It’s Hollywood Secrets Day Part 1: Peak TV Update

A few words about the so-called “death of Scripted TV” because, you know, oversaturation has set in.

Except that as this article points out, it hasn’t:

Photo by David Buchan/Variety/REX/Shutterstock (9778142a) John Landgraf

by Michael Schneider

As HBO ponders expanding its volume of series, FX is also looking to grow its programming stable beyond just drama, comedy, and limited series. FX Networks CEO John Landgraf, who has often lamented the state of “too much TV” in these peak times, admitted Friday to reporters that “the number of series I’ve seen announced just this week, including ours, alone makes me suspect that the ‘Golden Age of Television’ has become the ‘Gilded Age of Television.’”

Like HBO programming president Casey Bloys, who assured reporters at the TV Critics Association press tour that HBO is cognizant of maintaining its quality brand while expanding its offerings, Landgraf said FX continues “to be deliberate focused and specific about our brands even as we expand the scope of our programming.”

“We hope you will feel we’re making sincere efforts to have the FX brand actually provide value to consumers who are trying to navigate the vast sea of options with the highest quality programming,” he said. The network currently releases around 15 series each calendar year, but Landgraf is looking to increase that output by branching into factual programming, increasing output in animation and exploring additional genres.

Landgraf noted that Netflix dominated the Emmy nomination tally in drama, comedy, and limited series by submitting 39 different programs. In comparison, HBO submitted 15 and FX submitted 10.

“We and HBO remain almost exclusively focused on the best in TV quality as we invest in programming,” he said. “As happy as we are with our batting average its clear that to move beyond the 50 or so nominations we’ve been getting and closer to the 100 or so like HBO and Netflix, it’s clear we have to produce more than three categories.”

Meanwhile, Landgraf — who issues a “Peak TV” tally at the end of the year — shared his midseason report, noting that there have been 319 scripted series so far, up 5 percent from 305 last year. Here’s the chart:

Read it all at IndieWire.Com

What We All Need to Know About Hollywood Today

Surprise! Hollywood success isn’t really about being talented. It’s about being an entrepreneur. Oh Lordy! The OCD-ness of it all!

And to think, I could’ve been an accountant…

Yeppers, it’s another TedX presentation. Ain’t life unfair?

Writers Guild of America West Still Working for Net Neutrality

by TVWriter™ Press Service

From the WGAW’s lips to the FCC’s ears. The image is difficult to read, we know, so here’s the statement again:

Contact: Gregg Mitchell (323) 782-4651

Los Angeles – The Writers Guild of America West has issued the following statement on joining advocacy organizations to file an intervenor brief to reinstate net neutrality:

“Last year, the Federal Communications Commission’s Chairman Pai repealed open Internet protections, leaving powerful Internet providers free to decide what content reaches viewers and how, harming content creators and consumers alike. The decision to abandon those protections, which had been overwhelmingly supported by the public and upheld in court, was factually and legally unsound. The Writers Guild of America West has joined fellow intervenors in filing a brief in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to challenge the FCC’s abdication of its responsibilities to protect competition and ensure a free and open Internet.”

The Writers Guild of America West (WGAW) is a labor union representing writers of motion pictures, television, radio, and Internet programming, including news and documentaries. Founded in 1933, the Guild negotiates and administers contracts that protect the creative and economic rights of its members. It is involved in a wide range of programs that advance the interests of writers, and is active in public policy and legislative matters on the local, national, and international levels. For more information on the WGAW, please visit:

Yours in solidarity!

The Bitter Script Reader’s Guide to Writing a Spec TV Episode

Here it is, gang. Just what you’ve been waiting for. Or should’ve been waiting for: The most complete guide to writing a spec episode of a TV series this TVWriter™ minion has ever seen.

Um, LB…why haven’t you done this? (Uh-oh. Am I in trouble now?)

by The Bitter Script Reader

For years, I’ve toyed with posting one of my scripts on this site and using it to explain my process of breaking a script. In all cases, I ran into the same problems: I couldn’t use something that I was still sending around as a sample with my own name on it, and anything older I was no longer using as a sample was probably such a sub-par example of my work that it seemed foolish to put it out there publicly. Every now and then I thought of writing one of those “gimmick” specs, like the infamous FRIENDS spec where they all get AIDS, but was often confronted by a lack of either time or inspiration.

A couple months back, after season two of 13 Reasons Why had dropped, but before it had been renewed, I saw a lot of speculation about where season three would go. On Twitter, I made a joke that season three should be a tribute to the short-lived NBC series Awake(which also featured 13 Reasons Why‘s lead Dylan Minnette) and have Clay suddenly finding himself moving between two worlds – the one we’ve lived in for two seasons and another one where Hannah survived her suicide attempt.

For those not in the know, Awake was about a police detective whose reality fractured after a car crash. In one reality, his son died and wife survived. In the other, the reverse happened. Each time he goes to sleep, he wakes up in the other world and he doesn’t want to figure out which one is real, as the experience lets him maintain contact with both his wife and son. The series was cancelled before any kind of story resolution was reached, and honestly, that might have been for the best because it’s hard to imagine the explanation that would be as satisfying as the concept itself.

It was a stupid joke, but I also happened to make it at a point where the show I’m working on had sent all the writers off to script and I had days with very little to do. The idea kept buzzing in the back of my brain as I saw the potential in a story about Clay getting a second chance with Hannah, a Hannah still being treated for her suicidal depression. I had a particular image in my head, figuring that Clay’s first encounter with Hannah could happen in his room, just as his first scene with the imagined Hannah in season 2. She’d reach out to touch him, he’d instinctively grab her forearm and get a double shock… she’s solid… and she still bears the deep wrist scars of her suicide attempt.

If that visual hadn’t popped into my head, it’s unlikely you’d be reading this post. But pop it did. And it lingered….

Read it all at The Bitter Script Reader’s Blog

EDITOR’S NOTE: When we saids this was “complete” we meant it. This is only Part 1 of – wait for it – 10. Here’s the complete list (which also is available via The Bitter Script Reader, of course):

Part 2: Character
Part 3: Story and Theme Development
Part 4: The Break
Part 5: Act One Scenes
Part 6: Act Two Scenes
Part 7: Act Three Scenes
Part 8: Act Four Scenes
Part 9: When your lead character demands a rewrite
Part 10: Act Five Scenes

Most Viewed TVWriter™ Posts of the Week – August 27, 2018

Time for TVWriter™’s Monday look at our most popular blog posts of the week ending yesterday. They are:

The Worst Thing That Could Happen

Empty Promises: My experience submitting scripts to Amazon Studios

How To Write The Perfect TV Series Review To Captivate Your Readers

‘The Following’ Season 4 was Cancelled by Fox Because the TV Series Became a Victim of Lazy Writing

Looking for TV Pilot Scripts?

And our most visited permanent resource pages are:

Writing the Dreaded Outline

PEOPLE’S PILOT 2018 Writing Contest

The Logline



Big thanks to everybody for making this another great week at TVWriter™ . Don’t forget to click above and read what you missed and re-read what you loved!