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The Challenge

Bob Newhart attempts the impossible - opening a new DVD.

  • FEATURE
  • SYNOPSIS
  • CAST & CREW
  • BEHIND THE SCENES
  • iQ&A
  • PRODUCTION STILLS
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Pilot

Bob Newhart, the beloved "everyman" who has been honored with the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, tests his mettle in "The Challenge." In it, he will attempt to do "what many people think is one of the most difficult tasks in modern society" – opening a new DVD.

Like all challenges worthy of a man of Bob's stature, this one tests his patience, his ingenuity, and his character. And like all heroic figures, he uses every weapon at his disposal – even risking injury.

Is Bob up to this task? Will he meet the challenge? Will he slay the dragon that is the wretched DVD packaging?

To get the answers to those questions, you'll have to watch
THE CHALLENGE.

Bob Newhart

Bob Newhart

"Bob Newhart"

Bob Newhart

  "Bob Newhart"

Taylor Bongiovi

Taylor Bongiovi

"The Granddaughter"

Taylor Bongiovi

  "The Granddaughter"

Taylor Bongiovi, who plays the granddaughter in "The Challenge," is, coincidentally, Bob Newhart's granddaughter. Bob has 9 grandchildren at the moment, but that is subject to change. Taylor is 12 years old and starting middle school this year in Los Angeles.  Although, this is Taylor’s first “webisode”, she has performed in several theater productions including “Oliver” and “Carousel”.  “I really enjoyed working with my Poppie in the making of the Challenge.  He’s the funniest man I know!”

Lloyd Garver

Lloyd Garver

Writer
Producer

Lloyd Garver

  Writer  Producer

I grew up in Chicago, went to college at Berkeley, and got my Masters at Northwestern. Then I went on to write and produce television shows ranging from "Sesame Street" to "The Bob Newhart Show" to "Family Ties" to "Home Improvement" to "Frasier".

I have been a weekly humor and opinion columnist for about seven years. You can check out my column at lloydgarver.com.

Michael Allan Zinberg

Michael Allan Zinberg

Director

Michael Allan Zinberg

  Director

Michael Zinberg has enjoyed a multi-faceted career holding decision-making, creative positions in every aspect of Prime Time and Cable Television Production.

On the Sound Stage, he is an award-winning Director, with literally hundreds of hours of shows to his credit, including Comedies, Dramas and Movies of the Week.

He is the recipient of The Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directing In Television for a Dramatic Series.  The Show was Quantum Leap, the episode was Vietnam.

Other shows he has Directed include; The Unit, Psych, LOST, Monk, The Practice, Aliens In America, The Wedding Belles, The Return Of Jezebel James, The Gilmore Girls, Eyes, Everybody Loves Raymond, Any Day Now, First Monday, NCIS, Boston Public, Law & Order; Special Victims Unit, Yes, Dear,  The Pretender, JAG, Charmed, Hack, Caroline In The City, Men Behaving Badly and earlier in his career; Taxi, Cheers, Who’s The Boss, WKRP in Cincinnati, Family Ties, Lou Grant, The White Shadow, The Yellow Rose, Reasonable Doubts, Midnight Caller, Duet, Open House, Coach,  L.A. Law, Hooperman and  BOB, Newhart  and The Bob Newhart Show.

In 2007, he was honored by The Caucus for Television Producers, Writers and Directors with their Caucus Honors Award for career achievement in Directing.

As a Writer-Producer, the shows on which he has worked have won multiple Emmys and numerous other awards. Mr. Zinberg himself has been nominated for an Emmy Award four times, both in Comedy and Drama. Among the shows he produced and/or wrote; Quantum Leap, JAG, Tequila & Bonetti, earlier The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and the entire run of The Bob Newhart Show. He also created, wrote and produced The Yellow Rose, Heart Of The City, and Fathers And Sons.

The MOW For The Very First Time (NBC), which he Directed and Produced, was based on one of a series of short stories he wrote. He Directed and Produced the MOW Accidental Meeting (Lifetime). He has also Directed the MOW’s The Commish; In The Skin Trade (ABC), and A Christmas Wedding (Lifetime).

Mr. Zinberg is one of the few members of the creative community who have also held executive positions at two different times with a major network. As Vice President, Comedy Series, he developed Hill Street Blues, Cheers and supervised Facts Of Life for NBC.

Later, as President, Creative Affairs, NBC Productions, he ran the studio for the network and supervised Late Night: Saturday Night Live, The Tonight Show Starring Jay Leno, and Late Night With Conan O’Brien; Prime Time: Fresh Prince Of Bel Air, Homicide, Life on The Street (Peabody Award Winner); Saturday Morning and Movies & Mini-Series.

