Monday, November 28, 2011

My 6 year blog anniversary. What is 6 years -- velcroe?

This month marks the 6th anniversary of this blog. Who can even remember 2005? It was an experiment – stretching exercises for a writer. I thought it would be nice break from writing scripts. No format. No notes. Writing actual prose. The whole notion seemed so liberating.

Only two hitches. What the hell do I write about? And how the hell do I get anybody to read it?

A blogger friend suggested that for the latter issue I should post something new every day. That way you build an audience. When people log onto you and see the same post they read a week ago they stop coming back. That made sense. At least to start.

But it made the first issue an even bigger hurdle. Not only do I have nothing to write about; I have to write about it every day?  Yikes!  I’ll be honest, I thought this experiment would last six months. I’d get tired of it, I’d have exhausted every topic I know, or after half a year I’d have twelve readers.

And now, six years, 2,585 posts, and 8,500,000 page views later here I somehow still am. Out of the clear blue sky TIME magazine named this one of the top 25 blogs of the net. I’m still baffled (but delighted) by that.

This was my first post:

For everyone who has said to me "you should start a blog" here it is. Now what?

So until I figure that out, I thought I'd post the kind of stuff I have been writing -- namely humorous travelogues and award show reviews that up until now have only gone to those unfortunate souls in my address book. As I learn how this works and come up with original thoughts I shall add to it. Or take requests. Or go on to podcasting.

Interests will include pop culture, show business, baseball, radio, the 60's, the theatre, baby boomers, bragging about my kids, hawking my various projects, and general bitching.

I’ll be honest again – to this day the toughest part of this blog is coming up with topics. Once I get a topic I’m usually off to the races. But there are plenty of days I’m just praying for Roseanne to do something stupid or a new idiotic reality show to premiere. I live for Anime conventions, pornstar karaoke, Michael Bay movies, Katherine Heigl interviews, Gwyneth Paltrow cleansing diets, and the Golden Globes.

All in all, it’s been well worth the effort. I’ve been very lucky in this industry and have had some remarkable mentors. I’m glad for the opportunity to pay it forward. I’ve met many wonderful new people through this blog… including YOU. And yes, I’ve sold a bunch of books through this site (have you ordered yours yet? What are you waiting for, for crying out loud?), and have sold out five Sitcom Room seminars.

So it’s onto year seven. What I like to do on these occasions is ask you to participate. Especially you new readers and longtime lurkers. I’d love to know who you are, where you’re from, how you found this blog, how long you’ve been reading it, and whatever suggestions you may have. Please tell me what topics you like and don’t like (Yeah, yeah – baseball). Ultimately, I write about whatever the hell I want to (it’s not like I have to maintain a certain audience level for Google Ads), but the day a writer disregards his readers is the day he stops being read.

Anyway, thanks for six great years. I won’t say I couldn’t have done without you because that’s not true. But I will say I wouldn’t have done it without you.

Thanks in advance for your responses.

98 comments:

slgc said...

Hey Ken,

Congratulations on your Blogoversary - may you have many more!

I've been reading the blog for about a year now. A good friend of mine recommended it, and I always do what he says....

Seriously, he recommended it because he knows that I'm a big fan of both Cheers and baseball, and he thought I'd enjoy your posts. He was right on both counts.

Thanks for providing us with this daily entertainment fix!

Mac said...

Happy 6th! Here's to many more. Is that one of Annie's cupcakes? I remember some amazing pirate-themed ones from an old post.

I'm in the UK and I'm a a fan of Cheers Taxi, Frasier - which is how I found this blog in the first place and I've been following it since what must be almost 6 years.
I enjoy all the blogs, and no - I've no idea what the baseball ones are about, but they're usually written in a funny way, so who cares? They're fun to read.

Personally my favourites are the ones that talk about sitcoms - the making of, how decisions were arrived at, why a scene ended up the way it did on screen. I've watched these shows so many times, it's a treat to get some insider view on what went on "behind the curtain."

I'm always interested in your take on current shows as well. For example, Neil Genzlinger wrote a piece in the NYT recently about how all comedy was now rehashing old shows. I thought he made some good points, but also bent a lot of points out of shape to fit his theory. Anyway, stuff like that, I'm always keen to know what you think.

But generally, there's hundreds of hours of great stuff that you've worked on; anytime you take a scene and break it down is fascinating to me.

Always my first read of the day! Before I even hit a news website and find out about that meteor heading our way.

All the best.

Ray Barrington said...

Take it from a former columnist (with a book to prove it - hey, it's Cyber Monday and I have to sell something - it is always good to have something in your back pocket in case the "please, Roseanne" moment arrives. You're lucky in that you have two careers which gives you double the material.

Oh, and you use it well.

WV: fling - wait, they used a REAL word?

Miserable Dreamer said...

This is one of three blogs I read every day. (You don't want to know what the other two are but one of them involves the Ninja Turtles.) Congrats and thanks. I'm an aspiring cartoonist, puppeteer, self-employed-whatever - but currently I work in a cubicle for a faceless national corporation and reading your blog kind of inspires me to pursue things that might get me out of the cubicle.

So thanks, and keep it up, and write about whatever you want - just don't get pissed if I skip anything related to baseball.

John Alfenito said...

Wouldn't start my day without you, Ken.
Thanks for six entertaining (and informative) years.
"Velcroe?" What is that...British velcro?

An said...

Congrats! The "new post every day" thing is challenging, but it's pretty great to get fresh content each morning. Your commitment is admirable.

I started reading about 3 months ago, when I got back in my Cheers bag, and was searching for information about the writing staff. I've actually enjoyed just about all of your entries, but will admit that the Cheers behind the scenes stuff is my favorite. It just feels like there's not enough of that kind of information out there. Seems like every great show has someone's memoirs attached to it, but not Cheers. I'm gonna need a full-on book at some point... Someone? Anyone? I'm also a fan of your baseball writing, so don't ever stop that.

