Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Random rants

I'm just sayin'....

I read every day in the trades that networks are bidding on comedy pitches and handing out put pilots and stiff penalties for not going to series. Here’s what I would negotiate for: creative freedom. No notes. Screw penalty payments. Let me do my show my way. If I’ve come up with a brilliant idea or have such brilliant talent attached and you're just dying to be in business with me then maybe I’m capable of producing a good show without interference.

Even though Joe Buck is still suffering from a virus that has gripped his vocal cords, I still say he’s the best play-by-play man Fox has for NFL football and should not be removed from the number one slot.

But…

For the World Series, how about letting the great Vin Scully have one last hurrah?  We won't have many more chances to hear this national treasure.   Oh, and let him work alone. It’s the best Tim McCarver will ever sound.

And while we’re on the subject of the upcoming baseball playoffs – there’s something wrong when Dick Stockton is working for two networks and Jon Miller is not even working for one.

Wouldn’t it be great if the X-FACTOR gets worse numbers than FEAR FACTOR did?   After all, they're similar shows. 

Just five more days until Margo Martindale wins her richly-deserved Emmy.  My review this year will be somewhat, uh... different.   Stay tuned.

Official announcement: I have decided not to be the showrunner on the projected new Roseanne sitcom. The reason: I’m not out of my mind crazy suicidal fucking nuts!!!!!  But I do have a suggestion that Roseanne is welcome to use.  How about Glenn Beck as your co-star?  You're very welcome.  

I’d vote for Katy Perry before I vote for Rick Perry. And I suspect a lot of Republicans would too.

Chelsea Handler is beating Conan O’Brien in the ratings. Could NBC have been right?

Thanks to everyone who participated in last night’s Teleseminar. It was supposed to be an hour. There were enough great writing questions that I answered for two. Somewhere in those two hours I must’ve – even through dumb luck -- said something worthwhile.

And finally, only one slot remains open for THE SITCOM ROOM seminar. It’s your last chance maybe for two years. Here’s where you go to register. Thanks much.

38 comments:

Mark said...

>>I’d vote for Katy Perry before I vote for Rick Perry. And I suspect a lot of Republicans would too.<<

I don't know, Ken...

That rack is pretty good evidence for the miracle of creationism!

Jim S said...

I know I'm going to get in trouble with this, but I think Leno got a raw deal with the press and public.

He didn't want to quit, bu was a good soldier with Conan. He accepted the 10 p.m. slot, but he didn't engineer its creation.

Conan had five years to get ready for the Tonight Show and took it from first to third. Don't say he had Leno as lead-in. That didn't happen until September, but the ratings decline took place before that.

NBC created the trouble, getting rid of a loyal employee who brought the ratings to placate an ambitious (and ambition is not a bad word)up and comer. They tried to eat their cake and have it too and hurt both. But what if Leno was out of the picture? Was NBC supposed to do nothing while Conan ran the Tonight Show franchise into the ground? How long did Conan have to turn around a situation of his own making before NBC acted?

His creative decisions were costing a network who pretty much left him alone a lot of money. If you like Conan, great, but he wasn't getting the job done, ratings and money-wise, and that counts. The network isn't there to lose money.

Ray Barrington said...

By the way, does anybody have the ratings for the first few months of Johnny Carson after he took over for Jack Paar?

Melissa C Banczak said...

thanks for the teleconference last night. I really enjoyed it. You have a nice deep voice and I could hear you! I only caught a word here or there of the questions and moderator so I was a little afraid to ask a questions. (I have a severe hearing loss so while I'd love to snatch up that last spot on the writer's sitcom room, I'd never be able to hear anyone so I'll keep working alone) anyway, my question is, how much outlining do you and David do before you sit down to write a script?
Melissa

Jim, Cheers Fan said...

Margo Martindale had a great interview on Fresh Air with Terri Gross a few days ago. Just listening to part of Mags Bennett's "we got our own way...." speech made me want to see it all over again. If Justified-2 was available on DVD, I probably would have bought it right after listening.

Joseph said...

Thank you so much for the teleconference. It was great of you to take so much time answering the questions and your kind words at the end were very inspiring.

Wendy M. Grossman said...

Until or unless we can open up a parallel universe in which Leno retires and Conan stays on the Tonight Show, we'll never know whether NBC was right long term.

Last night was fun listening in. Thanks.

wg

Wendy M. Grossman said...

As for Roseanne's co-star, shouldn't that be Charlie Sheen?

wg

MikeBo said...

Amen to your suggestion that Vin Scully do the World Series, last hurrah or not, I think that would really put the icing on the cake.

Spencer Michlin said...

Thanks, Ken, for your generous, informative and funny conference call last night. Wish it could have gone on for two more hours.

Corey said...

Finaly! Somebody says you have a deep voice. Oh yah.... she has a hearing problem...

Anonymous said...

I caught "For the Love of the Game" on cable the other day. Say what you will about the cheese factor of the love story, Vin Scully was wonderful doing the play by play for the game.

National treasure, indeed.

Pam aka SisterZip

MikeM said...

I agree with you about Jon Miller and Vin Scully. They should both be on the playoffs.

While you are at it, how Dick Vitale doing one March Madness? The best supporter of college basketball deserves one turn on its biggest stage.

gottacook said...

I would rather Conan had stayed at Late Night - and possibly at this point he wishes he had, too. Another few years and he might have realized that The Tonight Show was a prize not worth having.

Another factor - I always liked Andy Richter on the old show (1993-2000, I think), but he should never have been given announcer duties when he returned at the beginning of Conan's Tonight Show run. A big (literal) turnoff.

Ted said...

response to Ray Barrington's question:

In Johnny Carson's first few months, he was up against a new late-night show with Steve Allen. As I recall, Johnny got higher ratings, but mainly because Steve's show was only seen in half the cities.

I used to try to stay up late and watch both - they were that good.

Mike D. said...

Agree about Scully and Miller.

Joe Buck is annoying, regardless of the sport. That is why I watch the MLB playoffs, when my Phillies are in it with either the radio on and the TV muted or go to the bar where I have no chance of hearing him! Then again I do that for all sports since most are morons and try to get all of the researched stories and stats into the broadcast, instead of, you know, announcing the game!!!

I'd rather vote for Barry Gibb then Barry Obama and I suspect a lot of Democrats would agree.....

Ben K. said...

Hey Ken, thanks for the great teleconference. I was listening from work so I couldn't ask any questions, but here's one you might want to answer on Friday:

When my young nieces were visiting recently, I became aware of a whole new world of preteen sitcoms on the Disney Channel and other cable stations. I'd heard of "Hannah Montana," but now there seem to be dozens of these things. They appear to be based on a very traditional sitcom format, though with more slapstick and extra-broad humor.

So could shows like these be a stepping-stone to "regular" sitcom writing? Or are they a ghetto that a writer would never get out of?

Thanks!

Daniel Martin Eckhart said...

I'm thrilled to know that youre "not out of my mind crazy suicidal fucking nuts!!!!!"

Keeping ranting, Sir - it's good for your health - and mine - got a good laugh out of it and yeah, I'd probably vote for Katie, too. As for the dude Perry - could somebody please put him somewhere where he can't hurt an entire country?

Michael said...

Just finished listening to the teleseminar, the information you provided was beyond valuable. There should be a word for what's beyond valuable... Oh yeah, it was invaluable!

Thanks again and I'm putting all the info to good use.

D. McEwan said...

Anita Perry is a crook. See for yourself.

http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/09/anita-perrys-salary-indirectly-financed-by-political-donors.php?ref=fpb

Roseanne is dying to have you be her show runner for a week, or maybe two, but only so she can fire you.

Hunter said...

Joe Buck is to announcing the game as Tom Brady is to playing it. I hate it when jokers get a hate-on for a play-by-play guy simply because of one or two bad calls.

These guys tend to be bright, spontaneous, and articulate. Otherwise they'd never have gotten to the big leagues. Most people have a hard time hammering together two or three coherent sentences. Joe Buck, Vin Scully and a host of the other greats manage to describe, inform and entertain all at the same time -- and do it in pretty good English most of the time.

If you find it annoying, turn down the volume and try announcing the game yourself. You'll quickly find it ain't that easy.

Melissa Banczak said...

Cory - oh dear, his voice isn't really up there on the James Earl Jones scale? Damn my ears.

Anonymous said...

Oh Roseanne, I have loathed this woman for as long as one can remember but I recently stumbled upon her reality show “Roseanne’s nuts” on Lifetime. I’m suddenly smitten with her, seeing the real, drug free, family oriented Roseanne (granted dysfunctional family) is quite a kick. She seems pretty down to earth and funny in a kooky, hippy kind of way. I could even see her working with you one day Ken.

b

RCP said...

Thanks, Ken, for making yesterday evening's teleconference available for a replay. I just finished listening to it and found everything you said insightful and useful - (including not sleeping with your writing partner!)

Mike said...

Thanks for hosting the teleconference Ken and Dan. Good on ya'.

Anonymous said...

Jon Miller isn't on a network because he's a self-absorbed gasbag who thinks he's more important than the game. He could have been great, but his ego is even bigger than his belly.

cshel said...

Totally agree Vin Scully should do the World Series.

And then, Vin Scully for president. : )

Dave said...

Vinny shouldn't be president. That would be a demotion from his status as a god. Unfortunately for all of us, he's already begged off from doing the post-season.

As much as I dislike Jon Miller -- and the Giants -- one of the best broadcasting teams I've ever heard was Miller and Lon Simmons. Miller provoked the low-energy Simmons into life and Simmons punctured Miller's pretentiousness.

VW: cosaw; a side dish with fied chicken.

Anonymous said...

Conan's prime years with Andy Richter were something really special. The two had a great chemistry.
When Andy left, Conan had an emotionally moving goodbye show and then surprised by the next week as he re-invented himself in the solo latenite host role and did really well. But it was clear even then, there was no place further for him to go. The guy was funny but how long can you overdo the excitement of sitting with a "super-model" when you are openly married and have children, and probably losing your hairline? The other Conan waiting to get out was the one we saw when he left the Tonight Show and did his stage act. He had other things on his mind, he was a comedian and more at heart.

Chelsea Handler's show had the benefit of starting differently than the talk-show model, a pastiche of Bill Mahr's show (talking heads with him) and MTV (like talking heads of C+ comedians making short, empty jokes about the 1970s or whatever b.s.) and sure, she's crass and vulgar enough to get the kathy Griffin fans I guess. And she represents the level of the young audience out there now.

Conan has a pedigree of writing jobs that takes him through the Simpsons and so on. Handler was basically a no-one who was dating a powerful tv exec for a good long time...

Mike Schryver said...

I've never liked listening to Joe Buck, and when I heard about a 2008 interview on ESPN Radio in which he revealed that he doesn't like baseball, I liked him even less.

Jim S. left out the part of the late-night mess that causes people to have a problem with Leno, which was the interviews he gave where he said he would come back to The Tonight Show if he were asked. That's just not what a stand-up guy does (no pun intended.) It's the equivalent of hanging around in the hallway saying, "Ya know, I'm still here if you want me," and it helped to sabotage Conan's chances.

I don't know if Conan ever would have gotten the mass audience NBC is looking for, since his audience is so young, and uses TV differently from us old codgers.

Trae D said...

Unfortunately, here in Texas people are drinking the Rick Perry kool-aid. I was griping about the cheers the "Let an uninsured 30-year-old die" line at the GOP convention got and my 3 co-workers, all guys in their early 20s, completely agreed with the cheers. They argued they didn't want their taxes going to drug-addicts and if you were unemployed it was due to bad life decisions.

Don't count Rick Perry out just yet.

Charlie O'Brien said...

I'm all for Scully calling the play-by-play. Much like Dick Enberg getting his final adieu with US Open Tennis on CBS.

Mike Barer said...

I would agree on Scully doing the World Series. You could be the color man.

Bob Claster said...

I'd love to hear Scully do the Series ON THE RADIO. I've always thought that that was where he really excelled. Painting pictures with words.

And as for doing a comedy on TV without interference, well, that's the deal, pretty much, that Louis CK has on fX. And he's given them a show with an indisputably unique tone, with many moments of brilliance.

Buttermilk Sky said...

I suddenly understand why Margaret had a love interest named Scully in the last season of MASH.

Paul Duca said...

Trae D...yes--and the Kool-Aid is made with water reclaimed from sewage processed by that plant Perry is building (far away from the wealthy suburbs of Houston or Dallas)

Suzanne said...

Love the Rick Perry remark. I've lived in Texas all my life. We refer to him as "Governor Hair". He's a moron.

DwWashburn said...

I see nothing wrong with Tim McCarver. He adds interest and excitement to a game. I've never really gotten why everyone is so in love with Vin Scully. He rambles on too much for my taste. Of the old timers, you can't beat Milo Hamilton. But since he didn't get a New York/Los Angeles gig, he doesn't get the press.