Sunday, September 29, 2013

Show parties

INSTANT MOM premieres tonight at 8:30 on Nick at Nite and 10 pm on the new Nick Mom network. This is the show my daughter Annie and her partner Jon are staff writers on. It stars Tia Mowry-Hardrict (the cuter of the identical twins on SISTER SISTER), Michael Boatman (you loved hating him in THE GOOD WIFE), and Sheryl Lee Ralph (one of the original DREAMGIRLS – Dreamgirl #2 I believe). Other than the BREAKING BAD series finale, this should be the TV event of the night. It’s a very cute show and I invite you to check it out.  Believe me, there are plenty of shows I would not be raving just 'cause Annie & Jon were on them. 

A television tradition is to gather the actors, writers, and directors and have a party to watch the premiere or season opener. Held at either someone’s house or a restaurant, you can finally celebrate all the hard work you’ve been doing for months. No matter how many times you’ve seen an edited cut, there’s something very special about seeing the show actually on TV.

Everybody cheers everybody’s credit. It’s great for bonding and show morale.

The episode always gets great laughs, but of course everyone is smashed by the time it airs so the Allstate commercials get big yucks. I always wonder if they have first night parties for dramas. How do you celebrate and hoot and holler during the pilot of THE FOLLOWING?

I remember the premier party for the 6th season of MASH and telling David Ogden Stiers (whose Charles character was first introduced) that his entire life was about to change that night. He sloughed it off but later realized I was right. The incredible impact of being on MASH caught him completely by surprise. That’s what 30,000,000 people watching at one time can do.

The CHEERS first night parties were always held at Chasen’s restaurant in Beverly Hills. This was a legendary Hollywood eatery that is now a Bristol Farms market. For some reason we always had chicken pies and everyone was required to give a toast. David Lloyd and Jerry Belson always had the funniest ones. Les Charles always had the most elegant one. And Kirstie was usually the first person to say fuck.

The one thing you don’t want to happen is for everyone to arrive only to learn your show has been pre-empted. This once happened to me. It was a lavish party at a Santa Monica hotel restaurant to celebrate the airing of the 100th episode of BECKER. Add to that, my partner David Isaacs and I wrote the episode and I directed it.

Unfortunately, BECKER that year was on Sunday nights. The football game went deep into overtime and we were bumped from the schedule. One of the producers brought a taped copy just in case. So we all saw it but I can honestly say that was the only time I really missed the commercials – because commercials signify that you’re really on the air. The episode finally did air the following week but with no major promotion or fanfare. It was the NFL Pro Bowl of television events.

But INSTANT MOM should air tonight as planned. (It helps being on two networks.)  My best to all concerned for a long and prosperous run. Hopefully you’ll have a 100th party too.


Anonymous said...

okay, so it's 12.14am when I see this post as I'm on the ohter side of the world(Madang, PNG), half asleep and reading it on my phone(a small mini x10) and I have it set to not download the photos to save on data.

The first line I see is INSTANT MOM.

It's 12.14am so I yawn(not bored, just tired) and am thinking Ken's found another funny reality show that's probably based on girls who've had one night stands and now want to keep the baby and milk it for áll it's worth on a reality show.

Bear in mind I was still trying to figure out how to get back to the ship in Antartica with my team after we went swimming in normal togs--in the Antartica!!-- and seeing a wrecked ship(hopefully not ours). That was the dream I just came out of.

So congrats to Annie & John(wear something warm)
PS I am not making this up! Going back to bed.

Mike said...

"I felt it was a bad omen when the guests changed channels halfway through the party to watch Trophy Wife."

Brent said...

What I remembered Michael Boatman for is China Beach.

Thanks for the heads up, Ken. I doubt I'd have paid any attention to this show; the only time Nickelodeon is on my TV is when the grand-kids visit. But if Annie is one of the writers I'll give a look.

Breadbaker said...

" Believe me, there are plenty of shows I would not be raving just 'cause Annie & Jon were on them." I thought Whitney was cancelled.

I feel very close to Michael Boatman right now. He read the Willie Mays biography I was listening to on my iPod for a couple of weeks. He and I drove a long way together.

Cap'n Bob said...

I wish them luck but I won't be watching. If it doesn't involve storage lockers, sports, small claims courts, or Jeopardy!, I'm not interested.

D. McEwan said...

My heartiest and sincere congratulations to Annie and to you. Here's to a long run and many years of residuals. Tell her to break a metaphorical leg.

Lorimartian said...

As a program executive, I monitored production of (the original) Dallas, Knots Landing, Falcon Crest, and Perfect Strangers, among other series, as well as numerous TV movies/mini-series. Even after reading all first to final drafts and viewing all rough and final cuts and answer prints, there was nothing like going home and watching the shows' TV broadcasts. That what you have worked on within a small community is then beamed to millions of people is almost surreal. Although I played a small role, it always seemed hard to believe, as it does to this day, that I was associated with such phenomenally successful programming.

Ken Levine said...


Were you at Lorimar when I was? 1980-1981.

Johnny Walker said...

I hope the premiere went well!

jbryant said...

I know you were joking, but I swear one of those Mowry twins IS cuter than the other. I'm just not sure which one.

Congrats to Annie and Jon!

RCP said...

Best wishes to Annie and John.

Lorimartian said...


I was there from 1978-1989 and was summarily dismissed when WB was about to take over. There were initially three program execs in the creative affairs department: Me (Patricia), formerly assistant to the VP, Creative Affairs, Karen (an attorney), and Bonnie who came over from PR. I remember everyone was excited when you two came on board. I wasn't "assigned" to you, and it may have been, because you were writing pilots, that you didn't need to be "monitored." Perhaps you remember or still know Karen or Bonnie who later produced a number of TV movies.

If you and I ever met, it was only briefly, but I was always aware of your subsequent success. In any event, that was another lifetime, and I sometimes feel those surreal years were spent off the planet, hence, "Lorimartian" seemed an appropriate name to use.

I'm always happy when you mention Chuck Ranberg and Anne Flett-Giordano. When Chuck worked in post production at Lorimar, he called every day with the time when dailies would be screened. Years later, when they won an Emmy, I called and left a message for him. When he called me back, his first words were, "Dallas dailies at 11AM." Wonderful, down-to-earth, funny people and talented writers whose success is well-deserved.

I'm glad I stumbled upon your blog and read it every day. As I said in a very early previous comment...still funny after all these years.

All best you,
Patricia, a Lorimartian

HCarvalho said...

No post about the great Breaking Bad finale? you're slipping Levine.