Your blog was a fun discovery for me-- keep up the great work!

Frustrated said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Frustrated said...

I followed a link to you and "Fetch My Flying Monkeys" about six months ago - something humor-related judging by the contents of the 2 blogs.

However I got here, I am very thankful that I did. I read all your posts (even those about baseball and I'm the least "sportsy" person ever) and I appreciate the new daily content. You are the first blog I check out in the morning - so congratulations on the six-year anniversary and please, let there be many, many more.

Chas said...

Congratulations. Best blog on the internet. Show biz and baseball-what could be better than that? Besides, I'm about your age and also grew up in the Valley. I couldn't have custom ordered a better blog. Keep up the good work.

Richard Y said...

Been here almost from the beginning and I think it was Lee Goldberg who mentioned you in his blog. You are the first thing I read except for days I have to be at work at 6am.

A Friday question. How much advance notice do writers get that they may have to shave 60 seconds + out of their script to cover the extended program preceding it? One example, and there are others, 'Castle' following 'DWTS'. Or does the studio simply edit the program to fit?

2nd Question: How far back into your daily blog do you go and read the comments? That is do you find yourself going back 2 or 3 days to catchup and/or for that perfect Friday Question?
Richard

Gregory Chairs said...

This is one of three blogs I read every day. (You don't want to know what the other two are but one of them involves the Ninja Turtles.) Congrats and thanks. I'm an aspiring cartoonist, puppeteer, self-employed-whatever - but currently I work in a cubicle for a faceless national corporation and reading your blog kind of inspires me to pursue things that might get me out of the cubicle.

Michael said...

I start each day with this blog and love it. Congratulations, Ken!

Russell Baker, in my opinion the best columnist ever to adorn a newspaper, once said that he became a columnist with the thought that now he had the freedom to disgorge the contents of his brain. After three weeks of columns, he realized that he had already disgorged the entire contents of his brain. So it ain't easy, but you have done it ... and refilled.

Mike Barer said...

Everybody (almost) either had a blog or was thinking of starting one when you started, a lot of people have burned out but your blog gets better and better. A blog is outstanding because it is unfiltered and unsensored and you have made us all feel like insiders. Keep up the good work!

Scott said...

Hey Ken, congrats on 6 years!

I found your blog from a link from TV critic Alan Sepinwall's twitter a year ago and then just read through the last 5 years posts in 2 days! Love reading the blog everyday - especially the Friday questions.

(From the frozen arctic - Canada!)

Jeremiah Avery said...

Congratulations, Ken!

I currently live in the D.C. area and came upon this blog via a link on Mark Evanier's site a few years back.

I've enjoyed your critiques of the entertainment industry and blunt assessments on various tv shows, movies, performers, etc. Even though I sometimes disagree (not often), your directness is refreshing.

I don't typically watch award shows and your humorous highlights are far more entertaining than having to endure the 3+ hours of glad-handing.

To choose my personal favorite writings on your site, I'd probably go with your anecdotes working on the various shows you've written (I find myself paying a lot closer to the writing credits on "Frasier" nowadays and also recently discovered how wonderful "Becker" was - sorry for being a late bloomer!).

Also your tips on writing have been very informative. I have no delusions of grandeur about "making it" but I've enjoyed writing for myself for years and any tips on how I can improve are always appreciated.

Here's to another 6 years and beyond!

Bob K said...

Happy six years. I'm a college professor, writer and musician from Western Michigan and I've been reading your blog for about a year. I've long been interested in media and find your posts interesting and enjoyable.

J. Allison said...

Ken,

Great job on keeping the blog going for six years. I'm amazed at anyone who can produce something new every single day. Even if it's just a quick joke or a link to a video the fact that it's something new every day is what keeps me interested.

As to how I found the blog I heard you interviewed on an Angels pre-game show. I always figure that when announcers are interviewing announcers it means that they couldn't find any players or coaches to come on. But I enjoyed the interview and you mentioned your blog so I hunted it down and have been reading ever since.

Keep it up!

Colleen Kelly Mellor said...

OK, you asked, so I respond. I am a relative baby in the blog world (18 mos. tho' I'm still alive) and newbie to technology, which makes my journey all the more 'hurdle-studded.'And basically, I share some of your topics--family, pop culture, major events, altho' you slant nmore towards TV/movies, which is understandable considering your credentials. Now, here's my question to you, Ken Levine. I have thought til now that your blog was basically operating on auto-pilot, as perhaps you rewound the script of some years back, refashioned posts, and delivered anew. I didn't see where you answered any commenters--directly--unless you're using an assumed name (and you're one of afore-said commenters). I suspected you'd discovered a new modality where readers run the comment section (a nice idea, really:)Am I wrong? A simple "Yes" or "no" will do and if/however you do answer, I'll go back to ruminating ("is it he?" or "Is his message a cloning device?")...

Pamela Jaye said...

I’d love to know who you are, where you’re from,

Pam from Boston, currently from Florida. Never going to be a writer. But I love the travelogs and the behind the scenes stuff. And I loved Almost Perfect. Not here every day. Facebook ate my life. 6 years? Really?

how you found this blog,

Sepinwall. He told us to read that West Wing/baseball thing. I didn't like it that much, so I read something else - maybe a trip to Chicago or Seattle - and that was funny. Now if only I could figure out how long I've been reading Sepinwall and how I found him... my comments start much later than I'd expect.

and whatever suggestions you may have.

will let you know if I come up with anything.

Congratulations on your Blogoversary - my brother says he reads you before his feet hit the floor.

Roger Owen Green said...

I've been blogging just a little longer than you have, and probably got here via Evanier.

Congrats!

