LB’s Choices for the 2018 WGA Writing Awards

by Larry Brody

The 2018 Writers Guild Awards will be  given out next month. It’s pretty much a given that a lot of you won’t agree with me, but in the interests of total disclosure and all that hooey, here’s the Writers Guild Award ballot I just filled out:

By all means feel free to dispute my choices in the comments!

Question for LB: OMG! Are Those My Words That Actor Just Said?

Glad You Asked Department 1/8/18
by Larry Brody

Last week we presented a guest article about what it’s like to see your first script produced, and over the weekend a similar question came in from a TVWriter™ reader about my own personal experience in that regard. So I thought I’d share my answer here and now:

Where are they now? No, seriously, if you know, please comment below!

Question from Armando:

Dear Larry,

My longest running recurring dream is that I’m sitting in an easy chair, iPad in hand, watching as an episode I’ve written as the newest staffer on THE GOOD PLACE begins, with all the actors delivering my lines. It’s the most exciting dream I’ve ever had, even better than the one about Gal Gadot, her golden lasso, a tub filled with Lucky Charms cereal, and me.

You’ve had hundreds of TV episodes on the air. How does it feel to hear actors saying something you’ve written? In particular, did it feel the first time?

Answer from Yours Truly:

First of all, congratulations, Armando, on proving yourself a real writer. How, you may be wondering, did you do that? Very simply: You asked me about My First Time and it was a writing question instead of a sex question. So smile, dood, this proves you’ve got what it takes to go far.

My first produced script was an episode of the long gone series HERE COME THE BRIDES. I don’t remember anything about the story other than it involved the heroes helping a group of immigrants trying to build a new life for themselves in the rugged 1870s Pacific Northwest, believe it or not. But I do remember sitting down to watch the show the night it was on, eager to hear the actors uttering my words.

Unfortunately, an hour later, after the episode was over, I was still waiting. Because the thrill of seeing absolute proof that I was a professional writer of television never materialized in terms of anything other than my writing credit. I never got to experience the “Oh wow, they’re saying that I wrote” moment for one not uncommon reason:

The cast wasn’t saying what I wrote. My recollection is that about two-thirds of the dialog had been rewritten by the story editor and the remaining third had been changed by the actors themselves during the shoot. And the way I felt about that was dumbfounded.

What had they paid me all that money for? Why had they hired me to write two more episodes if nobody liked my dialog? What the fuck was going on?

I got the answers as I continued to work on HERE COME THE BRIDES and then other shows over the next couple of millennia. My experiences and conversation with various executives, producers, other writers, directors, actors, and their friends and lovers and even spouses brought the truth home:

Like all television writers, I was being paid to do the hard job of facing the blank page. Of organizing the material. Of writing dialog that gave everyone else involved enough of an idea about what should be there – but to their minds wasn’t – to make it easier for them to adapt the words to their own needs.

This is one of those occasions where I could go on and on and on, but you probably get the point. On HERE COME THE BRIDES and all the shows that followed, I was hired and re-hired as writer and then producer and then showrunner (and occasionally even praised to the skies) because my words came closer to what everyone involved wanted, or thought they wanted, than those of most of the other writers they’d worked with.

In fact, very often the praise came out something like this:

“Larry, that script was awesome. You’re a really good writer. Rewriting you is a cinch.”

Now that may not sound like much to you, Armando, and when I was starting out I wasn’t exactly tripping on that particular accolade myself, but my time in the trenches has had its teaching effect, and I’ve learned to appreciate the comment above.

Because when you get down to it, and the various needs and desires of everyone involved in a Hollywood production are taken into account, if those in charge like your work enough to keep asking for more, you’ve done the job you were hired for and then some.

Which is what being a pro, a real pro, is all about.

Here’s hoping that you get to experience the same acceptance I have, and that you embrace the joy a lot more quickly than I did. Relax, let yourself grin, and enjoy your very real and exciting success along with everything that leads to and follows from it.

In other words, good luck, kid. Say hi to Gal and the tub for me.

My purpose here is to help as many undiscovered creative geniuses as possible. But I can’t answer if you don’t ask. So send your questions and make everyone’s day!


