‘Doctor Who’ Exit Interview with showrunner Steven Moffat

The Moff speaks…and Doctor Who fans should welcome his words. (Notice that the previous sentence contains no value judgments. None. Zip.)

by Graham Kibble-White

It’s the end of an era. On Christmas Day, Peter Capaldi’s Doctor will regenerate into the character’s 13th incarnation, to be played by Jodie Whitaker. But he’s not the only person leaving the show. The story also marks the departure of showrunner Steven Moffat, who’s been in the role since 2009. TV Choice caught up with him to look ahead to the upcoming special, Twice Upon A Time, in which the Twelfth Doctor meets the First, and to look back at his time steering the Tardis…

David Bradley steps into the role of the First Doctor (originally played by William Hartnell) in the Christmas special, and there doesn’t seem to have been any resistance from the fans to that. Has this pleased you? 
I don’t know what I expected. I didn’t really think about it. I thought people would just be quite excited. There’s a huge section of the audience – and when I say huge, I mean as close to 100 per cent as makes no practical difference – who will be unaware it wasn’t David Bradley in 1963. He looks sufficiently like him that we actually start with footage from the old show and blend it in with Bradley. It helps massively that he played the part in An Adventure In Space And Time [2013’s drama about the creation of Doctor Who]. I think that sort of sanctifies him in a strange way. I don’t know why that should be the case, but it’s true, you feel, ‘Yes, he’s allowed to be the First Doctor’. Also, he pays tremendous respect to William Hartnell. He’s not impersonating him, but like Chris Pine does with William Shatner in the Star Trek films, he’s riffing on it. He’s respecting it.

Did the fact that the Star Trek films had already done something similar help? 
I’m actually vaguely obsessed with this. Why does it sometimes work, and why does it not? One of the most fascinatingly effective recasts was when they replaced Dr Watson in the Granada series of Sherlock Holmes – David Burke into Edward Hardwicke. They’re manifestly different people, but when Hardwicke came along, he recreated enough of David Burke that I accepted it was the same person almost instantly. And I don’t normally. I’m quite twitchy about recasts. In fact, I’m not a fan of them. I always think, ‘Well, why doesn’t everybody notice this person has changed?’ I was very resistant to the idea of a new crew of the Enterprise, I have to say. But throughout that film – throughout all those films, in fact – they so cleverly riff on the original performances you somehow go with it as the same people. And they get away with showing you photographs of the other cast within the film! So, they’re obviously doing it well.

Would you stop short at recasting other former Doctors? Do you think it only works with the first?
I don’t think there’s anything special about the First Doctor in that sense. Except maybe the wig helps. It was more of a calculated look, in a curious way. It’s one of the most distinctive looks the Doctor’s ever had. If you had somebody who could do a brilliant Patrick Troughton [the Second Doctor], who was really spot on and captured the essence of that performance, I think, yes, you would accept it in the same sort of way. It’s tough – it really has to be spot on. But I bet it happens someday.

There’s a school of thought that this story has been conceived as a particular treat for the hard core fans because, from next year, the show will be trying appeal to a broader audience. Is this a last hurrah for a certain style of Doctor Who?
Not really. Because we shed everything for series 10 [the most recent] as well. We just started again there [with no ongoing storylines, and a new companion]. But Doctor Who is allowed to be self-referential. Where you have to walk carefully is, you have to use Doctor Who as the generally accepted mythology that everyone in Britain has imbibed since they were born, rather than the meticulous detail that we fans live in. What I mean by that is, it’s okay for Daniel Craig to mysteriously have Sean Connery’s old car in the Bond movies, for reasons that cannot withstand any analysis at all, because we all know about that car. It’s the same with Doctor Who. I mean, ‘real’ human beings don’t know all the actors who played the Doctor, and can’t rank them in order, or anything like. But they absolutely know – they absolutely know – that Jodie [Whittaker] is the 13th. So, it’s fine to bring an old Doctor on. Of course, you have to clarify who it is you’re meeting, and I spent a lot of time trying to make that clear in The Doctor Falls [the final episode of last series]. If you look at it from the point of view of a kid who doesn’t really know the old show, they will still think, ‘Oh my goodness, this is incredibly exciting – that’s the very first Doctor Who! The very first one came back!’ That kid already knows that Peter’s the 12th, that Jodie’s the 13th, so he knows there’s a number one. Works perfectly for a brand-new viewer.