It is, however, his work as a Director that Mr. Zinberg is most proud, and his association with the many actors who have received awards for performances/shows he directed them in. Specific among these guest artists are: Bruce Weitz, Midnight Caller, Mercy Me; James Whitmore, Sr., The Practice, Oz; and Marlee Matlin, The Practice, Life Sentence, Season Four Finale.

He is closely associated with The Directors Guild of America. He is a vested member and serves on its Board as an alternate, also as a member of the Western Directors Council, and as Co-Chair of The Television Creative Rights Committee.  He was a member of several Contract Negotiating Committees, including the most recent. In those critical contract negotiations of 2007-8, he was a member of the New Media sub-committee and the Director’s Compensation committee.

He is a Trustee of The Directors Guild Pension, Health & Welfare Fund and serves on its Finance Committee.

Mr. Zinberg is a member of, and participates in, many other Professional Organizations. He is a Life Member of the Writers Guild of America, West. He is a member of the Caucus for Television Writers, Producers and Directors and a current member of the Steering Committee. He is a Trustee of The Caucus Foundation, which funds student films.

He is a member of The Academy Of Television Arts & Sciences and has been a member of his Peer Group Executive Committee.

Mr. Zinberg recently finished his first Novel, A Man At Midnight, and between directing assignments, is currently at work on several new projects for a variety of broadcast outlets.

He also advises and coaches people outside the entertainment business through his work at DirectionMZ, a company he founded to educate and improve presentation and performance in today’s multi-media universe.  He is also a frequent guest speaker at Industry seminars and conferences and at many Universities and Colleges.

His connection with The University Of Texas at Austin, from which he graduated, goes back many years. He received The Outstanding Young Texas Ex Award by the University Ex-Student Association, of which he is a Life Member. He has spoken at the Annual Communication Week Seminars and given Master Classes in Writing and Directing. He is now serving his fifth three-year term on the College of Communication Foundation Advisory Board.

In 1994, he was honored by The UT College of Communication with the annual Outstanding Alumnus Award.

Of all the accomplishments in his life, he ranks his relationship with his family as his greatest.  His wife Leslie, a writer and designer, also a graduate of the University Of Texas, and his sons Rodd, an Artist, and Judd, a Los Angeles businessman, and Judd’s wife Jamie, all share the common belief that what they have is better than anything.

Stephen C. Grossman

Stephen C. Grossman

Producer

Stephen C. Grossman

  Producer

Stephen C. Grossman has been producing half hour television for well over 20 years. In that time he has seen the transition from film, both 35mm and 16mm to quad tape, to 1 inch to the current 24p HD format. One thing he has learned is that the recording medium is not the message. No series or pilot is ever considered a success because of the medium on which it has been recorded.

From 1977 to 1990 Stephen worked for the Mary Tyler Moore Co. on numerous shows and pilots. From a variety show staring Mary Tyler Moore and David Letterman to producing the 8 year run of the NEWHART Show.

After leaving MTM in 1990 Stephen freelanced at numerous production companies including Warner Bros., Paramount, Disney, Turner TV, Spelling Productions, NBC Prods., Carsey/Werner, Steven Bochco Prods and CBS Prods.

He has produced nearly 400 episodes of Network Television. Some series lasting many seasons and of course some only for a matter of weeks.

A small sample of his work is NEWHART, BABY BOB, GEORGE and LEO,CONRAD BLOOM, PUBLIC MORALS, 52 FIGHTS, LOVE and MONEY, MEN,WOMEN, and DOGS, HOPE and GLORIA, RENO 911

He is a member of the DGA, PGA, AFTRA and Television Academy.

Stephen is a former Chairman of the American Association of Producers and currently an Honorary Board Member of the PRODUCERS GUILD of AMERICA

Krishna Rao

Krishna Rao

Director of Photography

Krishna Rao

  Director of Photography

Krishna Rao has been a Feature Film and Television cameraman for over 30 years, most recently the Director of Photography on the CBS series "The Unit".

Michael Stecher

Michael Stecher

Camera Operator

Michael Stecher

  Camera Operator

Mike Stecher has been a camera guy for over 15 years, most recently on CBS TV's "The Unit".

David Garver

David Garver

Editor

David Garver

  Editor

David Garver was born and raised in Los Angeles. He graduated from NYU in 2006 with a BA in Alternative Education. He has been working in post production and as an editor at The Post Office Editorial Films, Inc. since July of 2007. He has worked on a variety of projects including independent shorts, commercials, p.r. and corporate videos, as well as television shows, web specific content and a feature-length documentary.

