Writing TV is Far More Dangerous Than You Might Have Thought



David Letterman’s Cue-Card Guy Fired After Argument, Assault
by David Bloom

Tony Mendez, long an on-air fixture handling the cue cards for David Lettermanon The Late Showtook the wrong cue this week, assaulting staff writer Bill Scheft, a 15-time Emmy nominee, and getting himself fired, the New York Post reported.

Mendez, 69, who had been with Letterman for 21 years, got into a verbal altercation with Scheft and Letterman over changes in cue cards, went home overnight and stewed about perceived slights from Scheft over a long period. When Mendez came back the next day, he grabbed Scheft by his shirt and pushed him against a wall, the Post reported.

Read it all

What do you think, TVWriter™ers? Was Mendez fired for assaulting Bill Scheft? Or could maybe – just maybe – yelling at David Letterman His Big Boss Self have had something to do with it?

Either way, it’s a tough world out there on the set, gang. Be vigilant!

Love & Money Dept – TV Writing Deals for 10/19/14


Latest News About Writers Who Are Doing Better Than We Are
by munchman

  • Justin Halpern & Patrick Schumacker (SURVIVING JACK) are adapting astronaut Chris Hadfield‘s memoir, An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth, into a comedy for ABC. (Cuz, hey, they did great with their last astronaut comedy, didn’t they? You know…a little thing called I DREAM OF JEANNIE. No, Jeannie wasn’t the astronaut, dammit. That was Tony, her, you know, “master.” And, no, yer friendly neighborhood munchboy isn’t going into it any further cuz that’d be like marooning myself so I was Lost In Space….)
  • Wilson Bethel (HART OF DIXIE) has a deal to write an as-yet-unknown drama pilot at The CW. (Nope, not cuz he’s done such a great job of writing on HART cuz he hasn’t. He stars in that show…but, hey, this Hollywood, remember?)
  • Frank Spotnitz (TRANSPORTER) is developing RANSOM, a series about a hostage negotiator set for international exploitation presentation.  (Ooh, a series where week after week the hero talks to crazy and dangerous people and somehow he and the hostages all manage to survive. Oh, well, seeing the titles will probably be great for insomnia. Wonder if the FDA will approve it.)
  • Mark Cherry (DEVIOUS MAIDS) and Neal Baer (UNDER THE DOME) have partnered to create a series for The CW called CHEERLEADER DEATH SQUAD. (Honest. I swear to whatever god it is who cares that we swear. That’s the name. And no, I don’t have any more info than that although it may be available elsewhere cuz the name was enough for me to expectorate a little and call my mommy to ask if it’s okay if I move back into her womb. Sorry death squad and cheerleader fans.)

That’s it for now. Write in and tell munchilito what you’ve sold today. TVWriter™ can’t wait to brag to all your friends. (And, more importantly, enemies. Hehehe….)

Peer Production: LILAC

hank isaac lookin' cool

TVWriter™’s great and good friend, film maker extraordinaire Hank Isaac, has a new web series coming out very soon. This is Hank’s first web series and – well, once you see this trailer we think you agree that it looks every bit as extraordinary that its pedigree has led us to expect:

Put a smile on your face and take a bow, Hank. And get that first episode uploaded ASAP, dammit. We can’t wait to see!

Love & Money Dept – TV Writing Deals for 10/18/14


Latest News About Writers Who Are Doing Better Than We Are
by munchman

  • Robin Thede (THE QUEEN LATIFAH SHOW) has been named head writer of THE MINORITY REPORT WITH LARRY WILMORE, which is succeeding THE COLBERT REPORT now that Stephen Colbert is moving to David Letterman’s desk. (Which means that right now Robin’s gonna be one of the most popular women in L.A. And for all the wrong reasons cuz she’s really a wonderful human as well as a top, archly funny writer. Congrats, Robin!)
  • Paul Weitz (IN GOOD COMPANY) & Josh Brycel & Jon Fener (HAPPY ENDINGS) are co-writing a CBS comedy adaptation of Weitz’s feature film, IN GOOD COMPANY. (To which yer munchmallow has to ask the question: How come you’re making a film I never heard of into a TV series. Isn’t the big-to-small-screen transition based on the big screen version being, you know, a hit?)
  • DJ Nash (GROWING UP FISHER) is writing the pilot for #PEOPLEARETALKING, an NBC comedy about God knows what. (Cuz it’s time for NBC to join the hashtag sweepstakes apparently, even though the fact that they’re using it shows that the execs are clueless about what # now means. Being that out of it means what? That they’re over 16? Shitcan the lot of those old farts, NBC. Now!)
  • Joseph Mallozzi & Paul Mullie (STARGATE) are turning the DARK MATTER graphic novels into a series for Syfy. (Which muncherboy here thinks is a wonderful development on account of the fact that Syfy’s not exactly been known for, um, sci-fi recently. Makes ya kinda wonder though – how many sharknadoes will be guest starring?)

