Episode 95

Thinking Big with Wes Dening | Win the Day™ podcast
July 12, 2022
Wes Dening is an award-winning television producer. Wes (from Eureka Productions) has developed programs that are broadcast in 50+ countries.
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In this episode of Win the Day:

Joining us in the studio is a good friend of mine and a legend in the entertainment world, Wes Dening.

Wes grew up in Brisbane, Australia, before a stint in the Big Brother house gave him a taste of television. Today, he is an award-winning entrepreneur, producer, and content creator.

Wes has developed, sold, and produced critically-acclaimed content for an array of media platforms, and has grown content businesses around the world. As founder of production company WDE, Wes has developed programs that are broadcast in 50+ countries worldwide, including Big Crazy Family Adventure, The Stafford Brothers, and The Flying Winemaker.

In 2016, he joined Eureka Productions where he has since executive produced shows like Dating Around (Netflix), Finding Magic Mike (HBO Max), and Crikey! It’s the Irwins (Animal Planet). Wes also produced the miniature golf show Holey Moley alongside three-time NBA champion Steph Curry, which debuted as one of the most-watched new series premieres on US television.

In this episode, we talk about:

  • The three attributes that underpin Wes’ success
  • How to prepare for a successful pitch in your business
  • The most thrilling moments from his television career, and
  • How thinking big can help you win big. 

Let’s WIN THE DAY with Wes Dening!


0:00 - 1:30:

Introduction by James Whittaker and brief biography of Wes Dening, including his early days in Brisbane and his path to becoming a successful TV producer.

1:30 - 3:20:

Discussion about Wes’s work with Eureka Productions and his role in producing popular TV shows like “Dating Around” (Netflix), “Finding Magic Mike” (HBO Max), and “Crikey! It’s the Irwins” (Animal Planet). Also mentions his work on “Holey Moley” with Steph Curry.

3:20 - 4:50:

Overview of the episode’s topics, including the attributes that underpin Wes’s success, how to prepare for a successful pitch in business, and thrilling moments from his television career.

4:50 - 6:15:

Conversation about the challenges of TV production during the COVID-19 pandemic, including anecdotes about producing a show in a Las Vegas hotel bubble.

6:15 - 7:40:

Discussion on maintaining work-life balance when working on demanding TV projects, and the impact of travel and location shoots on family life.

7:40 - 10:10:
Reflections on Wes Dening’s participation in “Big Brother” and its impact on his career, including his initial impressions and how it propelled him into the television industry.

10:10 - 13:30:
Wes shares his journey post-“Big Brother”, detailing how he landed a role on the Australian TV show “Totally Wild” through persistence and networking. He discusses his early days of learning the ins and outs of TV production.

13:30 - 16:45:

Description of Wes’s early career, emphasizing the variety of roles he undertook, from on-camera talent to producing. He mentions specific projects and experiences that shaped his understanding and skills in TV production.

16:45 - 20:15:

Discussion about the shift from being a TV host to focusing on production. Wes Dening explains the advantages of creating narratives and the business aspects of television production, such as intellectual property and rights.

20:15 - 23:45:

Wes’s move to the United States to learn and work in the television industry. He shares his initial experiences in New York, including his efforts to understand the business side of television and his determination to succeed in a new environment.

23:45 - 27:00:

The importance of relationships and networking in Wes’s career, especially when moving internationally. He discusses the role his wife played in choosing to move to New York over London and how they settled in the city.

27:00 - 30:45:

Wes discusses the initial steps he took in New York to establish connections within the TV industry, meeting people from major networks and production companies. He emphasizes the importance of relationships over cold approaches.

30:45 - 34:30:

The role of agents in the industry and the reality of how TV shows get produced and sold. Wes then talks about founding his own production company, WDE, and the early shows they produced, highlighting the challenges and excitement of starting his own venture.

34:30 - 38:15:

Wes recounts some of the thrilling moments from his career, including producing shows that involve extensive travel and adventure, such as climbing Mount Everest and hiking to a remote monastery in the Indian Himalayas.

38:15 - 42:00:

Wes describes filming a dating show in Athens and shares his experiences of traveling to Antarctica and filming there, including an overnight stay on an ice sheet with a colony of penguins.

42:00 - 45:45:

Discussion on the mental health challenges in the production industry. Wes talks about dealing with rejection and the stress of ensuring creative projects meet client expectations, as well as the resilience needed to overcome tough days.

45:45 - 48:30:

Wes discusses the concept for a show that never materialized and the importance of keeping ideas for potential future opportunities. He reflects on the industry’s reliance on timing and the right circumstances for a project to succeed.

48:30 - 52:30:

Wes explains his approach to pitching TV shows, emphasizing the importance of preparation and creating compelling pitch materials. He discusses the strategy of being targeted in development and sales rather than trying a broad, unfocused approach.

52:30 - 56:15:

Further details on the concept of a “pressure test” for TV show ideas, including considerations on whether the idea can be realistically executed, whether it fits the production company’s portfolio, and how well the show format can be explained and understood.

56:15 - 59:00:

Wes discusses his work at Eureka Productions, highlighting the company’s growth, the excitement about future projects, and strategies for creating compelling, breakthrough content in a crowded media landscape.

59:00 - 1:03:00:

Wes explains the concept of creating TV formats that have global appeal and can be adapted in multiple countries, using the example of a singing competition format like Australian Idol. He contrasts this with more unique, location-specific shows that are harder to replicate globally.

1:03:00 - 1:07:30:

Discussion on the three attributes Wes credits for his success: grit, positivity, and reliability. He elaborates on how these qualities have shaped his career, emphasizing his hands-on approach to creating TV shows and his persistent effort in the face of challenges.

1:07:30 - 1:11:15:

Wes discusses the importance of self-confidence and belief in one’s skills, especially in leadership roles within the TV production industry. He emphasizes how reminding oneself of their abilities can be crucial during tough times.

1:11:15 - 1:14:45:

A playful discussion on the hypothetical scenario of returning to the “Big Brother” house for another 100 days, reflecting on how different life stages affect the appeal of such experiences.

1:14:45 - 1:18:30:

Start of the “Win the Day Rocket Round,” where Wes answers rapid-fire questions about personal preferences, advice for younger self, and books that have influenced him or he enjoys sharing.

1:18:30 - 1:22:00:

Wes discusses the lessons he has learned from failure, emphasizing the importance of honesty and collaboration in building stronger relationships, even in difficult times. He also begins to share thoughts on personal influences and memorable experiences from his life.

1:22:00 - 1:25:45:

Discussion on technology and tools that assist in managing Wes’s daily activities and responsibilities, particularly how he uses his iPhone and calendar to balance various projects and engagements effectively.

1:25:45 - 1:29:30:

Wes talks about his morning routine and the importance of starting the day with physical activity, explaining how it energizes him and sets a positive tone for his workday. He emphasizes the significance of having personal time before engaging with technology or work tasks.


Resources / links mentioned:

🎯 Download your FREE Win the Day action plan

⚡ Wes Dening LinkedIn

🌎 Wes Dening Twitter

👑 Eureka Group

🧭 Ep 46: Win the Day with Bruce Kirkby

🧠 Ep 61: Win the Day with Mike Gervais

🎬 Subscribe to Win the Day YouTube channel

💚 Give the Win the Day podcast a 5-star rating on Apple Podcasts

🙏 Give the Win the Day podcast a 5-star rating on Spotify

💕 Win the Day Facebook group

📝 Win the Day newsletter [weekly LinkedIn exclusive]

Inspiring quotes in this episode:
  • “Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.” — Victor Hugo
Download Full Episode Transcript
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