Excerpted from Philadelphia Inquirer Front Page Business on 3.9.2016
[along with two other co-founders]… the Dicklers then set up Philly-based Banyan Productions in 1993, making some of the first infomercials (one, for the Medicus dual-hinge golf club, is still running). And they helped then-fledgling cable channels such as Discovery, the Food Network, HGTV, and Travel Channel get off the ground with “transformative” personal growth storytellers like Home Matters, Trading Spaces, The Wedding Story, and Ambush Makeover, working in a style they called “authentic reality.”
“We were so ahead of the curve we sometimes had difficulty getting people to participate as subjects, until the term ‘reality TV’ was explained in a high-profile article in 1998,” Jan recalled. “After that, the floodgates opened. We started getting pitched by a new breed of ‘professional’ reality show regulars who happily jumped from show to show.”
At one point, Banyan Productions had “10 or 11” series running simultaneously on cable and broadcast channels, including PBS and FOX, and employed as many as 347 staffers.
But after a staggering 6,000 episodes, the Dicklers were burned to a crisp. They capped their run in 2013 to 2015 with Natural Reboot – a makeover show for women who feel crrazed and “need to take it down a notch and simplify,” Susan said.
…”We’re just a few months in, still fine-tuning the process and happy being very hands-on…” Susan said. “But we’re creating a template that other video producers could follow, …and there are no geographic restrictions because everything is done online, stored online.”