Tuesday, October 13, 2015

I want my own TV show!

Showrunners used to be invisible. No one knew who Allan Burns & James L. Brooks were when they created and ran THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW. Larry Gelbart was just some name on the MASH credits. Same with the Charles Brothers on CHEERS. Even if they had smart phones back then, no one would be asking to take selfies with Glen Charles.

But with the internet and fandom, writers are beginning to step into the limelight. (If only we were better looking.)

Larry Wilmore went from creating THE BERNIE MAC show to his own show on Comedy Central.

EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND showrunner, Phil Rosenthal is going to have a “world hopping food series” on PBS.

And now Dan Harmon from COMMUNITY is hosting a TV pilot for IFC.

So where is my TV series? I enjoyed my 1.5 minutes of fame hosting movies on TCM, and 2.6 seconds of fame as a commentator for THE SEVENTIES documentary series on CNN -- now I’m ready to hit the big time. I’m ready to branch out into my own series.

I’m waiting by the phone. I’m set to go.

Okay, there is the small issue of just what would the show be about? But that’s details. The main thing is you’d have ME. You’d have my brand. What is my brand? Again – details.

I could host a talk show, a game show, do sketch-variety, travel the world, review things, debate politicians and idiots, give cooking and surfing tips, star in a sitcom, makeover homes, host a kids show, sell Marie Osmond dolls on QVC, host a fitness show, or do whatever it is that Kelly Rippa does.

I’m still waiting by the phone.

All I need is a break. Sure, I could go the traditional route – do a sex tape that goes viral, but in as much as I have integrity (and Lizzy Caplan said no) I choose to take the high road and just shamelessly beg.

Producers and networks can also email me. They don’t have to call.

I’m getting a little worried because who knows how long this window will remain open? In another year maybe non-writing producers will get their own shows. They’ve infringed on our off-camera careers, why not this too? So I need my own show SOON.

And to sweeten the pot, I own several sports jackets and have an anti-glare treatment on my glasses.

I'm a natural!  

Let’s get me on television while there still is television. Thank you.

There must be something wrong with the phone. It’s just not ringing.

43 comments:

Boomska316 said...

How about a show about a tv writer who wants his own show?

MHSweb79 said...

Too bad the show about nothing has already been done. I vote more TCM - I loved the Neil Simon intros!

Mike T. said...

"debate politicians and idiots"

But you repeat yourself.

pumpkinhead said...

You could star in a sitcom about a guy who has the same name as a famed video game desiger, and mistakenly gets hired to develop a video game, having no idea how to do so. Hilarity, as they say, ensues.

Bill Avena said...

Maybe get in touch with all the disgruntled "writers" who showed up here when you were off on vacation, like the DONE DEAL guy. If any of them are out of school, or prison, get them together and organize a guerilla sitcom squad, The B Story Team. "I love it when a show comes together!"

dan o said...

maybe they don't think the guy who has to wait by his phone in 2015 is hip enough.

Jason said...

Maybe try to get Bioshock made into a TV series?

Matt said...

Hi Ken,

Friday Question:

It seems to me several TV shows have such strong premises that I don't see how they can be long running shows. For example Guantanamo. There are 12 recruits, one is a spy. Once you catch the spy what is the series about? How can you delay catching the spy more than one season?

Is this type a problem a concern or does everybody just assume that if it is possible they will figure something out.

Terence Towles Canote said...

I vote for more hosting TCM myself!

Matt said...

That should be "Is this type a problem a concern or does everybody just assume that if it is popular they will figure something out."

I wish there was an edit function.

Joseph Scarbrough said...

Hey, I've noticed that it's the jerkass schmucks from the internet who get all the TV deals - meanwhile here I am, I've been producing content since 2007, and all I get is swept under the rug, along with countless other talented artists, producers, musicians, and others whose light is hidden by bushels like YouTube and other big entities.

Matt said...

Dear Joseph,

I think it is your name. Everybody just assumes you are that douchebag former congressman (even though you spell your name differently).

Mitchell McLean said...

"...debate politicians and idiots..."

You left out the word, "other."

CamrioKid said...

I think you meant QUANTICO?

Hi Ken,

Friday Question:

It seems to me several TV shows have such strong premises that I don't see how they can be long running shows. For example Guantanamo. There are 12 recruits, one is a spy. Once you catch the spy what is the series about? How can you delay catching the spy more than one season?

Is this type a problem a concern or does everybody just assume that if it is possible they will figure something out.

10/13/2015 8:11 AM

Joseph Scarbrough said...

@Matt You know, you may not be far off the mark. That actually happened not too long ago: a friend of mine got excited because it looked like I was actually trending on Facebook, but a second look revealed that it was, indeed, Joe Scarborough who was trending and not me.

But then again, we have two Christopher Lloyd's out there, so go fig.

Peter said...

I got the perfect project. A reboot of Murder, She Wrote but obviously as Murder, He Wrote. Instead of a crime novelist, it's about a wisecracking sarcastic blogger who solves mysteries but actually hates having to do it. "Again with the murders. Oy!" 

ScottyB said...

I've seen the first two installments of Rosenthal's food travel show. It's on PBS. It's genuinely entertaining.

Unknown said...

"1 broke girl and an old rich writer", that just screams emmy.

jcs said...

While you're negotiating a TV deal, would it be possible to have you on an NPR programme as a regular covering TV/movie comedies? I'd really like that.

VP81955 said...

Ken, give Chuck Lorre a call -- you couldn't be any harder for him to work with than Cybill Shepherd or Charlie Sheen.

Mike said...

