Joseph Scarbrough has a question about anthologies.
If networks aren't willing to do anthology series because it cost too much to have new sets and new actors come in all the time... then, how is that any different from having new sets and actors on a regular weekly series? Like say if the main characters find themselves in a new diner, or at a hotel, or at a distant relative's house, and then all the guest actors? Isn't that kind of the same?
People generally tune into shows because they are familiar with and enjoy the characters. They like the continuity. Anthologies introduce new main characters each week. So it's essentially a pilot a week. And although there are swing sets (sets used only once) there are also primary sets that are used every week. These offset the cost of the new ones.
Plus, studios all have warehouses of sets. So a café you see on CSI can be dressed up differently and used on BONES. They don't have to build them all from scratch.
Mitchell Hundred asks:
As a writer/showrunner, how can you tell when a show has run its course?
When someone in the room suggests the talent show episode and you don’t automatically fire him.
Seriously though, for me, it's when the characters cease to surprise me. When there’s nothing any of them could say or do that I couldn’t predict in my sleep, then it’s time to go.
Well, actually, that’s when you negotiate a huge raise from the network and end the series a year later.
Freebie and The Bean (which was a fun movie from the ‘70s) wonders:
Do you think "marathon" showings of reruns help promote a show's popularity and ultimately its longevity?
Absolutely. A great example is WINGS. It was doing okay on NBC but when the USA network picked it up and aired it nineteen hours a day the ratings on NBC went way up. Same is true with LAW & ORDER and now NCIS.
And finally, from Chris:
Some shows (Seinfeld, Married...with Children, Night Court) ended every episode with the audience clapping whether there was a punchline there or not? How do you feel about doing that? It kind of makes it feel more like a live play.
I hate it because it’s very self-congratulatory. If something happens in the body of a show that results in a spontaneous round of applause then fine. But I hate applause at the end of a show and I hate applause when characters first enter. On my shows I always have the warm-up guy introduce the cast to the studio audience before the show. And I also have him introduce any notable guest stars unless their entrance is a big intended surprise. I furthermore dislike when characters comment on each other’s lines. “That’s hilarious!” “What a brilliant solution!”, etc. Ugh! It's a pet peeve but I hate when shows toot their own horn.
What's your Friday Question?