Pamela Jaye said...

oh and yes, talk about current shows is good. I don't watch crime stuff, so... I'd love for you to write about Once Upon a Time. I loved your Enchanted piece. It's on my hard drive. I watch a lot less TV this year that I have in a long time, but I do love the behind the scenes stuff. Not "how great was Timothy Bottoms to let us put leeches on him" but... okay, I miss Grey's Writers. I admit it.

I went to a taping once where they seemed to rewrite much or the ep as we sat there and I only felt sad that I couldn't hear them rewriting over the MC/DJ assigned to keep us busy.

Damon Rutherford said...

Heh ... more baseball, please. Seriously!

Congrats, Ken. I found your blog years ago via Humbug's Periodic Table of Blogs.

Kathy said...

I can't remember how I happened upon this blog, but I've been reading daily for about 3 years now. It's one of my first morning stops when procrastinating. I've gotten some great tips for spec scripts and enjoyed an insider's view. Thanks for everything!

Corinne said...

Happy Anniversary!

I've been reading your blog for close to five years. I'm always amazed at the small world concept and the fact that you'll kindly respond each year to my request for the National Anthem repost in July.

I think of it constantly throughout the year but especially throughout Hockey season and Grey Cup.

There were 2 clues as to where I'm from in the above sentence. Did you spot them? If not, Earl P. will know, eh.

Kirk D G said...

Congrats on 6 years Ken. I found your blog via the USA Today about 4 years ago and became a lurker until this year. I added just a couple of comments (horror movies and all time sit com).

I'm from Toronto and am a big fan of Frasier and baseball so I think I'll stick around your blog.

Of course, being from Toronto I'm a hockey (Leafs fan) so perhaps like your friend Earl you'll try posting a hockey blog!

Thanks for entertaining me each morning at work.

Tom Quigley said...

Ken,

Congrats on 6 years of writing your blog! It's nice to know that good writing still wins out, even on days that you might feel what you posted wasn't your best -- it's still good enough to attract over 8 million hits -- and I still read your stuff first thing every morning anyways (even before my own)!

First found out about your blog when a mutual acquaintance of ours, Claude Hall mentioned it on his website, and have been a regular reader (and occasional poster) since early on. I'm glad to say that through it, we've become friends and I've attended your SITCOM ROOM workshop.

Keep up the good work -- here's best wishes for (at least) six more!

Mike Fab said...

Impressive Ken, and congrats. I stumbled across your blog last year during season whatever of "American Idol". My wife likes to watch it, so I would usually watch it with her, feeling strangely creepy and guilty, but mildly fascinated the whole time. So when I read your blog denouncing the stupid show, I was liberated. I've never watched another minute of it, and hopefully never will. You're like an alcoholic's AA sponsor for me, except in my case, "American Idol" was the painful addiction. (Terrible analogy). I know I can count on you to bash that show occasionally, and it pumps me up when you do.

I'm not a professional writer, but I've been experimenting with my own blog on this site. Most people think I'm a funny, quick witted guy, but as you mentioned, trying to figure out what to write about randomly every day is the big challange.

Keep up the good work.

Janet A said...

I have been reading your blog for close to a year. Not sure which article I read that listed you as a must read. They were correct. My favorite read was what show have you canceled. I also enjoy the post of inside stories of shows.

I am Janet from Oakland CA. I have been blogging since October 2008. I admire you posting every day of the week. I try to post every other day, but some days I draw a blank.


I am a retired teacher and volunteer in a school. I also volunteer as a marriage commissioner for the county two days a weeks. This is what most of my blogs are about small children and weddings.

I need my son to show me how to do a hyperlink in a comment section. Too bad he is at home with his wife.

www.Ihavenoendings.blogspot.com

Sean in No-Cal said...

Congrats on the anniversary! I read your blog everyday and have done so for about a year. I got here from Wil Wheaton's blog when he linked you.

Carson said...

Congrats Ken!

Your blog is one of my morning must-reads. I'm not a morning person by any stretch and you make the morning easier because it begins with a smile.

Now, judging by your spelling today, have you been hanging out with Dan Quayle?

Little Miss Smoke and Mirrors said...

Congratulations on six years! I think I've been around for two or three of those, I found you through Alan Sepinwall, and as you might surmise, I really enjoy reading about your experiences in television. Even though I'm an Angeleno (Seal Beach by way of Calabasas), I'm not in the industry (I'm in healthcare which, I suppose, IS an industry). Here's to many more years!

jcs said...

I'm pretty certain I belong to the masses of Munich-based cancer researchers who frequent your blog. If one of your future pilots will take place in the fun world of preclinical oncology, please let me know if you have any questions.

I have a long-standing interest in UK and US TV and movies and enjoy reading about how shows get created/produced. I discovered this blog a few weeks ago but have forgotten how I initially found it.

GRayR said...

Congrats Ken,
I've been a regular reader for less than a year. I have commented a little, and you have even answered one of my questions.

I can't remember how I found your blog, one day you were just up on my computer. "And how you got up there I'll never know."

You are a word-smith, and it shows. I like almost all your stuff, even the baseball.

I am an old engineer, cold-war vet, and love TV. Just ask my wife. We live on the Central Coast of CA. Gotta love San Luis Obispo. Cal Poly got me here and we stayed.

Looking forward to 6 more years. The traditional materials for your sixth anniversary are candy and iron. Just don't get them confused.
Gary

Anonymous said...

Hi Ken.
Happy anniversary!

I'm a long time lurker on this site. I found it thanks to John Roger's blog.

Keep talking about what you love and what makes you laugh. You do it well enough to entertain us whatever the subject.

I don't understand anything about baseball (I'm French) yet I enjoy your posts about it.

Thanks for three years of great reading.

Christopher Fernandez (yep, the French thing is not obvious)

DanTedson said...

Happy 6th! Your blog is just starting 1st grade. Now is the time for him to take goofy school pix that will be used against him in the future, to give up his lunch money to older thuggish blogs, and to haul blog ass away from any bloggy black vans idling nearby playing Slow Ride.

