Warming you up with some Friday Questions:
Phil Nichols from the UK begins with a FRASIER query:
Today they showed your first season episode with Lilith ("The Show Where Lilith Comes Back"). I gather this was from mid-season - and yet the episode established all of the regular characters so well that it could almost be mistaken for a pilot. My question: was that episode was intended as some kind of mid-season re-start for the show?
No. If I can remember correctly, that episode was held back until the beginning of February to take advantage of Sweeps. Lilith was considered “stunt casting.” Similarly, a couple of seasons later we wrote the FRASIER where Sam came back and that too was slotted for February Sweeps. I'd stop short of saying they were two "very special episodes" but it was nice to be the guys they called to write high profile episodes.
When a show gets a pick-up straight away (like Michael J. Fox's new show), is the pilot still shot at the same time of year as all other pilots or are they able to wait until July/August and shoot when any returning series would shoot its first episode?
It depends on many factors. Does the network insist on seeing the pilot early in case they want to make some changes? How soon do they need the show? It’s much cheaper to not do a pilot then shut down for several months before resuming production.
Other variables: Is the star of the series committed to something else and won’t be available until mid summer? In that case there would be no time for a separate pilot.
When is the best pilot director available? It might be worth it to shoot the pilot early if you can get a Jim Burrows to direct it.
By the way, these are all problems as a showrunner that I would love to have (since it means I'm on the air).
I recently watched the hilarious one hour Cheers Woody and Kelly wedding episode and was wondering for special extra-long episodes, is the filming broken up across 2 weeks or is done on normal 1-week schedule?
Generally, on CHEERS, hour episodes were filmed in one night. This was only possible because director Jimmy Burrows was so fast and so good. The director sets the pace and Jimmy was able to keep things moving while still getting the best performances from the actors. It never felt rushed.
With the exception of the long final scene, the entire final episode of CHEERS was filmed in one night. I remember that distinctly because I did the warm up.
David and I wrote two two-parters. “Never Love a Goalie” (where we introduced Eddie LeBec) that was filmed all in one night. And the other was “Finally” (Rebecca finally sleeps with Robin Colcord). That was not all filmed in one night. For reasons I forget, part one was filmed and then the show went on a one-week hiatus. During that week we wrote part two.
And finally, from Fred:
I'm curious about your reader/commenter ratio. A friend of mine has a blog that gets about one comment for every four blog entries. Are comments like cockroaches? For every one you see are there 1000 behind the walls?
The percentage of comments to readers is very small. I can’t place an exact number on it because the traffic changes daily as do the number of comments.
You can’t judge the popularity of a blog or even a specific post based on the number of comments. Some posts will naturally lead to a lot of comments, like when I ask you guys a question or say something nice about Patty Heaton. But I don’t expect a lot of comments when I share travelogues.
Meanwhile, I love getting comments. They are often more entertaining and enlightening than the posts themselves. My only rule: leave a name. Don’t be anonymous.
What's your question? Or comment?