Following the success of Lord of the Universe, David Loxton offered TVTV an unprecedented year-long contract for almost a quarter of a million dollars to create five hours of programming for public television. The initial money came from the Rockefeller Foundation's grant 1 to the TV Lab; later, the Lab's discretionary money from the Ford Foundation figured into the total sum. TVTV's overall budget was $230,000; of that amount $138,000 went directly to TVTV for their production costs and the balance went to the TV Lab to cover postproduction expenses. Loxton had taken a huge risk with Lord of the Universe, and now he was going even further out on a limb by committing such an enormous sum of money (for public television) to produce TVTV's nonfiction television.
Joining TVTV's original gang of four were three new partners, Wendy Appel, Paul Goldsmith, and Elon Soltes. 2 TVTV stated the five experimental projects it planned to explore included new approaches to broadcast journalism, the videotape magazine, late night information-as-entertainment shows, fast-breaking news events, and short journalistic features. 3 Their first project evolved out of "The Washington Bureau" proposal detailed in The Prime Time Survey.
Determined that their New Video Journalism must pioneer a new structure for news gathering, TVTV asserted that The Washington Bureau would combine the stylistic and economic advantages of portable video with decentralized management. Four 30-minute programs were planned, plus an additional 60-minute documentary about the making of the bureau's tapes. Acknowledging that it would be impossible to gather comprehensive information on all of Washington, TVTV decided to concentrate on interpretive rather than expositional stories on the environment, personalities, and opinions of Washington. The entire proposal rested on the belief that Richard Nixon would be impeached and the hearings would form the heart of their coverage.