I'm a relative n00b to this blog. I've only been reading it a 5 or 6 weeks now. I found it through google looking for who played Gary in the Bar Wars episodes. I've lived in Phoenix my whole life, but moved to Florida a couple years ago and LOVE it. Routinely see gopher tortoises, rabbits, bats wandering our 3 acres. Big change from the 4 million person extended suburb of Phoenix.

I like most of the posts, INCLUDING the baseball ones, but especially ones like these where you invite the reader to participate. (That horror movie one was fun as hell and garnered over 100 responses.) Coincidentally, the one from yesterday about spec scripts was probably my least favorite just because it was the first time I'd seen a repeat and that made me wonder if a lot of your posts are repeats and I just haven't noticed since I haven't been here long. I'd hate to think I'm watching a "robot" blog, which would be a bit icky. (And not only because of that time I proposed to that JigglyPartyQueens.com chatbot.) This post today assuaged that concern a bit.

Speaking of reader participation, and finding topics for posts for that matter, have you ever thought about doing a caption contest? You could post a picture and then pick the funniest caption. This is great fun on other comic sites I visit. When judged by someone who's funny such as yourself, it becomes The New Yorker minus the lame winners. You could even reward something like "I'll critique 5 pages of something you wrote" or "I'll let you pick a post topic," though just being picked is fun too.

Happy 6th!

Charles H. Bryan said...

Congratulations, Ken, and thanks for all of the fun reading.

By the way, using "Velcroe" should avoid those cease and desist letters that would encourage you to substitute the phrase "hook and loop fastener". Well played!

emily said...

This, then, is also my sixth anniversary -- having been a faithful follower since Day One.

I thank you from the bottom of my heart, Ken. You have made my day -- every day since then.

Now, if only you could make a buck or two from it...

R said...

Congratulations! I'm not sure I could find something to write about every day for a week, let alone six years.

I found you through the AVClub's "A Very Special Episode" article on M*A*S*H* several weeks ago and got hooked like a catfish on Hillbilly Handfishing. I've since made it back through the archives as far as January, and you've become my go-to for whiling idle minutes.

I love, love, love the insider-y stories of TV's Golden and Silver Ages (who wouldn't) and Friday Questions. The Danny Arnold anecdotes are my favorite. I also love the award show snark. My second job (my first is struggling writer by day, natch) is working for a screening house, so I particularly enjoy the glorious, hilarious sham that is the Golden Globes. The lengths the studios go to for those 19 little votes... Ooh, and the Beaver Cleaver stories are a hoot too.

With all that said, however, please don't stop writing about baseball (or anything else that comes into your head for that matter). After I realized that I would never grow up to be an astronaut and the starting shortstop for the Cleveland Indians my career choice came down to screenwriter OR baseball announcer. Until you came along I never realized the OR could be an AND. you didn't take the fork at the road less traveled, you bulldozed the whole goddamn thing and built a condo there. You have my vote as someone who counts it as his great good fortune that his profession brought him to a city where I get to listen to Vin Scully all summer to write about baseball whenever it suits your fancy. Unfortunately I found out about your Mariners gig after the season had already ended, but I look forward to listen you come spring.

Best wishes and thank you for all the great blogging (does Hallmark make a card for that yet?)

Skytalon said...

I don't know how long I have been reading your blog, I got to your blog from Alan Sepinwall before he left Star Ledger.

I enjoy reading behind the scenes in entertainment industry.

kingvermin said...

Paul. Chicago. I found this site while trying to look up info about the depressing Irish band for one of the Old Town Tavern episodes. I hit the jackpot, apparently! I occasionally work backstage at theater and wrote my first play, which was performed this Fall here in Chicago, working on my 2nd. Your blog is PERFECT. Thank you for the free advice and lessons that are found in your paragraphs, some of which I've just inferred.

And I love the baseball stuff.

Also, I'm in a band that sings about The Simpsons, but we haven't gotten to your episodes yet.

kingvermin on the blogspot.

Anonymous said...

Happy Anniversary! I have been lurking/commenting for about 18 months, I guess. I was part of Aaron Sorkin's Facebook group and it was mentioned there before it closed.

I am not a writer, but love the behind the scene stuff. I am, however, a baseball freak and I do love those posts. I am in St. Charles, MO a slight hop, skip, and a jump from St. Louis. Yeah, Cardinals!!!!! Still can't believe that happened.

Pam aka SisterZip

BC in AZ said...

I am late to your blog party. I just started reading you when I saw you in the Time list of best blogs. They actually knew what they were talking about for a change. Especially enjoy reading about the ins and outs of writing for TV and about the older TV shows. By the way, from Phoenix AZ.

BC in AZ

Ade S said...

Congratulations Ken, and thanks all the time and effort this blog must take.
I am from Bristol in the UK. I came to your blog via a link from Seephen gallagher's blog, and I have been a regular reader for about 18 months.
I love Friday questions and I cannot get enough behind the scenes info.

Barry Traylor said...

Laurie Powers mentioned your blog a few months ago at her Laurie's Wild West Blog and I thought I'd take a gander. Now I am addicted to seeing what you are commenting about every day.
Thanks A Lot! ;-)

Joel Spezeski said...

Hi Ken,

Thanks for doing the blog! I've been reading since early 2007. A friend not involved in the entertainment industry recommended your blog while I was in film school. I'm from Tucson, AZ and work as a freelance cinematographer, currently in Saigon, Vietnam.

I love the stories from your Beaver Cleaver radio days. The movie previews & Friday question are also lots of fun. I enjoy reading what you write about the process of writing, selling and producing scripts both for instruction and for amusement.

