More Friday Questions and answers:
Duncan Randall has the first Q:
I was reading Naked Heat by "Richard Castle" when I noticed a reference to Levine and Isaacs Public Relations. I'm betting you know who the real ghostwriter is (and won't tell us, so I won't ask THAT). So, what do you think about this type of book? I think it's a hoot, even if they are not intended to be high art. Seems like a good thing for the fans of the show, and especially this show about a writer.
Yes, we do know who the real writer is. Richard Castle’s friend, Jessica Fletcher introduced us.
As for the Castle books, I’ll be 100% honest – I like them way better than I like the show. They stand on their own as terrific crime novels -- equal to or better than a lot of the work by best selling authors.
Most of the highly regarded non-network shows you mention (The Wire, Sopranos, Breaking Bad, House of Cards, etc...) differ from standard network shows by doing 13 episodes per season instead of 20+ episodes. Do you think doing fewer episodes is a big factor in achieving a higher overall quality of the show? (Would CHEERS or MASH have been even better if you only did 13 episodes per year?) Do you think networks will gravitate to doing 13 episode seasons soon?
I do think it makes an enormous difference when a show like MAD MEN can take a year or more to make 13 episodes and a network show like THE GOOD WIFE has to churn out 24 in a year or less. They have to work twice as hard, produce twice as much, and deal with all the network restrictions and standards & practices.
To me it’s unfair that network shows have to vie with limited series shows for Best Drama Emmys. That’s like playing hockey where one team has six players and the other team has two. Emmy competition should not be decided by power plays.
As for comedies, sure it would be easier if we only had to make 13 instead of 24 – except everyone would get paid a lot less money.
Networks depend on hit shows and need to air as many of them as they can. And as long as people are watching, they’re happy. CBS is not going to let the producers of THE BIG BANG THEORY only make 13 because the quality will improve. And from the studio standpoint, the more episodes they have, the sooner they can go into syndication. That's where the real pot of gold is.
Just think – there was a time in network television when shows made 39 original episodes a year. That’s over three seasons of MAD MEN in one year. Of course all the writers of those early shows became basket cases but still!
Jake Mabe touches on a sore subject:
You've probably been asked this before -- and I promise I'm not joking -- but why isn't "AfterMASH" available on DVD? I would like to see the series again and I think it would be a good companion to its daddy.
Is it a rights issue or does the company that holds the rights (is it FOX?) think it won't sell?
I’m sure Fox believes there’s not enough of a demand for it. Fox isn’t very big on rolling out their library anyway.
And finally, David has a question.
Does anybody know if its true that President Chester A. Arthur kept a whore in the White House?
David, I’m personally not qualified to answer that question. The whores I know don’t go back that far. But maybe one of you dear readers has the definitive answer. I’m surprised that wasn’t covered in LEE DANIEL’S THE BUTLER.
As you can see, I take all questions. Please leave yours in the comments section. Thanks much.