New York woman sues 12-year-old nephew over hug that broke her wrist. Human resources manager Jennifer Connell claims nephew acted unreasonably when he leapt into her arms to welcome her to his eighth birthday party. She is seeking $127,000 in damages from the boy, whose mother died last year. Of the damage done, Connell testified that she did not complain at the time, but she said her life had been “very difficult” since the injury because of “how crowded it is in Manhattan”. “I was at a party recently, and it was difficult to hold my hors d’oeuvre plate,” she reportedly said.
There's evil and then there's Human Resources.

Anonymous said...

Since your name begins with a K, maybe the Kardashians can do something with you? LOLJanice B.

H Johnson said...

It's all about you Ken, right? How about a show about a guy who READS about a television writers life and then goes to work doing his oh-so-exiting non-Hollywood job. It wouldn't have any chases or murders or say actual plot, but I promise not to take my clothes off.

Aloha

Mark P. said...

When Bill Geist retires, see if you can get his gig on CBS Sunday Morning.

Craig Russell said...

How about a Travel Channel show or something on Fox Sports 8 about your vast knowledge of Minor League ballparks and the towns and characters in them? "Bull Levine"

Charles H. Bryan said...

Who runs the show when the showrunner gets a show? The showrunner's showrunner?

donald said...

Bet that woman in New York is not a republican and you know it. Right Mike? And if she was you would damned sure have mentioned it.

Charles H. Bryan said...

The name of the show is THE PITCH. In it, you, and whoever else you like on a panel, listen to pitches (a la SHARK TANK). The panel gives notes; anyone who's an asshole gets booted out. ("You've been cancelled!") Some episodes can take place in an elevator -- a big freight elevator -- for presentation of rapid fire ideas while the cage is going up (while the panel likes an idea) and then down (for when the inevitable occurs). Every so often, an idea is actually good and gets produced for Amazon's pilot contest (I see Amazon as the home for this).

Sometimes the panel reviews shows that made it to the air (or just the awards shows; you can pre-record those). Sometimes the panel goes on the road (giving you a chance for some travel commentary). Sometimes the panel delivers packages (I see Amazon as the home for this).


Fred Nerk said...

Good on ya 'Donald', keep tilting at those windmills.

Mike said...

... and I'd have gotten away with it too if it wasn't for those meddlin' kids.
And on Meddlin' Kids tonight, Ken Levine rants about how millenials' rejection of jokes and programmes longer than two minutes have destroyed American television.
Ken reminisces: "It was a rite of passage, you know? You had to suffer for your art, pay your dues. In those days, if you wanted respect as a comedy writer you had to endure ninety minutes of whining, self-pitying dirge about living in New York, hotels, sharing apartments, whatever... Sure, there were jokes - they weren't funny, but there were jokes. The guy meant well, you know? ... You'd hear laughing from the audience next door watching some Limey film and you' be tempted to sneak out, but you stuck it out. Those were our guys up there, dying for us, twice nightly, three times on Sundays... Yeah, I'm proud the tradition's being continued by Woody Allen. I'm sorry, I've gotta use the Mens' Room."
And now Matlock.

Mike said...

@donald: In the words of Will Rogers: "All I know is what I read in the papers". The article amused me is all.

MikeK.Pa. said...

"So where is my TV series? I enjoyed my 1.5 minutes of fame hosting movies on TCM, and 2.6 seconds of fame as a commentator for THE SEVENTIES documentary series on CNN."

Since you've done two channels in the Turner rotation, you might want to consider TBS or TNT.

Andrew said...

Hi Ken,

Have you had a chance to catch last week's Undateable premiere on DVR? If so, a couple questions: 1. What are your thoughts on it being one hour long, with the writing team deciding to do one continuous episode instead of two half-hour episodes? 2. Is it really worth the (possible) small Nielsen bump to record both an East Coast and a West Coast version?

Rashad Khan said...

But seriously, Ken. Given your knowledge of sports as well as your background in radio and comedy, I could see you doing a four-nights-a-week cable show that would skewer sports, perhaps, the same way "The Daily Show" skewers politics. Working title: "That Sports Show With Ken Levine."

Cap'n Bob said...

You'll never work in that town if you misspell Ripa.

Marco said...

Of course ist should be the "BARBIE AND KEN HOUR" - strange variety show in a plastic world introducing the worst new movies and songs :-)

Samuel said...

Ken Levine: Big League Announcer Murder Mysteries

Jason said...

Irrelevant to the article, but Mike:

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/oct/13/woman-nephew-broken-wrist-hug-lawsuit-no-damages

Sam said...

Frankly, I bet if you launched a Kickstarter for $50-100k to shoot a pilot you'd probably be pretty successful. A lot of these people - Dan Harmon especially - have large social media and online followings which are more persuasive to smaller cable networks that have no marketing budget and thus rely upon talent to promote their show. Shoot a Kickstarter video with a celeb or two, maybe another couple TV writers, and you could have a show like Jim Rash (not a show runner, but an Oscar-winning screenwriter, so he kind of counts, right?)

craig m said...

If you get an email from a network exec with the subject heading "Pink Lady and Ken," don't answer it.

Ron Rettig said...

Ken, Devise a Minor League Baseball reality show and host it.

Glenn E said...

A belated entry in the name Ken’s show contest: GET OFF MY LAWN with Ken Levine. Ken takes his lawn chair and GoPro camera around to local homes to film critiques of their entertainment offerings until they shout at Ken to get off the lawn. First episode: Ken is live from Mindy Kaling’s Hollywood Hills lawn. Episode length dependent on police response time and continued existence of lawns in California.

MikeN said...

Glenn you nailed it. This would be awesome.

Ben Affleck had a skit on SNL where he was on the set of Gigli being criticized by a member of the crew. "On screen romances of real life couples never work" "If people wanted to see you with a lesbian they could watch Chasing Amy".