Ho ho ho. Last Friday Questions before Xmas.
Mike starts us off with a (holiday) CHEERS question.
When did the Charles brothers step down as showrunners? I had been under the impression it was after season six, but Warren Littlefield, in "Top of the Rock," said they dialed back their involvement toward the end of season two, and were barely involved by the start of season three. I noticed a few other mistakes in that book, so this may be one of them. But I figured if anyone knew for sure the answer, it would be you.
Warren wrote a terrific book that I recommend, but no, his recollection in this case was not accurate. The Charles Brothers didn’t dial back their involvement until season six when the super-capable team of Peter Casey, David Lee, and David Angell took over. (Casey, Lee, and Angell went on to create WINGS and FRASIER.) Glen & Les still received outlines and were involved in the direction of the show. They came back and reclaimed the reins the final season. And of course, they wrote the final episode with that wonderful last scene late at night in the bar with everybody reflecting on their lives.
Judith wants to know.
I read today in the H'wood Reporter that Jean Smart was attached to a role in the NBC series, Mr. Robinson, but "opted to move on when the series was shifted from single-to multicam."
I'm not asking you to read Jean Smart's mind, but, just in general, why would a shift from single to multicam be a reason for an actor to exit a show?
Some actors don’t like having to perform every week in front of a live audience. In Ms. Smart’s case, she had done quite a bit of multi-cam and single-cam so I suppose she just prefers single.
But the dirty secret is, multi-cam is a much easier gig for actors. Five day production schedules. For three and sometimes four of those days you’re done by 5:00. Single camera shows often require actors to work punishing twelve or sometimes fifteen-hour days. For my money, there’s no contest. But I’m not an actor (by mutual agreement of the industry).
T Harris asks:
Do you think the mood you are in influence your enjoyment of a film or TV show? Years back I saw The Royal Tenenbaums in the theatre and HATED it. A short while ago, I saw it on TV and enjoyed it. Maybe I was just in a bad mood when I saw it in the theatre. In a similar vein, I hated The Middle when it premiered and didn't watch again until recently. Now I think it's rather well made with decent acting by all.
Your mood is key. Dan O’Shannon talks a lot about that in his book, WHAT ARE YOU LAUGHING AT? Imagine pitching a comedy pilot the day after 9-11. David and I had that unenviable task and we actually sold it. How good do jokes have to be to work that day?
On the other hand...
When we were doing that series for Mary Tyler Moore we were supposed to shoot a show the night the Challenger exploded. We wondered whether we should postpone since the studio audience probably would not be in a mood to laugh. But we reasoned that by the evening they’d probably be so happy for a couple hours escape from the story that filming that night might be welcomed. (Okay, we also were told how much postponing a day would cost.) So we shot the show that night. The audience was dead. It was painful. And we had a funny show. And then it hit me. The show’s primary set was a newspaper bullpen. We had photos of news events that ringed the set. One of them was the Challenger. Ooops.
And finally, from Andrew Parker:
If you were doing BIG WAVE DAVE'S now, would you do it single cam or multi-cam?
What’s your Friday Question? Deliver it in the comments section. You can't depend on Santa.