Q: I am an every-week watcher of "Lucky Dog" and am wondering who compensates Brandon for the dog training and TurfMutt for the backyard makeovers?

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Adam Thomlison / TV Media

You could say that being in the show is compensation in itself. Or, put another way, they compensate each other.

"Lucky Dog," a weekend morning show built around dog trainer Brandon McMillan, is sponsored by TurfMutt, which means not only does that company provide its backyard makeovers free of charge, it actually pays the show's producers for the privilege. The idea is that the exposure TurfMutt gets on the show will lead other people to hire them to work on their own yards.

Some of the money TurfMutt pays for this exposure is funneled to McMillan as his salary for doing the show.

However, he benefits from the exposure, too. When he's not rescuing and training troubled pups for the show, McMillan also writes books about dog training and works as a trainer-for-hire on the side -- he boasts "a long list of Hollywood celebrities" among his clientele.

All this means the families who appear on the show don't pay a cent (nor do the dogs, for that matter -- even the ones who end up with jobs out of the deal).

But the show's expenses aren't covered just by what TurfMutt pays in. That's why "Lucky Dog" employs Ilana Gordon as its branded-content producer. Her job is to get other companies to pay to place their products on the show. Her goal is to make those placements as unobtrusive as possible.

"Producing content for our partners always requires a careful balance to keep things looking organic, and I'm always striving to make authentic decisions for our programming," she said. That means she tries to find sponsors whose presence on the show makes sense -- the sorts of companies a trainer like McMillan would buy from anyway. The fact that you're asking who pays for all this suggests she's doing well. 


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