HBO’s Docuseries “Telemarketers” Will Premiere August 13




Premiering SUNDAY, AUGUST 13 at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT on HBO and available to stream on Max is TELEMARKETERS, an HBO Original three-part docuseries directed by Adam Bhala Lough and Sam Lipman-Stern and executive produced by Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie, Dani Bernfeld, Danny McBride, David Gordon Green, and Jody Hill.

What is Telemarketers about

TELEMARKETERS follows the unlikely friendship of two coworkers over the course of 20 years as they work together to expose the corrupt American telemarketing industry from within after discovering the shady truth behind their work at a seedy New Jersey call center, persuading people to donate money to charities. The film follows two long-time coworkers as they become amateur sleuths in an unruly, low-wage environment in pursuit of a sobering look at the dark side of American capitalism and the misuse of consumer trust. With raucous insider access, raw eyewitness footage, and a comedic cast of call center characters, the film is a madcap tale of an unruly, low-wage environment.

Sam Lipman-Stern, a 14-year-old high school dropout in New Jersey, got a job in telemarketing in the early 2000s thinking he was helping police and firefighter charities when in reality most of the money he raised went straight into the pockets of his corrupt bosses. Sam, along with an assortment of ex-cons, drug dealers, and seasoned telemarketers, works the phones in a chaotic boiler room replete with booze, drugs, and debauchery, but is held together by humor and camaraderie, all of which are captured on film by Sam. When the company is shut down by the federal government following an investigation into its shady practices, in which they falsely told customers that 100% of the money went to the charity (when in fact, only 10-15% went), Sam and Pat Pespas, a larger-than-life top salesman struggling with addiction, begin to question the industry’s business practices. They understand that they are unwittingly involved in a larger scheme to defraud innocent Americans. The story of Sam and Pat, two hourly workers who rise through the ranks to become self-appointed whistleblowers and make their way to the halls of the United States Senate to expose an industry gone awry from the inside is told in TELEMARKETERS with rowdy humor and dogged enthusiasm.

Check out the trailer

The Episodes

Episode 1 -Debut date: SUNDAY, AUGUST 13 (10:00 – 10:59 p.m. ET/PT)

In 2001, Sam Lipman-Stern, a high school dropout at the age of 14, began working as a telemarketer for Civic Development Group (“CDG”) to raise money for various nonprofit organizations. As a joke, Sam and his coworker Pat Pespas (a legendary salesman at the office who is also struggling with addiction) decide to film the outrageous antics in the office, but soon they begin to investigate their questionable fundraising practices and the players behind this apparent large-scale fraud.

Episode 2 – Debut date: SUNDAY, AUGUST 20 (10:00 – 10:54 p.m. ET/PT)

Following the FTC’s 2009 crackdown on CDG, numerous similar telemarketing firms have emerged, each of which has found ways to skirt the law. Sam and Pat continue on their wacky and unpredictable course. They find out that CDG isn’t the only company in the industry with a history of corruption thanks to their extensive research and use of industry sources. When Pat suddenly vanishes, just as they are making progress in their investigation, everything comes to a grinding halt.

Episode 3 – Debut date: SUNDAY, AUGUST 27 (10:00 – 11:04 p.m. ET/PT)

Sam and Pat meet up again in the present day to carry on their investigation, only to discover that in the intervening years, telemarketing schemes have become even more bold and opportunistic thanks to the rise of robocalling, PACs, and technologies like artificial intelligence. After extensive research across the country yields compelling evidence, they meet with a US Senator on Capitol Hill to present their findings; however, the solutions they were hoping for prove elusive.

Who is making Telemarketers

HBO Documentary Films presents TELEMARKETERS. A production of Elara Pictures and ALL FACTS in association with Rough House Pictures. Directed by Adam Bhala Lough, Sam Lipman-Stern; executive producers, Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie, Dani Bernfeld, David Gordon Green, Jody Hill, Danny McBride, Greg Stewart, Brandon James, Adam Bhala Lough, Sam Lipman-Stern; producer, Claire Read. For HBO: executive producers, Nancy Abraham, Lisa Heller and Tina Nguyen.

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