Those production company logos that appear at the end of a television episode are a mixed blessing. On the one hand, they’re an opportunity to pause and reflect on the efforts of the men and women who toil to bring such fine entertainment to homes everywhere, week after exhausting week. On the other hand, the appearance of a cutely named production company’s logo generally means that the show is over, and it’s time to return to the dull drudgery of life. And just what do those enigmatic names mean, anyhow? Fremulon? Fake Empire? Blackie And Blondie? They’re not just gibberish, as revealed in a Hollywood Reporter article by Lesley Goldberg. Here, 41 producers, including Tina Fey, Michael Schur, and Bryan Cranston, explain exactly what those cryptic monikers actually mean.
Many of these names, unsurprisingly, are references to family members, such as parents or children. Here is Fey, for instance, explaining the name of her company, Little Stranger:
Little Stranger is a loose translation of ‘Xenakes,’ my mom’s Greek maiden name. Our company logo is our older daughter dressed as a peacock for Halloween, in a nod to the parent company — and to the ‘little stranger’ who had come in and changed our lives.
A surprising number of production company names are references to memorable childhood incidents. Mike Royce, for instance, named his company Snowpants Productions from a humiliating story involving his mother, who showed up at school to bring her son a pair of snow pants. This news was broadcast over the school’s PA system, much to Royce’s embarrassment at the time.
Sometimes, a company’s name is actually meant to reflect its products. Fake Empire, the company that made The O.C. and Gossip Girl, is a perfect example. The name is a reminder that these shows are fictional and entirely scripted. It’s another way of distinguishing them from reality shows that cover the same basic territory.
And what of Cranston? He took the name Moonshot Entertainment not from the history of space exploration but from the history of Major League Baseball. It’s a nod to the signature left field “moonshot” home runs of Dodger outfielder Wally Moon. “To me,” says Cranston, “it represents overcoming obstacles.”