I've also found the anecdotes about projects that turn out to be disappointments very helpful on a personal level. The things you have to say about AfterMASH and Mannequin II help out when I despair that the only mention my work has seen thus far in American media was a blurb in Fangoria noting Vietnam's first 3-D film and mocking the visual effects. They were kinder than the local critics and that was the highest grossing film I've shot.

One topic I did not enjoy, was your views on spec submissions ;) Something that has kept me reading is that I have a marketable feature story which your blog has convinced me that you and David Isaacs would be uniquely suited to write. I haven't approached you or Mr. Isaacs (who teaches at my alma mater) for the the several years it has been sitting on my back burner. At least I'll take this opportunity to introduce myself an say thanks again for this wonderful blog!

Warm regards,

Joel

50 is the new 35 said...

Mazel tov on six years in the blogosphere, Ken - that's quite an impressive run!

I've been on board since the early days; I don't comment very often, but your blog is at the top of a short list of daily reads. I found my way here by way of a posted link in the Cheers discussion forum on Television Without Pity (before the corporate shills purchased the site and revamped it so that it's now about as sharp-edged as vanilla pudding).

I read virtually every post you write (even those pertaining to baseball, which is a pretty mean feat on your part), but my favorites are the ones in which you take us behind the scenes of the various TV shows on which you've worked. I enjoy when you deconstruct how the finished product I viewed came to be. I'd probably read (and enjoy) pretty much anything you author, though - that's how engaging I find your writing. I like finding out, on any given day, whether stopping over here will make me smile, teach me something new, challenge my memory, inspire my creativity, incite my anger (remember those posts during the writers' strike?), or even make me tear up.

I'd love to see you make more frequent appearances in the comments section so that it could take on a little more of an interactive dynamic. However, I can imagine how much of your time the care and feeding of this blog already requires, and appreciate the probability that you don't want to or can't allow it to become any more time-consuming than it already is. In that light, the weekly Friday Questions feature - another one of my favorite features - is a good compromise.

Thank you, Ken, for all of the great reading you've delivered over the past six years. You're the perfect complement to my AM coffee, and I look forward to many more mornings of your blog posts! ~ Ruth

Anonymous said...

Ken,

Long time lurker here...

Great blog, sir.

I've read every post for the last three or four years, except for the baseball stuff - it just wasn't cricket.

However.

Perhaps you could respond sometimes to the people who comment on your blog. Most of them are really funny too. (Not me, this is my first comment here.)

I read your blog every evening at 7 p.m., when there are no comments. Next morning, I read all the comments.

Great stuff, and a great big thank you to you and all the other people who add their comments to this blog!

Andrew B. said...

I found your blog via the Time's top 25 blogs list (which I found through Ta-Nehisi Coates blog) and have been a faithful reader ever since.

I'm not a writer or a baseball fan. I'm fairly indifferent to radio and travel only once or twice a year. I never got into MASH reruns (I wasn't born when the show debuted) and never followed Frasier (though I do enjoy the episodes I catch). Heck, I don't even watch American Idol or Award shows. About the only interests I have in common with the blog are Cheers and Television in general.

But then I don't read the blog because the topics relate to me. Each post is simply so well thought out and written that I find myself captivated by radio standards in the 70s, the behind the scenes happenings on Almost Perfect, and, yes, even the posts having to do with baseball.

Thanks so much for the great posts (and for the 4 1/2 years of archives I still have yet to read)!

Tim W. said...

I've got to say I appreciate that I know I've got something new to ready every morning when I come to your blog. Ironically, the travelogues and baseball stuff are the subjects I care least about, but I still often read them, even if it's only partially.

I don't know what I like best. Probably about your life as a screenwriter.

Biggest pet peeve? Commenters who complain when you repost something from the archives. Are they really complaining that the free blog they get to read every day and that you make zero money on sometimes has repeats? They probably also don't understand why there can't be 56 episodes of their favourite shows.

Another take on the joke about someone complaining about a restaurant, "the food sucks and the portions are too small."...
"Your blog sucks and I hate it when you repost older stuff I've already read"

Congrats and thanks for all the morning reads.

Mark Fearing said...

Congrats. Not sure how I found this blog. Maybe a dream...Anyway, it's a great read and I love the breadth of your posts. And the bread of your posts.
I write and illustrate picture books and comics/graphic novels and have worked in TV/film animation and video games. Looking at becoming a baseball annoncer once I figure out how many field goals you need to score to get into overtime in the 4th inning.

RichN said...

Yours is the only blog I read every day. I'm in awe that you can produce such amusing posts day after day.
Keep up the great work.

Amy said...

Happy 6th Ken! I found your blog the way I find a lot of gems...by Googling various topics. I've been reading for a couple of years now...admittedly, I skip a lot of the baseball stuff.

Time Magazine is right! Looking forward to more. Thanks.

Fawn said...

I don't even recall blogging being in existence six years ago so you are certainly a trailblazer. Congrats and happy anniversary!

Fawn
http://www.happywivesclub.com

RCP said...

Congratulations on six years! I make a point of reading By Ken Levine every day.

The name's Rob, and I toil as a magazine editor in Santa Fe (well, you asked). I've been learning and laughing with BKL for about two years now, and always look forward to your take on things. I love anything to do with writing and comedy. In fact, I used to write a weekly humor column ("Outer Limits") for the campus paper at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks back in '83-'84. Perhaps you've heard of it?

At any rate, thank you for providing such a terrific read, Ken. The comments section ain't bad, either!

Cap'n Bob said...

That's 42 years in a dog's life. Thanks for the memories.

AlaskaRay said...

>>Ken Levine said: "I thought it would be nice break from writing scripts. No format. No notes."<<

Loved your blog from the first day, but I have some suggestions for improvement...

Congrats, Ray

Kirk said...

Happy 6th. I like it when you write about old TV shows (MASH in particular). Enjoys the Friday questions, especially if it's one of mine that gets answered. Like the "Do you find this funny?" tests. Like it when the blog is partipatory, such as the recent "What's your favorite sitcom?" series. As for the topics I don't particularly care for, such as baseball, you're a good enough writer to make even THAT seem interesting.

sartorias said...

