US TV drinks show turns to its fans after being rejected by networks

After Zane Lamprey’s television show about the world’s drinking cultures was kicked off the air he turned to Kickstarter.com to try and find the funding to make the show himself, writes Jim Denoon.

Chug poster

The USA’s Zane Lamprey is an infectious, dynamic and unstoppable individual. For 10 years he’s been commissioned by American television networks to travel the world, drinking.

He delivered “Three Sheets” – his inaugural series – which followed Zane travelling to over 40 countries drinking with various local characters.

The insightful, funny and highly-likeable show gained a massive following of loyal fans and the show continued for four seasons (52 episodes). Only the untimely closure of the network precluded any further editions being made, leaving fans devastated.

Thankfully for them, Drinking Made Easy – Zane’s second TV series – debuted in 2010. This time it brought him back to the US to experience its diversity of drinking cultures. With his boundless energy and insatiable thirst, Zane travelled the length and breadth of the country entertaining viewers with his drinking antics once again.

Fans were delighted and ratings were soaring before an all too familiar story ended the party. After producing over 60 episodes in three seasons, another network collapse brought an abrupt end to the series.

Blighted by bad fortune, but undeterred, Zane has spent the last year pitching America’s national television networks with his new show, “Chug”. More closely aligned to the Three Sheets’ premise, Chug is planned to showcase Zane travelling the globe by train, “chugging” into destinations and (here’s the clever bit) “chugging” the local liquid offerings.

It’s been met with initial interest from the networks, but ultimately, universally declined on the basis of the show’s “socially sensitive” content. A questionable testament to one of America’s most valued philosophies – that of freedom of speech.

But this is where the story gets interesting. Zane’s taken matters into his own hands and decided to bring the effort in-house, turning to his fans for support. After some bar-napkin analysis, Zane and his small team have determined that to produce six-episodes they need around $500,000. A substantial figure, perhaps, but a trifling sum in the world of television and still requiring a shoestring effort bring it in on budget.

To produce the full 12 they need $1.25 million. Launching a 40-day Kickstarter campaign, Zane’s made a compelling start. With 26 days to go they’ve reached $142,000 – representing more than 28% of the target. Fans are getting involved by pledging as little as $1 – which gives them insider-emails and updates of the shoot, $35 earns them a t-shirt, right up to a $10,000 contribution that entitles an appearance in an actual show.

Episodes of “Three Sheets” and “Drinking Made Easy” can be found on You Tube. To learn more about Zane Lamprey visit: (Zane’s Facebook), or to track the fundraising progress for Chug and to watch Zane’s appeal, visit: (Kickstarter – Chug).

Click through the following pages to see photos of Zane enjoying some of the world’s drinking cultures.

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