Sunday, September 29, 2013
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.
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.
By Ken Levine at 6:00 AM