Love & Money Dept – TV Writing Deals for 11/10/14

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

  • Channing Powell (THE WALKING DEAD) is adapting Karen Russell‘s award-winning short story collection, St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves, into an ABC series about, you know, girls raised by wolves. (This should be interesting cuz the book is literary fiction first, supernatural crap second. But yer ever-lovin’ blue-eyed munchkin is thinking that the ABC ececs just might be aiming in a different direction, and I do love me a trainwreck.)
  • Lee Aronsohn (TWO AND A HALF MEN) is developing the comedy TOTALLY ILLEGAL for ABC. (And, no, it isn’t about Charlie Sheen,  TWO AND A HALF’s former star but about what fun it is being an illegal immigrant here in the good ole U.S. of A.)
  • Get your agents on the phone, Shakespeare lovers, cuz The CW is looking for a writer to develop SHAKESPEARE’S SISTERS, a series that “will chronicle his entanglement in a bigger feud between three witches.” (And lest you dismiss this out of hand as crappola, please allow el munchero to point out that the executive producer of this baby will be none other than NCIS’s Mark Harmon, whose name is of course synonymous with…oh, wait. Sorry.)
  • J.P. Lavin & Chad Damiani (ANCHORWOMAN) are writing the pilot for an untitled CBS show about 4 cops who go undercover, living as a suburban family. (And, no, it isn’t about Charlie Sheen either. In fact, it isn’t even a comedy. At least not intentionally. Yet. Can’t wait to see how Les Moonves reacts when he reads the script.)

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….)

Lee Aronsohn and Bill Prady on Showrunning

Alex Epstein reports on a panel we wish we’d been at:

I had a chance to attend a panel discussion on “Showrunners” at July’s Just for Laughs Conference with TWO AND A HALF MEN co-creator Lee Aronsohn and BIG BANG THEORY showrunner Bill Prady, moderated by Variety‘s Steven Gaydos. A few takeaways:

Lee likes to cast “people I can’t stop looking at.” Talent and charisma are two different things. You can’t teach charisma. But it’s not enough. You need talent and professionalism. Charlie Sheen might have been the star, but “the engine that is Jon Cryer” powered the show.

Some standups are terrible sitcom actors. On BIG BANG, there’s only a single standu, Melissa Rauch. Everyone else are professional actors, many with theater degrees, or who were child actors – all serious veterans. A day player can get by on charisma, but a recurring role needs chops.

(I cast a standup once. He could not memorize his lines for the life of him. And he wouldn’t rehearse, either. We had to make cue cards.)

Bill Prady says he lets his casting director filter actors, but he hires writers without a filter. “Sitcoms are made by writers,” he said, and agents are terrible filters. He told a story about an agent who insisted he put a script on the top of the heap. It was terrible. He called back and asked what the agent liked about the script. The agent couldn’t answer. Because, you see, he hadn’t read it.

Bill read 400 scripts to make the BIG BANG THEORY room. He didn’t read them all the way through, of course. But he read each one enough to know whether he wanted to work with the writer or not. “Only I know what I’m looking for, and I generally find it in the first five pages.”

Lee Aronsohn said he’s also hired people into the room based on their standup act, or their plays. He hired a woman based on her blog once. 2 ½ MEN does “gang writing” – 9 people in a room at once – so not everyone has to be a structure person.

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