Are Doctor Who fans conservative about the show being reinvented? 
I don’t know how conservative Doctor Who fans think. I honestly don’t. Why did you choose this show? Why did you choose the show that depends, thrives and exults in change? Why this one? It’s just bonkers. I think they’re the bonkers, loud people on the internet. Most people go, ‘Wow!’ when you do something radical. When you say, ‘Ah ha! John Hurt was the Doctor as well!’ [as revealed in 2013] Folk bloody loved that. That’s what I think the audience wants Doctor Who to do from time to time. It’s just to say, ‘Do you know what? We’re doing this now. To hell with it.’

Read it all at TVChoiceMagazine

2018 Writers Guild Awards Nominees

 

From the WGA

TVWriter™ congratulates everyone listed below. (And asks the not-so-musical question, “Why no nominees for Original Web Series? Huh? Huh?”)

TELEVISION NOMINEES

DRAMA SERIES

The Americans, Written by Peter Ackerman, Tanya Barfield, Joshua Brand, Joel Fields, Stephen Schiff, Joe Weisberg, Tracey Scott Wilson; FX

Better Call Saul, Written by Ann Cherkis, Vince Gilligan, Jonathan Glatzer, Peter Gould, Gennifer Hutchison, Heather Marion, Thomas Schnauz, Gordon Smith; AMC

Game of Thrones, Written by David Benioff, Bryan Cogman, Dave Hill, D.B. Weiss; HBO

The Handmaid’s Tale, Written by Ilene Chaiken, Nina Fiore, Dorothy Fortenberry, Leila Gerstein, John Herrera, Lynn Maxcy, Bruce Miller, Kira Snyder, Wendy Straker Hauser, Eric Tuchman; Hulu

Stranger Things, Written by Paul Dichter, Justin Doble, The Duffer Brothers, Jessica Mecklenburg, Jessie Nickson-Lopez, Alison Tatlock; Netflix

COMEDY SERIES

Curb Your Enthusiasm, Written by Larry David, Jon Hayman, Justin Hurwitz, Jeff Schaffer; HBO

GLOW, Written by Kristoffer Diaz, Liz Flahive, Tara Herrmann, Nick Jones, Jenji Kohan, Carly Mensch, Emma Rathbone, Sascha Rothchild, Rachel Shukert; Netflix

Master of None, Written by Aziz Ansari, Andrew Blitz, Zoe Jarman, Cord Jefferson, Sarah Peters, Sarah Schneider, Michael Schur, Leila Strachan, Gene Stupnitsky, Lakshmi Sundaram, Lena Waithe, Jason Woliner, Alan Yang; Netflix

Silicon Valley, Written by Alec Berg, Donick Cary, Adam Countee, Jonathan Dotan, Mike Judge, Carrie Kemper, John Levenstein, Dan Lyons, Carson Mell, Dan O’Keefe, Clay Tarver; Aaron Zelman; HBO

Veep, Written by Rachel Axler, Sean Gray, Alex Gregory, Peter Huyck, Erik Kenward, Billy Kimball, Steve Koren, Dave Mandel, Jim Margolis, Lew Morton, Georgia Pritchett, Will Smith, Alexis Wilkinson; HBO

NEW SERIES

American Vandal, Written by Seth Cohen, Lauren Herstik, Dan Lagana, Kevin McManus, Matthew McManus, Jessica Meyer, Dan Perrault, Amy Pocha, Mike Rosolio, Tony Yacenda; Netflix

The Deuce, Written by Megan Abbott, Marc Henry Johnson, Lisa Lutz, George Pelecanos, Richard Price, Will Ralston, David Simon, Chris Yakaitis; HBO

