostalgia Critic video on Sharknado because it would get good hits.
    • Mike seems to be behind a bunch of questionable decisions on Channel Awesome's part. He was responsible for the ill-fated Pop Quiz Hotshot (sample meddling: telling Jim Jarosz to "just build a game show set" with little guidance and no concept) and misunderstandings with him led to the departure of many Channel Awesome contributors, either through firing or quitting.
  • Comic Book Resources got taken over by new owners who immediately axed all of the columns that were the site's unique selling point. Cue cries of They Changed It, Now It Sucks!!
  • Part of the main premise of Phelous's series Halloweenie, in which the titular skeletal host is constantly being forced to stop threatening or intimidating viewers, referencing or encouraging illegal activities (such as "creating your own" blood-stained sheet), being negative about the products he is describing, spouting vulgarity, and criticizing executive decisions. Additionally, he is forced to take on co-hosts and is frequently "Cancelled Forever" and replaced by Tastes Like Diabetes replacements. The meddling usually comes in the form of rapid cuts cutting off the "bad take" mid-sentence, such as:
    Halloweenie: I actually kind of dig [this pumpkin decoration]. LIKE I DIG UP CORPS-CUT-these pumpkin lights.
    Halloweenie: (sees phony police tape) Oh no! Looks like the police found out about my murd-CUT-minor crimes!
    Halloweenie: Really? A fake blood-stained sheet? You don't need to buy one of these when you can make one at home EASILY-CUT-Don't make one at home, buy a stupid fake one-CUT-good fake one, for the love of...
  • Jim Sterling, of the Jimquisition, has noted time and again that they do not receive review copies of video games from certain publishers, chiefly EA Games, Konami, and Square Enix. They used their connections in the industry to find out why, and learned that those publishers consider them too much of a "wildcard", and only want to send review copies to reviewers they consider "safe" so they can be assured positive reviews. This naturally went poorly, since Sterling immediately spread the news of this practice everywhere they could.
  • FPSRussia once wanted to show his faith in a piece of body armor by putting the armor on and having his buddy shoot him. In a shining example of Tropes Are Not Bad, his agent, Youtube, his buddy, and even his fans all vetoed the idea.
  • One Youtube channel, Bruno and Mia's MMPR Toys, had an interesting moment. During a period of time where the two had been in the process of moving and getting re-set back up, they ended up falling behind a bit on their videos. Since October 2018, they were getting a bit of help with a Youtube adviser. That was, until January 15, 2019, in a shining example of being out of touch with trends, told them that Power Rangers was a dead brand, that no one was searching for them and they should immediately stop what they were doing and start something brand new immediately. This prompted Bruno to ask fans of the franchise to subscribe to tell this person they were incredibly wrong.

  • Toonami: According to an Anime News Network interview with Jason DeMarco, the person in charge of Toonami, as the years went on and Toonami's success became indisputable, the rest of Cartoon Network's programming people gradually took more control. They began hands-off, seeing how Toonami would do on its own, with the people at Toonami doing broadcasting rights themselves. Then, Cartoon Network offered people to help get rights for Toonami. Later, Cartoon Network looked for show rights themselves, got a lot of deals started, and would ask DeMarco and others about which ones they should continue pursuing. Finally, they became harmful: Cartoon Network executives forced the very out-of-place Hamtaro onto Toonami, then took most of the control over the block. This is the reason why the original Toonami's final years had a severe increase in Merchandise-Driven shows aimed at younger audiences than before, like Duel Masters and D.I.C.E., as well as the removal of Toonami Midnight Run, which was aimed at teenagers and adults. The new Toonami, the one that's part of [adult swim], had executives overestimate how popular it would be. It was intended to be only 3 hours long, but their superiors insisted on it being 6 hours. Since Toonami's budget cannot allow for 6 hours' worth of new content all the time, they scraped whatever reruns they could hold onto to pad out the latter half. When Toonami was cut down to 3 and half hours in 2015, the decision was actually welcomed by the Toonami staff, as it meant they could now run the block as they intended.
    • Another example related to Toonami comes in regards to the Gundam series they aired - after the surprisingly popular Mobile Suit Gundam Wing finished its run, the staff at Toonami went to Sunrise to get another Gundam show (reportedly, they had After War Gundam X and/or ∀ Gundam in mind). However, Sunrise insisted that Toonami air the original Mobile Suit Gundam... which ended up bombing in ratings. Later, Sunrise made Toonami play SD Gundam Force for the same reason, despite Toonami's staff not wanting to (although the latter happened around the time that Cartoon Network started to take control of Toonami's program block).
  • 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 decided to change it to "the god particle".
  • At the turn of the millennium, Quizno's Subs created a distribution subsidiary and started requiring franchisees to buy their food and paper products at absurdly inflated prices through it, severely cutting into franchisee profits. This created a very negative relationship between Quizno's and their franchisees, leading to many closing down, others filing lawsuits, and even one being Driven to Suicide. Things only got more heated when, as a desperate effort to fend off Subway offering toasted sandwiches (Quizno's defining trait for a long time, easily replicated by toasting ovens) and the $5 footlong, Quizno's discounted their sandwiches and offered free sandwich coupons to stay competitive, further enraging franchisees and leading many to outright refuse the coupons from customers. This, along with growing too quickly and the 2008 recession, led to them going from almost 5,000 units at their 2007 peak to less than 1,000 in about a decade.
  • Microsoft was on the receiving end of this from IBM when the two companies were jointly developing OS/2, the planned successor to MS-DOS. IBM insisted on using its own incompatible API instead of the already established Windows API apparently out of spite. They also insisted on supporting the 286 processor as opposed to the 386, out of the (correct) belief that the chip would cannibalize the company's mainframes. IBM also insisted on measuring programmer productivity by lines of code. IBM was naturally incensed when Windows 3.0 took off in 1990. The tensions between the two companies came to a head, and they finally agreed to solely develop their own products. Microsoft changed its upcoming version of OS/2 to Windows NT, and when it was merged with the consumer version of Windows with XP, it became the advanced protected-mode successor to MS-DOS that OS/2 tried and failed to be. OS/2, despite attracting a cult following among techies, faltered in the marketplace.

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