KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Michael D. Francis learned a lot as the Bulldogs' mascot while a student at Wyandotte County High School in Kansas City, Kansas.
“It definitely prepared me for later in life. It gets you into trouble at the time,” Francis admitted. “But later in life, [I learned to] not be afraid to take risks.”
Francis finished his high school career at Washington High School, where he also donned the Wildcat mascot uniform. Now, he’s searching the Midwest for one-of-a-kind stories - like someone being a mascot at two high schools - to turn into a reality TV series.
“My main function is to find interesting people doing interesting things and create shows around them that we can hopefully get on TV and have on a national platform,” he explained.
After working on TV shows like "Biggest Loser," "Judge Judy," "America’s Got Talent" and more, Francis opened his own production company in St. Louis called Michael D. Francis Presents. In January, his company filmed the pilot for a cable network. He hopes to find more stories in the Midwest that networks will want to air or stream.
“With so many different platforms now, you don't have just four networks anymore, or even 100 when you count cable, you have thousands of platforms and places that need content,” Francis explained. “The content that you can turn around fairly quickly and get a big bang, from the network standpoint, get a big bang for the buck is non-scripted and reality. It takes a lot less time to produce than it does to do scripted. It takes less people to get done than it does to do scripted. So it's a very valuable commodity at the moment because there's so many places that need content, so many places that are looking to buy things, or looking for stories to tell.”
As a Black man, who grew up in an area without many entertainment or TV production opportunities at the time, Francis would love to pitch a show focused on a story from the Black community in Kansas City.
“There’s a group of people who are capable and have a lot of ability to do a lot of different things if only given the access to be able to do those things,” Francis said.
Right now, Francis said networks and streaming platforms are looking for shows which focus on animals, families, true crime, cybersecurity and one-of-a-kind businesses. If you have a story you think can become a reality TV show, submit the details on Francis’ website.