GLOW, Written by Kristoffer Diaz, Liz Flahive, Tara Herrmann, Nick Jones, Jenji Kohan, Carly Mensch, Emma Rathbone, Sascha Rothchild, Rachel Shukert; Netflix

The Handmaid’s Tale, Written by Ilene Chaiken, Nina Fiore, Dorothy Fortenberry, Leila Gerstein, John Herrera, Lynn Maxcy, Bruce Miller, Kira Snyder, Wendy Straker Hauser, Eric Tuchman; Hulu

Ozark, Written by Whit Anderson, Bill Dubuque, Ryan Farley, Alyson Feltes, Paul Kolsby, David Manson, Chris Mundy, Mark Williams, Ning Zhou, Martin Zimmerman; Netflix

LONG FORM ORIGINAL

American Horror Story: Cult, Written by Brad Falchuk, John J. Gray, Joshua Green, Todd Kubrak, Crystal Liu, Tim Minear, Ryan Murphy, Adam Penn, James Wong; FX

Feud: Bette and Joan, Written by Jaffe Cohen, Tim Minear, Ryan Murphy, Gina Welch, Michael Zam; FX

Flint, Written by Barbara Stepansky; Lifetime

Godless, Written by Scott Frank; Netflix

Manhunt: Unabomber, Written by Jim Clemente, Tony Gittelson, Max Hurwitz, Steven Katz, Nick Schenk, Andrew Sodroski, Nick Towne; Discovery Channel

LONG FORM ADAPTED

Big Little Lies, Teleplay by David E. Kelley, Based on the Novel by Liane Moriarty; HBO

Fargo, Written by Monica Beletsky, Bob DeLauren, Noah Hawley, Ben Nedivi, Matt Wolpert, Based on the film Fargo; FX

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Teleplay by Peter Landesman and Alexander Woo and George C. Wolfe, Based on the book written by Rebecca Skloot; HBO

The Wizard of Lies, Teleplay by Sam Levinson and John Burnham Schwartz and Samuel Baum, Based on the Book Written by Diane B. Henriques and Truth and Consequences by Laurie Sandell; HBO

SHORT FORM NEW MEDIA ORIGINAL

No nominations

SHORT FORM NEW MEDIA ADAPTED

“John Hancock” (Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Slingshot), Written by James C. Oliver & Sharla Oliver; abc.go.com

“Chapter 2” (The Walking Dead: Red Machete), Written by Nick Bernardone; amc.com

“Justicia” (Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Slingshot), Written by Mark Leitner; abc.go.com

“Starboy” (Zac & Mia), Teleplay by Allen Clary and Andrew Rothschild, Based on the novel Zac & Mia by A.J. Betts; go90.com

ANIMATION

“Brunchsquatch” (Bob’s Burgers), Written by Lizzie Molyneux & Wendy Molyneux; Fox

“A Father’s Watch” (The Simpsons), Written by Simon Rich; Fox

“Ruthie” (BoJack Horseman), Written by Joanna Calo; Netflix

“The Serfsons” (The Simpsons), Written by Brian Kelley; Fox

“Time’s Arrow” (BoJack Horseman), Written by Kate Purdy; Netflix

EPISODIC DRAMA

“The Book of Nora” (The Leftovers), Teleplay by Tom Perrotta & Damon Lindelof, Story by Tom Spezialy & Damon Lindelof; HBO

“Chicanery” (Better Call Saul), Written by Gordon Smith; AMC

“The Heart Attack is the Best Way” (Good Behavior), Written by Chad Hodge; TNT

“Homecoming” (The OA), Written by Brit Marling & Zal Batmanglij; Netflix

“Slip” (Better Call Saul), Written by Heather Marion; AMC

“The Soviet Decision” (The Americans), Written by Joe Weisberg & Joel Fields; FX

EPISODIC COMEDY

“The Burglary” (Grace and Frankie), Written by Brendan McCarthy & David Budin; Netflix

