An Interview With The Executive Producer of Pawn Stars
Start writing a post
Entertainment

An Interview With The Executive Producer of Pawn Stars

462

This past week, Brent Montgomery, executive producer of Pawn Star, spoke to UT students at the Belo Media Center. Brent and I met up a few hours before his talk to dig deeper into his career, experiences, and advice.
 You studied journalism as an undergrad at Texas A&M. What about journalism made reality TV appealing?
The stuff that works best is the stuff that’s the most authentic. You’ve seen shows that when the audience sees that it’s too cooked, they often reject it. If it’s a comedy show that’s duck dynasty, people allow for more leeway. There is definitely reality that is scripted and over scripted, and that usually doesn’t work out well.
 What do you think are your core journalism skills that helped you in reality TV?
Being able to identify a story. When you are on the set of a reality show, the story unfolds in front of your eyes. The skills of being a journalist and saying this is a core story or this is what the audience will gravitate to. I always say the editors are the storytellers. They get handed hundreds of hours worth of tape, and you get to craft that story. I like to be involved in that part of the process even though running a business I can’t be involved in everything, but I like to be involved in the end.

 You own Leftfield Pictures. Do you miss being lower on the totem pole?
Brent told me a story of how his CPA wanted to own an ice cream shop to get the satisfaction of scooping ice cream for a child, handing it to them, and the child looking up graciously saying thank you. In the end his friend had only scooped about three ice cream cones because he was so busy.As you run a business, you’re much more out of the creative than you used to be. So I would say to people who want to stay in the creative, you want to be a producer or a show runner. You won’t make as much money, but you’ll get to tell a story every day.

 Why do you think Pawn Stars was such a big success?
We found really smart scripters to feed the characters organic information. The timing was really good. The economy was in the crapper, and the show was about selling things to get out of the crapper. I think people love stuff; the items are the stars (don’t tell the stars that). People really remember when you bring in a coke machine from the 60s and what it felt like to go to a coke machine and the great stories behind the stuff that you don’t hear on other shows.

 Did you ever tell the guys to pay more or less for an item to keep the show interesting?If you ever met those guys, I couldn’t convince them to pay more for anything. But I did tell them initially to try and buy the stuff even if they didn’t want it. If we had a show where they never bought anything, it wouldn’t work well. Off camera we have to make sure that these people will actually sell the stuff at a reasonable price, otherwise they’re just trying to be on TV. We figured that out fairly quickly.

 Are you able to tell when a show will be a success?
I walked out of the pawn shop and said “I never want to go there again." These guys smoked. They were saying the same jokes over and over. I was actually the fourth producer to work with them. And so I certainly didn’t think that was going to be a hit show. The History Channel had a better feeling about it than we did.
We had a show called Bridal Bootcamp. It sounds good on paper: Bridezilla meets Biggest Loser. The women were out of control. Most of the women came out with better self esteem, but nobody watched it. The show was on a network that wasn’t doing well at the time (VH1). Seven or eight of ten don’t work. But at the end of the day I say, let’s make the best show we can.

 Do you like working on Pawn Stars?
I became quite close with the cast which doesn’t always happen. The cast is really smart, and they work really hard. A lot of these people, fame gets to their head and they don’t show up to work. And we’re profiling these guys working. As ridiculous as it sounds, it's important they show up to work everyday. 

 Do you watch reality TV?
No, mostly scripted and sports. My wife works for the company and goes home and watches those shows. I don’t know how she does it. 

 How do you feel about the genre of reality TV?
A lot of the shows like Real Housewives fill the gap of soap operas. I’ll watch them but at a safe distance. I would rather watch from my couch than on set.
 Do you think there will be scripted?
I think there will always be scripted. For a while scripted was getting pretty bad, and that’s where unscripted came in. There was a strike, and I think scripted has come back stronger than ever. It used to be film took the chances, but now the best writers, directors and actors are working in television as opposed to film.
Do you have any advice for communication majors?
It’s a pretty good time to get into the entertainment industry. I think our industry is a growth industry. People come in knowing it's going to be a lot of hard work. You don’t get that close to making the creative decisions right out of the gate. You need to understand that and know that creative comes later on in your career. Understand how to take your social network tools and apply it to business.

As an Aggie did you ever think you would be asked to speak at UT?
I grew up always wanting to go to UT. I was accepted to the summer provisional program, which was a well-known way to weed out kids. A bunch of my friends went to A&M, so I transferred there. I still cheer for the longhorn football team…that will keep me out of College Station (I assured Brent that it’s a local paper). I’m excited to be here. I always wanted to go here, so this will satisfy some of that.


Side note: Brent also filled me in that Pawn Stars is currently making its way to the land down under for Australia’s version of Pawn Stars. 

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Olivia White

"The American flag does not fly because the wind moves it. It flies from the last breath of each solider who died protecting it."

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

Separation Anxiety in Pets

Separation anxiety in pets is a real thing and recognizing the warning signs is important.

177443

Since March, Covid-19 required most of the world to quarantine in their homes. Majority of people ended up working from home for nearly five months. This meant pet owners were constantly with their pets giving them attention, playing with them, letting them out etc. Therefore, when the world slowly started to open up again and pet owners began returning to normal life work schedules away from the home, pet owners noticed a difference in the way their pet acted. Many pets develop separation anxiety especially during this crazy time when majority people were stuck inside barely leaving the house.

Keep Reading... Show less
Robert Bye on Unsplash

I live by New York City and I am so excited for all of the summer adventures.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

The invention of photography

The history of photography is the recount of inventions, scientific discoveries and technical improvements that allowed human beings to capture an image on a photosensitive surface for the first time, using light and certain chemical elements that react with it.

351077

The history of photography is the recount of inventions, scientific discoveries and technical improvements that allowed human beings to capture an image on a photosensitive surface for the first time, using light and certain chemical elements that react with it.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Exposing Kids To Nature Is The Best Way To Get Their Creative Juices Flowing

Constantly introducing young children to the magical works of nature will further increase the willingness to engage in playful activities as well as broaden their interactions with their peers

1755030

Whenever you are feeling low and anxious, just simply GO OUTSIDE and embrace nature! According to a new research study published in Frontiers in Psychology, being connected to nature and physically touching animals and flowers enable children to be happier and altruistic in nature. Not only does nature exert a bountiful force on adults, but it also serves as a therapeutic antidote to children, especially during their developmental years.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

5 Simple Ways To Give Yourself Grace, Especially When Life Gets Hard

Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we are becoming.

1111080
Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

If there's one thing I'm absolutely terrible at, it's giving myself grace. I'm easily my own worst critic in almost everything that I do. I'm a raging perfectionist, and I have unrealistic expectations for myself at times. I can remember simple errors I made years ago, and I still hold on to them. The biggest thing I'm trying to work on is giving myself grace. I've realized that when I don't give myself grace, I miss out on being human. Even more so, I've realized that in order to give grace to others, I need to learn how to give grace to myself, too. So often, we let perfection dominate our lives without even realizing it. I've decided to change that in my own life, and I hope you'll consider doing that, too. Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we're becoming. As you read through these five affirmations and ways to give yourself grace, I hope you'll take them in. Read them. Write them down. Think about them. Most of all, I hope you'll use them to encourage yourself and realize that you are never alone and you always have the power to change your story.

Keep Reading... Show less
Entertainment

Breaking Down The Beginning, Middle, And End of Netflix's Newest 'To All The Boys' Movie

Noah Centineo and Lana Condor are back with the third and final installment of the "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" series

990454
Netflix

Were all teenagers and twenty-somethings bingeing the latest "To All The Boys: Always and Forever" last night with all of their friends on their basement TV? Nope? Just me? Oh, how I doubt that.

I have been excited for this movie ever since I saw the NYC skyline in the trailer that was released earlier this year. I'm a sucker for any movie or TV show that takes place in the Big Apple.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

4 Ways To Own Your Story, Because Every Bit Of It Is Worth Celebrating

I hope that you don't let your current chapter stop you from pursuing the rest of your story.

651360
Photo by Manny Moreno on Unsplash

Every single one of us has a story.

I don't say that to be cliché. I don't say that to give you a false sense of encouragement. I say that to be honest. I say that to be real.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments