Anonymous starts us off (please leave your name):
Hi Ken! I have a "Cheers" question I'm hoping you can answer. Were the writers the ones who first came up with Diane's "Norman!" after everybody else says "Norm!" or did Shelley improv it?
That’s something Shelley came up herself and it just kind of stuck. Her calling Norm & Cliff by their more formal names is Diane’s way of separating herself from them. It’s just a little character moment the actress found; a throwaway line really. Shelley Long was so brilliant in that role, and a lot of the touches she brought to the character were so subtle you couldn’t really see them, but they added such warmth, and dimension, and humor to Diane Chambers. I’m in awe of her talent.
Am currently reading a biography of Howard Cosell. As a sportscaster yourself, what did you think of him?
An insufferable gasbag and I would give anything to have him back today. In an age of generic sportscasters, Cosell was a breath of fresh air. If only I didn't hate him when I had the chance.
Howard Cosell was really a sign-of-the-times. In his day no one was more famous. Today, unless you’re over 40 you have no idea who he was. I wonder if anyone will remember Simon Cowell in 50 years. Or Paula Abdul in five.
Richard Y wonders:
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?
Every comment gets emailed to me. I read every one. I cut and paste Friday questions into a separate file so I don’t lose them. I may throw in an extra Question day now and again because I'm starting to fall a little behind and want to answer as many of your questions as I can.
Even if you comment on something in the archives from four years ago I will see and read it.
Half the fun of this blog is reading all of your comments. Well, maybe not half. But at least three-eighths.
From Tim Jones:
I'm a real tv trivia hound, and I've come up against an enigma the solution to which is apparently so trivial as to have vanished altogether. However, in a last ditch effort, I was directed to Mr. Levine's blog as to the horse's mouth.
Here's the question: Who is the handsome blonde woman who is seen in the background of many Cheers and Frasier episodes. In Cheers, she appears most often as a bar patron, in Frasier as a KACL employee, although sometimes as a Cafe Nervosa patron. The secret of her identity must have been an inside joke with the cast of Frasier because in one episode Roz, while celebrating their return to the air, simply refers to her as "You."
I'd be forever in the debt of Mr. Levine or anyone else who can reveal the identity of this extremely ubiquitous but unknown extra.
According to FRASIER First AD, Steven Pomeroy her name is Joan Carey. Thanks, Steve!
When a writer gets hired on a show, who is the actual employer, who does the writer have the work contract with?
The studio producing the show. But most studios are owned by networks… although not necessarily the network you’re doing the show for. MODERN FAMILY for example, is through 20th Century Fox, owned by Fox but for ABC.
It can get confusing. Just make sure someone pays you.
What’s your question? Leave it in the comments section. I will read it. Thanks.