“Intervention” (The Carmichael Show), Written by Willie Hunter; NBC

“Judge” (Veep), Written by Ted Cohen; HBO

“Rosario’s Quinceanera” (Will & Grace), Written by Tracy Poust & Jon Kinnally; NBC

“The Verdict” (Trial & Error), Written by Jeff Astrof; NBC

COMEDY/VARIETY TALK SERIES

Conan, Head Writer: Matt O’Brien, Writers: Jose Arroyo, Daniel Cronin, Andres du Bouchet, Jessie Gaskell, Michael Gordon, Brian Kiley, Laurie Kilmartin, Leah Krinsky, Stephen Kutner, Todd Levin, Levi MacDougall, Conan O’Brien, Paul Richter, Frank Smiley, Mike Sweeney; TBS

Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, Writers: Samantha Bee, Ashley Nicole Black, Pat Cassels, Eric Drysdale, Mathan Erhardt, Travon Free, Joe Grossman, Jo Miller, Jason Reich, Melinda Taub; TBS

Jimmy Kimmel Live, Writers: Jimmy Kimmel, Tony Barbieri, Jonathan Bines, Joelle Boucai, Gonzalo Cordova, Devin Field, Gary Greenberg, Josh Halloway, Sal Iacono, Eric Immerman, Jesse Joyce, Bess Kalb, Jeff Loveness, Molly McNearney, CeCe Pleasants, Danny Ricker, Joe Strazzullo; ABC

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Writers: Tim Carvell, Josh Gondelman, Dan Gurewitch, Geoff Haggerty, Jeff Maurer, John Oliver, Scott Sherman, Will Tracy, Jill Twiss, Juli Weiner, Ben Silva, Seena Vali; HBO

Late Night with Seth Meyers, Writers: Jermaine Affonso, Alex Baze, Bryan Donaldson, Sal Gentile, Matt Goldich, Dina Gusovsky, Jenny Hagel, Allison Hord, Mike Karnell, John Lutz, Seth Meyers, Ian Morgan, Seth Reiss, Amber Ruffin, Mike Scollins, Mike Shoemaker, Ben Warheit; NBC Universal

Real Time with Bill Maher, Writers: Scott Carter, Adam Felber, Matt Gunn, Brian Jacobsmeyer, Jay Jaroch, Chris Kelly, Bill Maher, Billy Martin, Bob Oschack, Danny Vermont; HBO

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, Writers: Dan Amira, David Angelo, Steve Bodow, Kashana Cauley, Devin Delliquanti, Zach DiLanzo, Hallie Haglund, David Kibuuka, Matt Koff, Adam Lowitt, Dan McCoy, Trevor Noah, Joseph Opio, Zhubin Parang, Owen Parsons, Daniel Radosh, Lauren Sarver-Means, Michelle Wolf; Comedy Central

The Jim Jefferies Show, Head Writer: Jason Reich, Writers: Jim Jefferies, Subhah Agarwal, Kevin Avery, Curtis Cook, Lucas Kavner, Matt Kirshen, Bryan Olsen, Laura Willcox, JJ Whitehead, Scott Y. Zabielski; Comedy Central

COMEDY/VARIETY SKETCH SERIES

Nathan For You, Writers: Leo Allen, Nathan Fielder, Carrie Kemper, Michael Koman, Adam Locke-Norton, Eric Notarnicola; Comedy Central

Portlandia, Writers: Fred Armisen, Carrie Brownstein, Karen Kilgariff, Jonathan Krisel, Graham Wagner; IFC

Saturday Night Live, Head Writers: Chris Kelly, Sarah Schneider, Bryan Tucker, Writers: James Anderson, Kristen Bartlett, Jeremy Beiler, Neal Brennan, Zack Bornstein, Joanna Bradley, Megan Callahan, Michael Che, Anna Drezen, Fran Gillespie, Sudi Green, Steve Higgins, Colin Jost, Erik Kenward, Rob Klein, Nick Kocher, Michael Koman, Dave McCary, Brian McElhaney, Dennis McNicholas, Drew Michael, Lorne Michaels, Josh Patten, Katie Rich, Pete Schultz, Streeter Seidell, Will Stephen, Kent Sublette, Julio Torres; NBC Universal