‘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?”)



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


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


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


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


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


No nominations


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

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

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

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


“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


“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


“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


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


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


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


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


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


“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


No nominations


“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


“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


“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


“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


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

“Becoming Ugly,” Written by Madeleine Davies;

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

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



“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


“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


“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



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

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


No nominations

Why Even The Best TV Storytellers Need To Know When To Call It Quits

Yeah, yeah, we know. There you are, barely having gotten started on your TV writing career, and what are we doing over here? Yep, we’re bringing you info on knowing when it’s time to cash out. But if you think about it a minute, what we’re doing makes sense. Cuz if we can persuade just one of you to leave your staff gig, that’s one more slot that’s open to…yeah, hehe…us.

Evil, thy true name is desperation!

pic found at

by Andy Crump

Knowing when a story no longer needs to be told matters as much as knowing whether it’s a good story in the first place.

Take “Transparent,” Amazon Studio’s first major original programming success, which is in its fourth season with a fifth waiting in the wings. Jill Soloway’s evolving narrative, encompassing a family’s mundane travails against the backdrop of its patriarch’s transition from male to female, has no visible ceiling, but begs for a conclusion. “Transparent” is, according to Soloway, a series about the quest to find selfhood through God and spirituality. That’s a search that, at least in theory, never ends.

But that doesn’t mean the show shouldn’t end. (Though if it does go on, it will be without Jeffrey Tambor, who announced he may leave the show amidst sexual harassment allegations against him.)

In our golden age of prestige television, the line between sticking around for just the right number of seasons and drastically overstaying one’s welcome is as thin as our patience for tips about our favorite show’s premiere date. For every “Mad Men” or “Breaking Bad,” there’s a “Grey’s Anatomy” that threatens to go on forever.

In a roundabout way, those mainstays let us appreciate the creative labor that goes into higher quality content like “Transparent.” Banging out episodes of “Law & Order” and adjacent spinoffs doesn’t take much beyond daily perusal of newspaper headlines and negotiation of guest star cameos. Crafting a chapter in “Transparent,” on the other hand, demands its authors commit to personal soul-searching while also striving to understand trans American experiences enough to qualify for authenticity.

The same can be said of shows in the key of “Mad Men” or “The Leftovers,” and perhaps most of all “Game of Thrones,” which has outpaced George R.R. Martin’s source material and continues to outmatch direct competitors in scope and scale.

But maybe these are unfair comparisons; easily digested network fare doesn’t care about competing with television in the likes of Amazon, HBO, AMC or Netflix. Besides, to say that self-recycling network shows are lesser than their premium channel rivals isn’t to say they’re not worth watching. …

Read it all at Wbur.Org

Larry Brody replies to “I’m a beginner at this TV writing thing. Please help!”

by Larry Brody

A couple of TVWriter™ visitor questions that have been gnawing at me for the past few days:

1) From JW:

‘Morning Mr. B,

I’ve written and entered a TV pilot that has done fairly well in contests but has not been picked up or optioned. Does it make sense to write another episode from the same series and enter it in next year’s contests?

For example, my Season 2, Ep. 1 has a great opening and compelling new characters added to the cast but doesn’t establish the original “big picture.” Will I lose points with the judges for that?

And my reply:

Dear JW,

I can’t speak for other contests, but I do kind of know my way around the People’s Pilot, where, believe it or don’t, people do what you’re talking all the time.

Well, not exactly all the time but fairly frequently. Sometimes they entire another episode in the same running of the PP so that in effect the judges have two pilots to choose from. In the 2016 Peoples Pilot, for example, two different writers working on the same future series sent in two separate scripts to serve as pilots.

The actual creator of the show entered his pilot script, and his fellow writer on the hoped-for series send in a later episode. Both scripts placed highly. In fact, the creator’s script finished third in its category and the other script placed second because even without including a series set-up per se, it was an excellent example of what should or would happen on the show.

In other words, I think submitting another episode of your series would be a good idea. If the fact that the script doesn’t present what you call “the big picture” worries you, I suggest you also include a short series presentation as additional material for the judges to take into consideration. We’re big on additional material in the PP.

