Michael Engleman is chief marketing officer for TBS and TNT, two of the biggest channels in pay television. As such, Engleman presided over a string of remarkable community outreach initiatives on behalf of the new TBS dramedy The Last O.G., which debuted in April to ratings records for the network.
In and around that launch and since, the show’s star, Tracy Morgan, and people connected with the show and network, collaborated on a series of community programs. They both highlighted key themes in the show, including the challenges a former felon faces reintegrating with society, while also helping the Brooklyn neighborhood where Morgan grew up and the show was largely filmed.
The initiatives included a comedy fundraiser emceed by Morgan and co-star Cedric the Entertainer that benefited the Fortune Society, which helps thousands of [formerly incarcerated individuals] transition into civilian life; refurbished basketball courts at Marcy and Gowanus playgrounds; commissioning thousands of branded brownies from Greyston Bakeries, whose Open Hiring process makes it easier for [formerly incarcerated individuals] and those deemed unemployable to find work; and partnered with State Bags, which uses a “sell one, give one away” model similar to Tom’s, to provide backpacks with snacks, shirts and socks to the students in a Red Hook school.
I talked with Engleman about the project, what it meant for the show and community and why more TV shows should think about these opportunities to both “do good and do good business.” The interview has been edited for clarity.Read more at Broadcasting Cable Back