Ready for some Friday Questions?
Robin gets us started:
Say you're pitching an idea for a show and the network passes. Is it possible for you to move on--let's pretend you were able to get a different show on TV--and after you're a bit more well-known try to get your original idea made? Or is it the case that when it's gone, it's gone?
Until someone buys your idea it’s yours. You can shop it anywhere. And even if everyone passes, if your next idea becomes FRIENDS you can take your old rejected idea out of the drawer and there will be a bidding war.
For whatever reason, my partner and I never had much luck at ABC. Routinely they would pass and another network would buy our pitch. So we always scheduled ABC first and almost used it as a practice pitch.
I don’t know how it is now at ABC but it used to be that when you pitched a comedy, they were in Burbank, and the executives would sit with their backs to the window. You would be looking at the execs and over their shoulders, out the window, was Forest Lawn Cemetery. How perfect was that?
Hi Ken! In the 'Cheers' finale, we learn that Diane has led a somewhat depressing life after leaving Boston. I couldn't help but feel sorry for her! There are rumors that Diane was written this way out of spite due to Shelley Long's departure from the series. Are these rumors true?
Those rumors are absolutely false. We were thrilled that Shelley agreed to come back for the finale. She certainly didn’t have to. But having Diane return really created a sense of closure and added to the “event” status of the episode. Think about it – why would Shelley agree to return if she felt the script was out to punish her?
Andy P. has a question in light of the recent BIG BANG THEORY actors’ holdout.
I'd read that Parsons/Galecki/Cuoco also got development deals, Ken. Could you please explain a bit more about what that means?
That means that the studio sets up production companies for the actors, gives them office space, a budget to hire development executives and funds to buy or option material.
Sometimes these turn into legitimate companies like Kelsey Grammer’s Grammnet. They actually produce successful series. But most of the time these "deals" are just vanity projects that go nowhere. The actors think it’ll be fun to be a producer developing projects. And then when they see how difficult the process is they tire quickly.
It gives you an even greater appreciation for Desi Arnaz.
I've noticed that with sitcoms filmed before a live audience, the audience will "react" (laugh) to a joke that is only a surprise if you're watching at home. For example, the camera zooms in to a close-up of the character saying something inspiring or potentially upsetting and then it pulls back to reveal that everyone she was speaking to has vanished or passed out. The audience would have noticed this set-up (the characters leaving the stage or lying down on the floor) so how do they keep the audience from "reacting" until the actual visual punchline?
We pre-shoot those scenes and show them back to the audience.
What's your opinion of the movie "Major League?"
I love MAJOR LEAGUE, especially Bob Uecker as Indians’ announcer, Harry Doyle. From what I understand, he improvised all his dialogue, which explains why it was so hilarious. Now that Wesley Snipes is out of prison they should have a reunion.
What’s your Friday Question?