The President Show, Writers: Emily Altman, Anthony Atamanuik, Emmy Blotnick, Neil Casey, Mike Drucker, Noah Garfinkel, John Gemberling, Peter Grosz, Mitra Jouhari, John Knefel, Alison Leiby, Christine Nangle, John Reynolds, Jason Ross, Rae Sanni, Evan Waite; Comedy Central

Weekend Update Summer Edition, Writers: Megan Callahan, Michael Che, Mikey Day, Steve Higgins, Colin Jost, Dennis McNicholas, Josh Patten, Katie Rich, Pete Schultz, Streeter Seidell, Kent Sublette, Brian Tucker; NBC Universal

COMEDY/VARIETY SPECIALS

39th Annual Kennedy Center Honors, Written by Dave Boone; CBS

89th Annual Academy Awards, Written by Billy Kimball, Jon Macks; Special Material Written by Jack Allison, Tony Barbieri, Jonathan Bines, Joelle Boucai, Gonzalo Cordova, Gary Greenberg, Josh Halloway, Sal Iacono, Eric Immerman, Bess Kalb, Jimmy Kimmel, Jeff Loveness, Molly McNearney, Danny Ricker, Joe Strazzullo; ABC

AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to Diane Keaton, Written by Bob Gazzale, Jon Macks; TNT

Michael Bolton’s Big, Sexy, Valentine’s Day Special, Written by Scott Aukerman, Dave Ferguson, Mike Hanford, Tim Kalpakis, Joe Saunders, Akiva Schaffer; Additional Material Written by Zach Kanin, Claudia O’Doherty, Tim Robinson; Netflix

Nathan For You: A Celebration, Written by Leo Allen, Nathan Fielder, Carrie Kemper, Michael Koman, Adam Locke-Norton, Eric Notarnicola; Comedy Central

QUIZ AND AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

Hollywood Game Night, Head Writer: Grant Taylor; Writers: Michael Agbabian, Alex Chauvin, Ann Slichter, Dwight D. Smith; NBC

Jeopardy!, Written by Matthew Caruso, John Duarte, Harry Friedman, Mark Gaberman, Deborah Griffin, Michele Loud, Robert McClenaghan, Jim Rhine, Steve D. Tamerius, Billy Wisse; ABC

DAYTIME DRAMA

General Hospital, Head Writers: Shelly Altman, Jean Passanante; Writers: Anna Theresa Cascio, Suzanne Flynn, Charlotte Gibson, Lucky Gold, Kate Hall, Elizabeth Korte, Daniel James O’Connor, Dave Rupel, Katherine Schock, Scott Sickles, Christopher Van Etten, Christopher Whitesell; ABC

Days of Our Lives, Writers: Ron Carlivati, Sheri Anderson, Lorraine Broderick, David Cherrill, Lisa Connor, Carolyn Culliton, Richard Culliton, Rick Draughon, Cydney Kelley, David Kreizman, David A. Levinson, Rebecca McCarty, Ryan Quan, Dave Ryan, Elizabeth Snyder, Tyler Topits; NBC

CHILDREN’S EPISODIC AND SPECIALS

“American Girl – Ivy & Julie” (American Girl), Written by May Chan; Amazon

“American Girl – Knowledge is Power” (American Girl), Teleplay by Alison McDonald, Story by Alison McDonald and Caron Tschampion; Amazon

“Just Add 1965” (Just Add Magic), Written by Lauren Thompson; Amazon

“Meet Julia” (Sesame Street), Written by Christine Ferraro; HBO

“The Magical Wand Chase: A Sesame Street Special,” Written by Raye Lankford, Jessica Carleton, Ken Scarborough; HBO

CHILDREN’S LONG FORM

No nominations

DOCUMENTARY SCRIPT – CURRENT EVENTS

“Confronting ISIS” (Frontline), Written by Martin Smith; PBS

“Poverty, Politics and Profit” (Frontline), Written by Rick Young; PBS

“Unseen Enemy,” Written by Janet Tobias; CNN

DOCUMENTARY SCRIPT – OTHER THAN CURRENT EVENTS

“Divided States of America” Part One (Frontline), Written by Michael Kirk & Mike Wiser; PBS

“Rachel Carson” (American Experience), Written and Directed by Michelle Ferrari; PBS

“The Great War” Part II (American Experience), Written by Stephen Ives; PBS

“The Great War” Part III (American Experience), Written by Rob Rapley; PBS

“The Vietnam War,” Episode Six: “Things Fall Apart,” Written by Geoffrey C. Ward; PBS

NEWS SCRIPT – REGULARLY SCHEDULED, BULLETIN, OR BREAKING REPORT

“Obama Wiretap Allegations” (World News Tonight with David Muir), Mark Berman, Barbara Rick, Tom Llamas; ABC News

“September 29, 2017” (World News Now), Written by Matt Nelko, Jack Sheahan, Debbie Humes, Carla Brittain, Constance Johnson, Lloyd deVries, Craig Morancie; ABC News

“White Helmets” (60 Minutes), Written by Scott Pelley, Nicole Young, Katie Kerbstat; CBS News

NEWS SCRIPT – ANALYSIS, FEATURE, OR COMMENTARY

“Chief of Chobani” (60 Minutes), Written by Steve Kroft, Oriana Zill de Granados; CBS News

“Fighting Famine” (60 Minutes), Written by Scott Pelley, Nicole Young; CBS News

DIGITAL NEWS

“At the Capitol With Those for Whom Last Night Mattered the Most,” Written by Emma Roller; SplinterNews.com

“Becoming Ugly,” Written by Madeleine Davies; Jezebel.com

“The Super Predators,” Written by Melissa Jeltsen, Dana Liebelson; Huffingtonpost.com

“Why Did Politicon Make Me Want To Die?,” Written by Libby Watson; SplinterNews.com

RADIO/AUDIO NOMINEES

RADIO/AUDIO DOCUMENTARY

“2016 Year in Review,” Written by Gail Lee; CBS News Radio

“Castro, Cuba & Communism,” Written by Thomas A. Sabella; CBS News Radio

“CBS Radio 90th Anniversary,” Written by Dianne E. James, Gail Lee; CBS News Radio

“Remembering Princess Diana 20 Years Later,” Written by Andrew Evans; ABC News Radio

RADIO/AUDIO NEWS SCRIPT – REGULARLY SCHEDULED, BULLETIN, OR BREAKING REPORT

“Hugh Hefner: A Social Revolutionary in Silk Pajamas,” Written by Gail Lee; CBS News Radio

“World News This Week November 18, 2016,” Written by Joan B. Harris; ABC News Radio

“World News This Week: June 9, 2017,” Written by Tara Gimbel Tanis; ABC News Radio

RADIO/AUDIO NEWS SCRIPT – ANALYSIS, FEATURE, OR COMMENTARY

“Chuck Berry,” Written by Jerry Edling; CBS News Radio/KNX

“Dishin’ Digital on WCBS-AM,” Written by Robert Hawley; WCBS

“Holiday Stories,” Written by Gail Lee; CBS News Radio

“One Nation, Overdosed: An Investigative Report,” Written by Tara Gimbel Tanis; ABC News Radio

PROMOTIONAL WRITING NOMINEES

ON-AIR PROMOTION (RADIO OR TELEVISION)

“CBS Comedy,” Written by Dan Greenberger; CBS Television

“The Good Fight,” Written by Brian Retchless; CBS On-Air Promotions

TELEVISION GRAPHIC ART AND ANIMATION

No nominations

You’ll Never Guess Who the Highest Grossing Actor in the World is!

Don’t ever let anybody put writers down!

Found at Cracked.Com. If this doesn’t convince you to check out the site, nothing will.