My daughter the film major turned me on to your blog, as one of our favorite shows is Frasier. (I write books now, but worked for Lorimar in days of yore. Wouldn't mind coming back up to town.)

I love it when you relate anecdotes about the industry. I skip anything about sports, but recognize that others like that sort of thing.

Thank you!

Ted said...

Love your blog - been reading it every day for probably five of those six years.

Favorites - the early funny ones. Travelogues, movies reviews, Roseanne-bashing and many more.

Dislikes - Friday questions about Cheers - haven't we about covered that topic by now?

Keep up the great work Ken!

iain said...

A quick google search indicates that tradtional 6th anniversary gifts are iron or wood, so we'll pass the hat & get you a nice set of golf clubs?

Since you did ask, I'm a small business owner in beautiful Cleveland (still raining) Ohio who came across your blog about 5 years ago courtesy of Mark Evanier. I enjoy your insider's perspective on many topics, from travel to tv & radio to baseball, so about all I can say is thanks & congratulations!

Eric J said...

I've only been reading your blog for 3 or 4 months and I have no idea how or why I found it, but it sits on my Bookmark Toolbar and has become a daily habit.

I enjoy most the "inside story" posts, particularly about writers. I also read Allan Cole (acole.com) who I met years ago through a mutual friend, the late Chris Bunch, both screen writers (Magnum PI and many others). I couldn't stand the pressure cooker you guys worked under, but I enjoy the "war stories" immensely.

Baseball? Sorry, I tend to skip those.

Congratulations on our first 6 years. Looking forward to many more.

Bobaloo said...

Long time lurker. I believe I have skipped a few anniversary requests for comments. I came for an American Idol review and stayed for the TV comedy and Baseball insight. Thanks for the posts.

-Bob in Phoenix.

Donald said...

Congratulations on 6 years, which, by the way, is the Candy anniversary. How sweet it is.

P.S. Now could you please reveal the laugh that took you 15 years to understand?

Anonymous said...

Six years! It only seem like 60! Keep the snark coming.

Lula said...

Hey Ken,

Congratulations! And cause you asked so nicely: I am from Vancouver. A newish reader and normaly a lurker. Can't remember exactly how I found your blog. Maybe that Times article.

6 years is Sugar - Candy. So, sugar to you! Next year you get to look forward to Wool and Copper.

Keep bloggin

DyHrdMET said...

Mazel Tov!

Is it harder to come up with blog topics or new sitcom ideas? I think you have experience with both.

JJadziaDax said...

Congrats :) Just found you a couple months ago looking for information on Moneyball which I didn't end up seeing but the blog was cool so I stayed. I like the insider stories the best like explaining what a show is like when it's tanking and how Cheers did the round the bar beer slide, same things I read the masked blogger for before he shot himself in the foot. Thanks for the continued laughs and interesting reads.

Wayne from Maine said...

Congrats om 6 years, Ken! I found your blog searching for Beaver Cleaver airchecks on the net. Someone on Reel Radio suggested it. I became addicted right away, and have been ever since. I love to hear your stories about your radio experiences, and your stories of how you and your writing partner came with some of the classic sitcom episodes you've written. I look forward to reading more in the future. And thanks for giving me something to read EVERY morning.

My Only complaint is your blog is a BITCH to read on my iPhone, I wish there was a mobile version.

willieb said...

Ken,
I have absolutely no memory of how I found your blog,but I'm glad I did. I'm another Southern California boy who set out to make his fortune in radio in the 70s. I wandered to the great Northeastern U.S. where I exist to this day. Never got to write TV scripts or call ball games, so you're living my fantasy life. Thanks for taking me -- and the rest of us -- along.

gottacook said...

I came to this site from Alan Sepinwall's Newark Star-Ledger column online, at least 4 years ago. I wouldn't want to repeat self-descriptions from prior anniversaries - things are going well, kaynahora - but I do want to thank you for recommending Great Big Radio, a more and more frequent choice for music while I work (i.e., while I edit) at home.

Jen McGeary said...

Congratulations on 6 years! I was bored one day at work a few years ago and asked Mo Ryan, one of my best friends who doubles as a TV critic, for sites to read. She suggested yours, and I've been hooked ever since. I like the baseball posts as a baseball fan. Am I in the minority? My favorite posts are the inside TV Q and As you do, as well as the behind-the-scenes stuff from MASH and Cheers. Thanks so much for the entertaining read!

mark said...

Hey Ken:

A big ole congratulations from, far, far, away....Agoura, CA.

I've been greatly enjoying your blog for about four years.

How bout some recommendations on your favorite restaurants round the country? Such as favorite taco in the San Fernando Valley?

Thanks again,
Keep up the superb work.

Mark

R's Woman said...

Ken!

A night reader here, so seems I'll be one of the last to post...

Addicted to you for a month now, since googling 'best blogs' in my quest to find light and sweet night reading (post doses of TV, whatever book I'm reading, etc. etc.). TIME's 25 came up and yours was the coolest.

I'm in Jamaica! If you ever take a holiday from blogging - do you ever? - you should take the break here. Or blog from here. Whichever.

I enjoy all your pieces - super dooper, honest, entertaining writing is such a treat! - but my favorites are your observations about everyday life and current US TV. Your Thanksgiving Travel Tips had me in hysterics. Tuck and roll!

Happy Blogirthday! You're a star! Thank you!

Rob said...

Congrats on the anniversary. I don't remember how I got here, but I'm glad I did. I've been seeing your name on my TV screen since childhood - I even remember seeing "Goodbye Radar" on first-run! I'm down with just about anything you write, but no more colonoscopy stories, please!

Leslie said...

Happy anniversary!