Oh, and while we’re on the subject of original pilot scripts like yours not being picked up or optioned, I’d like to point out that very few series created by writers who are outsiders in the biz are ever sold. That’s just not how the system works.

Original pilots, however, are absolutely the best writing samples you can send out because they show both how you handle material you love and your understanding of the needs of whatever genre or category your script is in. And original pilots that have won, or placed highly in contests, are pretty much beloved by agents because they also demonstrate that other readers have been impressed by your writing so taking a chance on you, the new writer seems less risky. In the People’s Pilot, by the way, those other readers are TV and film writing pros, and that reduces the risk factor even more.

2) From WJ:

Hi LB,

I’m a college student in a film and TV program that has given me the chance to write two of my own pilot scripts in the past year. Both have been well received by my teachers and advisor.

One of the scripts is drama. The other is a dark comedy. I read where writing in different genres can cause identity confusion for potential agents, managers, hucksters. Should a writer avoid muddying the waters and stick to one niche until he/she is established?

My oh-so-very-thoughtful reply:

Dear WJ:

Oh, for Christ’s sake, WJ, give yourself a break. Who are you going to confuse? You’re brand new to the writing game and not even in L.A. yet. No one in a position of genuine authority or influence even knows you’re alive.

Your job is to get noticed. To demonstrate that you’re better than everyone else who’s showing their material to all those to whom you’re sending yours. Why in the name of the Great God of Ambition would you want to hogtie yourself by hiding one of the scripts you genuinely believe is the greatest of its type?

Send them both out wherever you can. Get yourself discovered. That’s what it’s all about. Besides, most people, even knowledgeable professionals, conflate dark comedy with drama anyway because of the serious undertones that dark comedy gets its name from.

The only reason to hold back material is if you have doubts about it. I mean genuine doubts with a basis in reality, not neurotic self-doubt.

Um, what’s that you just asked? How do you tell the difference? That, my friend, is between you and your shrink.

Thanks for the questions, you two! And to everyone else out there: I love hearing from you, so, by all means, keep ’em coming!




3 reasons it’s hard to end harassment in Hollywood

The subtitle of the article below is one of the most sadly meaningful sentences this TVWriter™ minion has ever read: The way the film and TV industries are structured makes them a breeding ground for abuse.

Time now for a few words about the most important conversation we’ve ever wished we didn’t need to have:

by Todd VenDerWerff

The New York Times published its exposé on Harvey Weinstein on October 5, and in the not-quite six weeks since its publication, long-buried bombs have been exploding throughout the entertainment industry, often in unpredictable fashion. Some of the industry’s biggest “open secrets” are now out in the wide open, and there’s a palpable sense that even more will come to light before the cycle has run its course.

This series of stories has left the sense, in many minds, that Hollywood is rife with sexual harassment (true) and that it is unique among industries in that regard (not true). If you pull back from just the Hollywood stories, sexual harassment and assault scandals have been roiling multiple industries since last year, when Roger Ailes was pushed out of his position at Fox News, after word of his frequent harassment of women employees came to light.

Or, honestly, you could go back even further. We have been having forms of this conversation — in some cases more openly than others — since Anita Hill brought the term “sexual harassment” into the mainstream with her testimony against Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in 1991. Politics, media, academia, finance — all have been hit by at least one major sexual harassment scandal in recent memory.

Really, then, what’s so unique about this recent spate of Hollywood stories is how long it took them to come to light. Weinstein’s actions — as with the behavior of Kevin SpaceyLouis C.K., and others — were long known via the rumor mill, and many industry reporters were at least aware of the whispers, if not their veracity. But there often seemed to be an impregnable wall around the entertainment industry, and it was constructed as much out of “This is just how things are done” as it was legally binding NDAs.

So what made Hollywood harassment so prevalent for so long? And why will it be so hard to curtail even now? Here are three big reasons.

1) The idea that any behavior is acceptable in the pursuit of great art (or great commerce)…

2) In Hollywood, firing one person can lead to firing everybody…

3) The entertainment industry requires environments that foster intimacy — and make lines easier to cross….

Read it all, including the details we’ve omitted, at Vox.Com