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Short and funny clips fuel a long and serious career

Bruce Nash's clip shows on pets gone bad and cheating spouses used to prompt TV executives to apologize publicly, but appreciate the good ratings privately.

Now, thanks to the video-clip craze, Nash's shows are on multiple networks and in multiple countries.

"These were the shows the network presidents would apologize for," Nash says. "But YouTube and all of its hundreds of spinoffs have validated this genre."

It wasn't easy, though. Some of Nash's shows, such as "Cheating Spouses Caught on Tape" or "World's Worst Drivers," were considered the fall of society. (His reality shows, like "Mr. Personality" or "For Love of Money" didn't rate much better with critics, either.)

But today, a seemingly unsatiable desire by the public for watching video clips has made similar clips a TV staple.

"I watch MSNBC or Fox News, and they show you one of these clips where a guy tries to break into a 7-11 and the guy fights back," Nash says. "And they'll run it 10 times on the news. You're drawn by something so dramatic, so violent, so mind-boggling that could actually be captured on video."

Nash has a team of 150 people souring the globe for clips to feed the series "Most Shocking," "Most Daring" and "Crisis Point" for TruTv and others.

"It's become legitimate," he says.

Despite the negative knocks, the clip shows, along with the other reality fare, have allowed Nash to produce projects close to his heart, such as "Amazing Sports Stories," a 13-episode series for the Fox Sports Network, which has been nominated for four Sports Emmy Awards. (The Emmys will be handed out next week.)

"I've been saving these stories, reporting them in books and developing them for years," he says. "This is my passion. I would do it for free. The idea was to make the best television show I could."

The show focused on stories like those of Bill Miske, a boxer of the early 1900s who was diagnosed with a deadly kidney ailment and begged his manager for one more bout so his family would have money for Christmas. He somehow won the fight, and died two months later.

"I admire these people, and these stories have heart," Nash says.

He's also using the series, which is without a home after a programming change at FSN, as a jumping-off point for feature films.

"I want to make more of these," he says. "I keep finding these great stories."

"Amazing Sports Stories," Nash concedes, has provided some balance to his clip work.

"You might think I'm Darth Vader," he says, "but I'm Luke Skywalker inside."

By RICHARD HUFF, "New York Daily News"
Printed: Tue., Apr. 21, 2009

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