YouTube Exterminates ‘Toy Freaks’

Remember last week when we carried an article about “kid videos’ on YouTube that were totally unsuitable for kids? Looks like YouTube got the message. Looks like we don’t just have to sit back and take it anymore: (Knock on wood!)

YouTube terminates exploitive ‘kids’ channel ToyFreaks, says it’s tightening its child endangerment policies
by Sarah Perez

Following consumer outrage over YouTube’s handling of disturbing videos aimed at children on its network, the company has now banned one of the more controversial kid channels it hosted, Toy Freaks. The channel, the 68th largest on YouTube with over 8.5 million subscribers, was often criticized for its vile and seemingly exploitive videos featuring a dad and his daughters, which many said bordered on abuse.

YouTube tells TechCrunch the ban is part of a new tightening around the enforcement of its child endangerment policies. It says it will now remove videos to protect “viewers, uploaders and children” when the company receives signals that cause concern.

The removal is part of a broader review of similar content on YouTube, the company also said.

If you’re not familiar with ToyFreaks, consider yourself lucky.

Past videos on the channel included the dad filming the girls in obvious distress, screaming or crying, for example. In one video, the dad follows his daughter into the bathroom, as she cries with a mouthful of blood from a tooth falling out. In another, he sneaks into the bathroom and dumps a bucket of frogs in the tub while the girls are bathing in order to scare them. More videos show the school-aged kids dressed as babies with pacifiers in their mouths, or spitting up on one other….

Read it all at Techcrunch.Com

Saying Goodbye to TV Writer Frank Barron

Death notices very seldom are occasions of joy (we at TVWriter™  know, in theory they never are, but we also have lived for awhile in the real world, where things are different), but all we could think when a friend showed us this one was, “Wow, there definitely are worse lives out there, and worse ways to have lived.”

In other words, we hope our own obits show half as much accomplishment as this one, for a writer who clearly was much too unsung:

Mr. Barron is the figure on the right in this 1950s pic. On the left is Pinky Lee, the star of one of the many shows Barron wrote for.

Frank Barron, the eclectic writing career of a Hollywood character

Not every character in Hollywood becomes famous, but they make their contributions. Writer Frank Barron tried his hand at all sorts of show business gigs, and over the years became one of the threads that connects and enlivens the Hollywood tapestry.

Barron, who died of natural causes on Monday, Oct. 23, 2017, at the age of 98, wrote cartoons, radio shows, a primetime TV series, and worked as an industry journalist and rock promoter, according to his obituary in The Los Angeles Daily News.

He was married in the living room of “The Partidge Family” star Shirley Jones, and “Breaking Bad” star Bryan Cranston stopped by to wish him a happy 97th birthday in 2016.

His wife, Margie Barron, described him as, “a remarkable man – journalist, comedy writer, and a true Hollywood character.”

Barron was born in Elizabeth, N.J., and was a published author by his teens, having submitted articles to magazines like “This Boy’s Life.” He covered sports for The Newark Evening News before serving overseas in the Medical Corps during World War II. After the war, he ran Air Force base newspapers in Japan for a year. He then made his way to Hollywood.

He teamed up with partner Ray Brenner and began writing comedy. They got work writing on the radio for Red Skelton, Edgar Bergen, Martin & Lewis, and “Fibber McGee and Molly.”

He wrote scenarios for Woody Woodpecker cartoons for his friend, Joseph Barbera, founder of Hanna-Barbera cartoon studio. He also created a primetime TV western, “The Man from Blackhawk,” about an insurance investigator in the wild west.

There were bumps in the road along the way. “The Man from Blackhawk” fell victim to a writers strike, and Barron lost out on a chance to direct local TV variety show “Komedy Kapers,” when Jerry Lewis needed experience for his Directors Guild of America card.

However, he remained open to the opportunities that did come his way. He had two stints as an editor for The Hollywood Reporter, and spent time working for Gibson & Stromberg, a rock ‘n’ roll PR company….

Read it all at Legacy

Speaking of the website, here’s a link we saw embedded in the middle of this article that left us, well, let’s call it, “bemused.” You’ll see what we mean:

Click to get weekly celebrity death news delivered to your inbox. 