I am a long-time lurker... I found this blog through your HuffPost American Idol reviews, whenever that was (they were funny!), and it remains one of only two blogs I check every day. Your entries are fun to read (I watched Cheers and MASH when they were new), and many of the people who comment here are pretty brilliant.

The Word Verification contest was one of the most hilarious things I've read on line. Your daughter is also a riot.

Thank you for being a part of my on-line life!

Mister Charlie said...

You're doing fine, whatever it is you do. Yeah, I skim over the baseball stuff only because I am not interested but YOU ARE. Since it's your blog you should write about whatever you want. Since you have been so successful with it the way it is why change?

D. Sinatra said...

I've been reading for about five years now. Writing a post every day might be tough for you, but it is a pleasure to your faithful readers so I would not want to influence your choice of topics at all. Whatever gets you cranking out the words works fine for me, good sir.

Matt said...

I think I've posted this, but your blog was linked to by a guy named Raymond Chen, a programming God from Microsoft. He's an extremely well rounded person and the things he finds are pretty high quality...a la, you.

Keep it coming. And your friend who told you to write every day was right. No posts = people stop checking. New posts, even if bad, keep them coming back. But yours are never "bad". There are some where people don't really have an interest (like when people endlessly moan about the baseball posts) but they know that you aren't a one trick pony, so tomorrow will be another great post.

Please keep it up. We love you here in KC.

katherine. said...

I've been enjoying your blog for a couple years now. I'll comment every once in a while.

I live in Santa Cruz, California. I've been a San Francisco Giants fan since Summer of 1965. I have three kids, all twenty-something.

I love the baseball stories and the Dad stories most of all.

Thanks for all the great posts

Robbie said...

I'm Robbie... I started reading your blog after I got to sit in the booth with you at Dodger Stadium and call an inning. I was awful, but it was a fun time anyway. I have a degree in TV/Film, an interest in writing, and a collection of 350+ vintage lunchboxes.

John Pearley Huffman said...

When I started reading Ken Levine's blog about five years ago, I was a not so struggling freelance automotive writer looking to blow time instead of getting actual work done. But now, after reading Ken's blog closely all that time and attending the very first Sitcom Room, I struggle a bit more.

It's not that this blog is gossipy -- what Harry Morgan is really like isn't a big issue for me -- but that Ken writes so well about how group-generated, collaborative creativity works. That's something I struggle with every day in my own work and it's reassuring to know that Cheers/MASH/Simpsons quality can arise from it. Every once in a while I pick up a nugget here that makes my own stuff better.

Plus I love baseball. And Ken's funny.

Johnny Walker said...

Hey Ken. I think I must have started reading your blog the-best-part-of-a year ago. I loved it from the first minute, and it all culminated in me coming out to LA, meeting you, and having my own Sitcom Room experience.

Keep up the great work on this blog! Since you asked: I love the industry related posts -- behind the scenes, useful tips, insider knowledge. I'm not a huge fan of baseball :)

I also, and brace yourself for a controversial statement, wasn't a huge fan of your interview with a certain musician... No offence to her, but I was about as interested in her influences and thoughts on yodelling, as you would be about my milkman's.

I'm glad I finally got that off my chest... :)

*tarazza said...

Hi Ken,

I've been reading your blog for a few years now, long enough that I can't remember how I found it. Googling, I think! My favorite part of the blog is the Friday questions, and anytime you talk about the actors you've worked with (especially when you get to confirm that they're just as nice as I hope them to be). The Aaron Sorkin thing was an exciting moment for me so I'll always remember you for that, blog or no!

Thanks for the entertainment. I read your blog every morning when I get to work.

jason said...

Hi Ken,

Thanks for continuing a great blog!

I'm in Athens, GA and I've been reading for a few years (but probably only commented once or twice). I think that I found your blog via a Google search about a Cheers episode, but I can't be sure.

I enjoy hearing your stories about writing AND about baseball. Also, I agree with many others that the Friday questions are great.

Please keep up the great work!

Kevin Jq said...

I read this because you actually say what you think – if a show sucks (like say...Whitney) then you have no problem writing that. Plus there's always something thought provoking or funny – you seem to know when to drop in an F-bomb and it works. Big fan of your cussing, you just don't enough get well executed profanity anymore.

Also, the comment section doesn't deteriorate into bickering, so it's
nice to read what others have to say or even make a comment myself.

I am a bigger fan of Safeco than the Mariners, too many years of bad decisions finally got to me, but it's still nice to go to a game and it's a short trip from Portland.
I've wondered what you think of the Seachickens, that's a team that's become hard to like.

Sarah Bentley said...

Hi Ken,

I am a new reader of your blog. I found it because I am doing research about writing a sitcom It is my life's ambition to write a sitcom as good as Frasier for UK TV. I don't find the comedy on UK TV all that funny. I have written two scripts and am busy writing a third. I get inspired mynwatching episodes of Frasier. I only started reading your blog on Friday night butbit is awesome. I want to come along to one of your courses. I would love some tips on writing comedy in your blog that would help me a lot as it is very difficult writing comedy. All the best it is such an honour to make contact with such a wonderful human being.

Greg Ehrbar said...

Hi Ken,

Love your work, love your blog, always read everything -- I even went back to the earlier ones.

What I could not find, no matter how far back I looked, was enough about your beloved ALMOST PERFECT, as far as the story behind the series, what the cast was like and particularly, who messed around with the show, resulting in Kevin Kilner leaving. I've always wondered about all that. Any plans to recount that era of your career in detail?

Jeff said...

Late to the party as usual. I'm from Green Bay, WI.

I've been reading for two or three years now. I've always been sort of a student of comedy, fascinated by how it all comes together. I often learn something new or see something a new way from the blog posts.

I grew up with Carson, Pryor, Carlin, Monty Python and old National Lampoon Radio Hour. So not much today measures up.

Jake Mabe said...