Jeff Angell

Jeff Angell

Make Up

Jeff Angell

  Make Up

Matt Cartsonis

Matt Cartsonis

Music

Matt Cartsonis

  Music

Vic Holchack

Vic Holchack

Narration

Vic Holchack

  Narration

Spencer Sloan

Spencer Sloan

Production Assistant

Spencer Sloan

  Production Assistant

UCLA class of 2007, JERICHO season 2, Sons of Anarchy PILOT, Middleman

Rodd Zinberg

Rodd Zinberg

Production Stills

Rodd Zinberg

  Production Stills

Rodd Zinberg is a Los Angeles based artist, illustrator and photographer. In 2003, after receiving a BFA from Washington University in St. Louis in Visual Communications with a concentration in Illustration, he returned home to LA. Over the last five years, he has worked for Guy Dill, a Venice-based sculptor, Olivia De Berardinis, one of the premier contemporary Pin-Up artists, and, now, has established his own freelance career, working on commissioned projects as well as his own.

He is currently working on a private commission for a Palm Springs couple and group of illustrations for the Cedars-Sinai Medical Group.

685812522

thumbnailLloyd Garver, Stephen Grossman and David Garver

What's the premise of The Challenge, and what was your experience like making it?
What is your history with Bob Newhart, and how did he get involved in The Challenge?
Having worked with Newhart for so many years, what makes his comedy so special?
What's the premise of The Challenge? What was your experience like making it?
How did Bob Newhart get involved with The Challenge?
Having worked with Bob Newhart for years, what makes his comedy so special?
What was it like to work professionally with your son for the first time?
Patrick Francis

Patrick Francis recently completed a feature documentary on the maverick film director, Andre deToth. Andre deToth: The Director's Director probes the connection between deToth's wild life (his escape from Nazi-occupied Poland, the devastating collapse of his marriage to Veronica Lake, his resilience after breaking his neck three times) and his extraordinary cinematic achievements (A-pictures, B-pictures, noirs, westerns, war films, and the 3-D classic, House of Wax). A collaborative effort shot over the last years of deToth's life, the film is an intimate portrayal and highly personal exploration of a man who truly lived life on his own terms. Directors Quentin Tarantino, Nicolas Roeg, Richard Donner, and Bertrand Tavernier also pay tribute to this largely underappreciated artist.

For the video-based website, Interviewing Hollywood, Mr. Francis has produced and edited over 30 hours of content, and conducted in-depth, career-focused Q&A's with Crispin Glover, Elliott Gould, Peter Bogdanovich, and many others. He's also written several screenplays for hire (which hopefully will never be produced) as well as film-related journalism for such publications as L.A. Weekly and MovieMaker Magazine, among others.

It should be noted that Mr. Francis is obsessed with the cinema of Werner Herzog, is an L.A. native, and is the proud owner of a barrel of single malt Scotch whiskey, which is aging quietly in the briny sea air of southern Scotland.

thumbnail Patrick Francis: Special Features Producer

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Comments (44)

kenyafrinkwater (25th June 2012)
This was great. Will there be more episodes? I hope so. Bob and his granddaughter are wonderful together. They should do a whole series.

perespass (25th June 8384)
HILARIOUS!!!

richardjamesknight (25th June 1220)
One of my all time favourite comedians! Bob, you haven't even aged!

newt (14th February 2009)
This was great! Understated humor at its best. I love the 'paper clip injury during the Korean War' discussion.

I laughed at the 'grandaughter played by Taylor Bongiovi' in the credits (she is, in fact, his grandaughter--there's a family photo on the web).

mabell3368 (23rd January 2009)
Brilliant! Bob Newhart, where have you been? The man is pure genius. He can make even the most mundane task hilarious! And Taylor Bongiovi was delightful as the garanddaughter. Great script, terrific delivery. He shoots; he scores!

JoeGillis2 (13th January 2009)
The mid-point stuff about the Korean War comes closest to approximating vintage Newhart. Personally, for me, the running gag of THE CHALLENGE would be funnier if he in fact never got to the point of attempting to the challenge(s), but instead introduced a task and then spent the rest of the short sharing tangential thoughts with his granddaughter.

richardhench (21st December 2008)
I love you, Bob! You are one funny guy! Thanks for all the years of entertainment in it's purest form!

Kudos to the director!

StephC (15th November 2008)
I absolutely LOVE this!!!!!! The paper clip #2 or #3 dialogue was classic!!!!!!! The can opener had me laughing out loud! Its embarrassing to say, bit I've been there!

This was a great idea and Newhart and the little girl were both great ... No shock there. It was also extremely well written! Keep 'em coming!!!!!!

wellcommander (14th November 2008)
Elias! I love you, but are you pimping for this site? Not even Newhart can make this thing funny. That's the problem with these webisodes... just because you can do whatever you like, without annoying network notes, you think the first thing out of your head is funny. Maybe you need those annoying notes to make you work just a little bit harder, to actually produce something that will get real laughs. I really want to support this site, but I'm not laughing yet.

esdavis (13th November 2008)
Quintessential Newhart. Laughing out loud is always good - and smiling is a close second. I did a lot of both during this video. And the granddaughter held her own.
Elias

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