Local Hero Department: Francis Moss

Dunno about you, but each and every one of us here at TVWriter™ would be proud to be the subject of a local newspaper article like this:

Local writer once penned kids’ favorite cartoons
by Sara Kernan

YUCCA VALLEY — “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” “Fantastic Voyages of Sinbad,” “Sonic the Hedgehog” and more have all featured the animation writing of Francis Moss. Moss has called the Hi-Desert home for the past four years and is continuing writing after an illustrious career of working for beloved animation shows.

Starting in 1980, Moss’ career started with episodes of “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.” His work ground to a halt thanks to a writers’ strike, but found a job with an animation company that had just started making “She-Ra, Princess of Power.”

He eventually found a job as staff writer and story editor for a company producing cartoons including “Care Bears” and “Ghostbusters.”

Another writers’ strike in 1988 found him marching in solidarity with the Writers Guild members, and that landed him an opportunity to write for “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” After a serendipitous conversation on the picket line, Moss started writing.

The show took off after season two and Moss quickly had to learn to work under the pressure of delivering two scripts a week.

“That was my writing university in many ways,” he said.

For Moss, writing has always been a part of him. From writing on his parents’ typewriter, to writing in college to freelancing for a newspaper and magazine, written means of expression have been his creative outlet….

Read it all at Hi-Desert Star

This Podcast Network May Have What It Takes To Compete With Hollywood

Have you ever said to yourself, “What the world needs now is a professional, commercial podcast network?” Neither has this TVWriter™ minion. But now that I think about it, what a great idea! (Provided that don’t bar the door to newbies, like everything else calls itself a network seems to do.)

The pic is the network. Here’s the podcast: https://soundcloud.com/deadlymanners/deadly-manners-trailer

by KC Ifeanyi

Podcast dramas have bubbled in the recent past as a modern resurgence of the radio serials of yesteryear. Shows like Homecoming and Welcome to Night Vale became must-listens more so because it was a welcomed breeze in the sometimes stale landscape of topical or non-fiction podcasts  in general. However, as novel as audio dramas may seem, it hasn’t necessarily translated into an abundance of advertisers–a familiar plight of podcasts at large. But Alex Aldea is set on changing that.

Aldea is the founder of the podcast network The Paragon Collective, home of the Reddit-born anthology series NoSleepDarkest Night, and its most recent entry in the audio drama space Deadly Manners, a whodunnit murder mystery starring Kristen Bell, Anna Chlumsky, RuPaul, Denis O’Hare, and narrated by LeVar Burton.

“I think it’s a really cool a growing medium,” Aldea says. “I started Paragon about three and a half years ago and there’s been a big shift with me of trying to find a place where I felt I belonged. And the second we started working with NoSleep and getting into the fiction space, it just kind of clicked–and there’s really a hardcore fan base out there.”

Deadly Manners started as a pitch from TV writer Ali Garfinkel (Burn NoticeHand of God) who had previously written two episodes of Darkest Night. Tonally speaking, Garfinkel says she wanted to make a show that would live somewhere between the 1992 black comedy Death Becomes Her and Clue–the challenge being that she couldn’t write Deadly Manners in the vein of either of her inspirations.

“I’m a TV writer so I’m very used to just writing for visuals. And so writing for an audio podcast, there’s no subtlety. You can’t have a scene with a bunch of actors looking at one another and sharing feelings with a glance–you have to describe everything because people are just listening,” Garfinkel says. “The thing about audio drama is that it seems like it would be less immersive than a TV show or movie, but when it’s recorded the way that Alex does it with the binaural headphones, you’re literally surrounded by sound and it’s a 3D experience. And I think for some people it has more of an impact than just watching a video.”

Creating that immersive experience is what Aldea hopes will pull in listeners beyond the fanbases his podcast network of shows has already accrued. And Aldea’s attention to production detail in order to execute his creative vision is something he’s not willing to shortchange–even if that means driving for hours just to use one microphone….

Read it all at Fast Company