Hi Ken,

Congratulations on the sixth anniversary of your charming, hilarious, well-written blog.

I found you some time ago after watching the PBS documentary "Making M*A*S*H" online and deciding to look up, or Google as it's now called, writers, directors, producers and stars from "M*A*S*H," which I can say without hyperbole is a television series that changed my life. "Ken Levine and David Isaacs" are names as familiar to me as Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift are to the current crop of kids (God help them). I also adore "Cheers."

I was delighted to find not only your blog but also your connection to and devotion toward another of my passions, the great game of baseball. When I learned you love the "Dick Van Dyke Show," well, I was reeled in hook, line and sinker.

Thank you -- thank you -- for providing us with such an entertaining, sincere, laugh out loud daily read. And, yep, I bought your book, too.

Here's to many more years of happy blogging!

Marco said...

Hi Ken!

Happy Blogoversary!

I am from Germany and I stopped by heer about 2 years ago I guess. What brought me here was my search for more insight to series like "Becker" (which was on TV over here again after a long, long time and even premiering the 5th season they left out before due to license problems of the german dubbed version).

I enjoy reading this blog a lot just for entertainment sake but also learned a lot about the TV industry and especially some of my favourite shows (Cheers, Becker, Frasier and others). Also the differences between series formats was something I was and am very curiuous about. I am a huge Magnum,p.i. fan since 20+ years and got in touch with former crew members and writers - so it is interesting to compare their experiences and obstacles in creating a TV show to yours.

So, Thanks and keep it up :-)

Sue said...

Thanks Ken for some really funny and informative posts. I live in San Diego and am sorry I did not listen when you did Padres radio. I am a huge fan of baseball so love those insights from your perspective. Also a big fan of the travel posts. I have learned a lot from the sitcom stories as an outsider it is fun to get the inside scoop on how TV shows are put together, etc. The comments are also fun and sometimes enlightening. You have made a very interesting forum that has a great cross section of participants.

I happened upon your blog when I was looking up Aaron Sorkin and The Social Network. I was really impressed when Aaron Sorkin answered one of the comment questions regarding the female characters in the film, on your blog.

Have hardly missed a day since. Also love those days when you have a good rant! Here's to many more years!!

VP81955 said...

A belated congratulations on your sixth-year anniversary. From the proprietor of a blog that's on the verge of turning 4 1/2, best wishes for many more.

Yves Melis said...

Hi Ken,

Got here I think in a drunk sentimental melanchonic mood looking for cheers stuff and stayed,watching the old episodes I kind of notice that my humor has lended alot from Cheers, aspecially Carla :p . I love the "info" that we get mostly because as I was in my teens when I watched the Cheers episodes and there was not much of an internet those days to get all the info as you do now. Well not in Belgium where I am. Soon found out that you wrote on even more stuff that I loved making it even better that I'm able to follow your writing so direct. Keep it up please and I promise I'l buy your book :)

SkippyMom said...

I am a stay at home Mom from metropolitan DC via a suburb of VA. I found you through a link on one of my friend's blogs that I read [sorry, can't remember who] I am so happy I did. I read you everyday.

I have never aspired to be a writer [of any sort] but it is fun to read the ins & outs of the business. My family and I are huge baseball fans. We all enjoy your announcer stories and the bits about everyone you get to meet and those you admire. My husband and I especially like your early radio DJ posts as he was a DJ "back in the day" for a station out of Richmond VA. Your stories rival his shenanigans, especially the "Fiddler on the Roof" post about how you got fired. [Forgive me if that is the wrong soundtrack you played. We still laugh tho'.]

I only found you a few months back, but with only one kid left at home [and in school most of the day] I thoroughly enjoyed the archives, beginning to end. So, congratulations, keep up the great work and believe me, we ALL look forward to six more years.

cadavra said...

Arrggh, also way late. but for the record: Mike Schlesinger, former studio weasel, itinerant indie producer and unfrocked tummler. Sherman Oaks via Dayton/Cincinnati. Can't remember who first linked you, but Evanier is as good a guess as any. About two years. I love stories about "the good old days" of TV, but honestly, whatever you choose to write about is jake with me.

Jaime said...

Late to the party as usual, but belated happy anniversary.

Found your blog a few months ago after googling "how write sitcom pilot." This is the only blog I follow.

What I like: behind-the-scenes stories and posts about the nuts & bolts of writing. Baseball too! Grew up a Norfolk Tides fan (AAA), now follow the Braves (ATL) even though I live in L.A.

SAHM at the moment, hope to attend the next Sitcom Room.

Random aside: just heard the "Cheers" theme on Nick Jr. and realized it wasn't the show, but a commercial. Brought back great memories nonetheless and made me realize that's my favorite sitcom.

Look forward to your posts every day. Thank you.

Emma said...

A belated congratulations Ken.

My favorites are the baseball posts. I am a huge Dodger fan, baseball fan and a member of SABR (society for American Baseball Research) and a Dodger season ticket holder. After hearing you on Dodgers talk, I started folllowing you on n Facebook and tweeter. I am also a big fan of MASH.

Dave said...

Ken,

Your blog's one of the handful of Hollywood blogs I read.

Things I like most: Your reviews, travel stories, and throw-away comments.

Things I NEVER read on your blog: Sports (ESPECIALLY baseball!), old TV shows (esp. Cheers), stories about ancient actors/directors/movies/writers/producers (pre-1995).

Things I want you to write more about:
CURRENT movies & TV shows, and CURRENT-under 40!- Hollywood WOMEN producers, actresses, writers. Enough of the men!

While I enjoy your acerbic views of Ellen Barkin & Teri Hatcher, their freshness date has long expired, so it's like making fun of sour milk-too easy yet an unpleasant topic.

I know you're old yourself and out of the Hollywood game, but more commentary about YOUNG women in Hollywood today would be appreciated.