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The Watchman: Miller Time for ‘Rooster & Butch’

Rooster & Butch, which A&E describes as a mix of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and Shark Tank, starts Jan. 10. It’s an unscripted show in the former Duck Dynasty time slot, and it shares some of that series’s DNA. Rooster McConaughey and Butch Gilliam are located deep in West Texas; self-made rich guys, they invite entrepreneurs in to see if there’s a connection.

“The biggest treasure we get is someone who reminds us of ourselves,” Gilliam said. “We pick people we enjoy, who are doing things we enjoy doing.”

Rooster and Butch have known each other for about 40 years. Their vast portfolio includes oil fields and real estate.

There is plenty of beer on the show. Rooster, brother of Matthew McConaughey, says having a beer with a potential partner is the best way to see if there is common ground. “If you walk into an office and there’s a man sitting behind a desk, already the playing field is not level,” McConaughey said. “Butch and I like a level playing field.”

Rooster’s go-to brew is Miller Lite. He loves it so much he named his son Miller Lyte. His daughter had already been named Margarita, but the middle name was up to him. McConaughey opted for Olympia. “That’s a beer too!” he said.

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Over at Amazon, Isa Dick Hackett, exec producer on The Man in the High Castle, is bringing more of her father’s literary work to the screen. Electric Dreams, an anthology series based on Philip K. Dick’s short fiction, debuts Jan. 12. Ronald D. Moore, whose producing credits include Outlander, Battlestar Galactica and multiple Star Trek series, executive produces as well.

The biggest challenge with Electric Dreams was tackling an anthology series, Moore said. It’s a first for many on board, including him. He described a traditional TV series as one big machine that cranks out episodes. An anthology show, on the other hand, is “10 individual machines,” each with its own cast and sets. “It’s like 10 little movies,” Moore said. “TV is not set up like that.”

The cast includes Bryan Cranston (also an exec producer), Steve Buscemi, Greg Kinnear and Maura Tierney. Moore credited Cranston for “drilling deep into the characters, into the subject matter.” He said Buscemi’s episode, called “Crazy Diamond,” truly sparkles: “It’s a lyrical and moving and fascinating piece.”

Moore suspects Electric Dreams will be catnip for sci-fi fans. “They’ll enjoy going on the ride and not knowing where they’ll end up,” he said.

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.