That’s it for now. Write in and tell munchilito what you’ve sold today. TVWriter™ can’t wait to brag to all your friends. (And, more importantly, enemies. Hehehe….)

TVWriter™ Top Posts for the Week Ending 10/17/14


Here they are, the most viewed TVWriter™ posts during the past week:

Peggy Bechko: Thrill Obsessed

Cartoon: Why the TV Networks Live in Terror

Looking for TV Pilot Scripts?

Herbie J Pilato: Thank you, “The Flash!” It looks like the dark and dingy days of TV may be over!

Are You Ready for CARGO 3120?

And our most viewed resource pages were:

Writing the Dreaded Outline




Basic Online TV and Film Writing Workshop

Big thanks to everyone for making this such a great week, and don’t forget to read what you missed, re-read what you loved, and, most importantly, come back for more soon!

Are You Ready for CARGO 3120?


One of the really cool things about becoming a content creator is that you can never be absolutely certain how your content is going to turn out. A great idea is nothing if it remains, simply, a great idea. It’s got to go someplace where it can be seen or heard or read or experienced one way or another by its audience, and the journey from brainchild to final “product” often takes many highly unexpected twists and turns.

The basic premise is clear enough:

Cargo 3120 is a Science Fiction action/drama set in the year 3120. The fate of an entire galaxy hangs in the balance from a menacing threat that lurks in the dark recesses of the Andromeda Galaxy. But when failure could bring about extinction level consequences on a galactic scale, coming up short is simply not an option.

There’s just one problem… The hope of a galaxy rests in the hands of unstable mercenaries and former criminals that are just one bad decision away from getting themselves and those around them killed. Now, their leader Marcus La’Dek must find a way to bring this team together to thwart the plans of the fast approaching harbingers of death.

~(from Cargo 3120.Com)

But wait, there’s more to the story.

Originally intended as a network or cable TV series, CARGO 3120 began its life under the title CARGO (without the year in which it was later determined to be set) as a Finalist in the 2012 People’s Pilot, written by Aaron Walker. Aaron entered another version of the pilot in the 2013 contest, along with a second potential pilot episode for the show written by Aaron Walker and Daymond C. Roman.

The odds against getting a spec original TV series on the air being what they are, Aaron and Daymond then decided to go a more individual – and affordable – route and make it into an animated web series. Today, in October of 2014, they’re still aiming in that direction but now are hard at work masterminding a web comic strip version to begin with. We at TVWriter™ are huge fans of the idea and its creators, so, starting today, we’ll be bringing you weekly progress reports by Aaron and Daymond as they do that thing creators do (well, actually it’s called struggling) to get the strip and the web series and the TV series going.

Starting with:

Cargo 3120: The Making of a SciFy Franchise – Entry 1
The Genesis of a Dream
by Daymon C. Roman

Okay, so how did Cargo 3120 come about? Well, that’s a story that begins in the summer of 1996 when Aaron and I met. We were both attending a California State Bridge program. It was designed to help kids like us (kids that just missed the cut) to get into college.

Aaron and I hit it off really well. We both loved all kinds of movies, especially scify, which was pretty rare at that time, black guys that like scify and admitting to it, especially with all the “cooler” things out at the time: Menace II Society, Set It Off, and Friday. And of course, we loved those movies too, but scify was our thing. Not only did we love the genre, but we also aspired to write and produce our own material one-day.

For hours, we’d throw around ideas and brainstorm exciting stories, write them down, and attempt to create screenplays out of those cluster sessions. The story for Cargo was already starting to take form. Only, we had no idea in how to write a screenplay or who to even show our works to. Remember, it was 1996, if you had access to the internet you were being charged by the minute for that dial up service. So, surfing the net for answers was not an option, and the library -forget it.

Looking back, I don’t think either of us were mature enough to develop a structured story, but our ambitions were strong enough to keep us going.

Next Week: From Ambition to Film School… to the U.S. Army?