I was going to do this as a Friday question. But it seemed more like a Monday answer. Arjewtino asked:
Of all the shows you worked on, which ones do you think would have had drastically different fates if they were aired today?
CHEERS would never sell today. I can just see the pitch meeting. The network executive would politely listen with a plastered pained smile. When the pitch was over and you couldn’t wait to bolt from her office, either by the door or window, you ask if she has any questions. And unfortunately, she does.
Um… yeah. First of all, it’s wonderful and we all love it. Really. Amazing. You guys are great. But, uh, a bar in Boston where people just hang out? What am I missing?… Huh? That’s it? That’s all of it? … No, it’s great. Really. But doesn’t it seem a little, I dunno, low concept? Have you seen THE WORST WEEK? Now that’s a concept that can go for ten years. Yours? I dunno. It’s hard to picture an audience just listening to people talk for a half hour…. Sure, they’re interesting people – you guys are awesome writers – but I think we’d be more comfortable if someone wore a diaper or had to eat dog food.
I think there’s also some concern that there is no real star part. Ensemble pieces are great as long as they are centered around a star.
And is there any way you could skew your show a little younger? It’s kind of sad to think of a romance between people in their 30s. Isn’t that sort of… ick? We’re not looking to do ON GOLDEN POND: THE SERIES. I still think it works that Sam is a retired ballplayer and recovered alcoholic at 22. Am I wrong? My staff agrees.
Oh, hey, a lightbulb just went off. Oh yes. This totally works. I’m a little bumped by the tone. It seems a little edgy-lite. Now I love the Carol character… Carla, right. Sorry. Again, we can make her in her 20s. She could have had her kids young. In fact that’s better. But what about this? As a way to sort of tie in these bar people and give them something besides just talk-talk-talk, what about if she has four kids and each kid was from a different customer? … Okay, well, just think about it.
I loved that theme song you played but we don’t do theme songs anymore. Or opening titles. But if we did, that’s the kind we’d want. So good goin’. You were right on the money there.
I know Standards & Practices will have some issues. We can have a bar but we can’t really have people drinking. You wouldn’t believe the watchdog groups that come out of the woodwork. Does it change things too much if Sam runs a juice bar? Oooh, oooh, another brainstorm: instead of a bar, what if Sam runs a Jamba Juice? Ohmygod, my staff is in stitches!
So anyway, those are our thoughts. What do ya think? Again, not that the idea you brought in isn’t a total home run but if that’s what you want to do I’m afraid we’re going to have to pass.
So thanks again for coming in. It was really great to see you guys again. We’ll be in touch. And again, if you have any idea, please bring it here first.