Tales of Television: Britney Who?

For about five years in the late 90s I worked at a PBS television station in California. At its most normal, it’s safe to say, a PBS station is a strange place to work. Sometimes it’s dull, as long programs with no interruptions drone on. But it’s also more eclectic than the typical network television stations with their endless rounds of pretty-much-all-the-same newscasts.

This PBS station is the subject of many of the tales in my “upcoming” list of stories to tell. But this first story isn’t really a story at all, but a story that didn’t happen. Maybe some would view it as a missed opportunity, but for me it’s just a little novelty item that was brought to mind a short while ago when a friend posted a video on Facebook.

The PBS station, which happened to have the largest studio, or sound stage, in northern California, was sometimes hired out for productions. Sometimes it would be a commercial shoot. Sometimes a little drama production. It varied.

One day, a lady at the station came up to me in the tape room and very excitedly told me that the next day Britney Spears would be at the station using the studio to shoot a video and I could come in on my day off and see it and be involved!!!

“Who?” I asked.

“Britney Spears!!!” Her answer probably really dropped to two exclamation points by this moment.

“Really,” I said, “I don’t know who that is.”

No kidding. I had never heard of her at this point. It was years later, in fact, when the scandal entertainment shows latched on to her that I found out who she was, remembered that day and said, “Oh! That Britney Spears.” Needless to say, I did not go in on my day off to watch the shoot. So, here’s the video that was supposedly shot that day, though I can’t personally attest to it: