Here’s some Friday questions that may ruffle some feathers. What would you like to know?
Kevin Rubio starts us off with a question about pilots, and more specifically when pilots don’t get picked up because of network meddling:
Should the executive be culpable?" "Should names be named?"
Absolutely but it will never happen.
Still, it’s only right that they be held accountable because they sure take credit for pilots that become hits. There’s one former executive who always took credit for developing FRASIER. Here was this person’s contribution: During the network runthrough they insisted the producers get rid of the Martin character. They didn’t need the father. He was a downer. Lose him. To the producers’ credit of course they refused. But the executive has the gall to take credit for FRASIER’S development.
Like I said, though, they’ll never step forward and take any blame. They’ve got to cover their own ass. When the head of the network is railing at the staff for how shitty the pilots are (and this happens every year) I guarantee you none of the executives are going to say, “You know, that one was my bad. I told them to make the rapist likeable.” More likely: “This writer is just not very good. We really should think about not using him next pilot season.” Trust me, that happens.
That said, not every network note is a bad one. And sometimes they can be helpful. I will happily say publicly that Tim Stack at CBS was a huge help on our BIG WAVE DAVE’S pilot and the show would not nearly have been as good without his input. So credit where credit is due.
Do writers submit their scripts to the Emmy voters when they are nominated? I always assumed that the voters based their decision on the script (for technique/form) AND the actual episode (for execution).
No. Emmys are judged by the final product. A blue ribbon committee watches the nominated episodes. The WGA Awards however, are based exclusively on scripts submitted by the writers. And in some cases, the draft submitted might differ from what eventually became the final episode.
Nic Schweitzer asks:
How do you feel, both personally and as a writer, about almost all the shows that NBC just put on a few months ago getting canceled?
Also, is there any chance Sorkin will appear again? Thanks!
Aaron Sorkin has a new series coming soon on HBO. Can’t wait!
As for the first part of your question, NBC (like all the others major networks) has used the summer as a dumping ground for scripted shows they just wanted to burn off and a time to introduce reality shows. So I wasn’t surprised that they were cancelled. To be honest, I didn’t see most of them. Watched THE VOICE, which I’m sure I would have liked better had Carson Daly not been involved, and never bothered with THE MARRIAGE REF and nonsense like that.
And finally, from MikeN:
What was your reaction when Conan hosted the Emmys and drew a tiny circle and said 'Black people who watch Frasier'?
It made me laugh. But funnier was this -- “Black Frasier”, the skit on 30 ROCK.