Love & Money Dept – TV Writing Deals for 4/30/14

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

  • Noah Hawley (FARGO) has a new overall deal with FX for the usual developing/writing/producing stuff. (Cuz no boring, depressing, piece of crap show goes unrewarded, and Noah has given us a doozy in the painfully Coen-like FARGO. Congratulations, Noah!)
  • Josh Berman (DROP DEAD DIVA) also has a new overall deal, this one with Sony. (Cuz this being showbiz even the boring, depressing piece of crap show that is DROP DEAD DIVA can make a ton of $$$ for everybody involved. Does your Fabulous Munchkin sound bitter? That’s cuz this kind of thing proves that bitter is better, y’know?)
  • Mitch Hurwitz (ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT) also has gotten himself a new overall deal. (His is with Netflix, proving that even though his genius faltered a tad with the ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT Netflix, um, “return,” Mitch has more talent in his little toe than any other writer mentioned so far in today’s column.)
  • Comedy Central is moving its really cool web series hosted by Ari Shaffir, THIS IS NOT HAPPENING, to the channel itself. Which means that TV viewers will have the chance to hear some damn fascinating stories from Ari and his very funny – brilliantly funny, actually – buds.  (To which the munchman can only say, “Thank God! A reason to live after all!” Smart move, CC execs!)

Why a Failed Pilot Actually Means Success

The baxic premise in the following article is that there’s no stigma to failure in the television industry, and if you buy that, then you can sit back and enjoy the read.

But we have it on good authority from Our Beloved Leader, LB, that the premise is a little off because, as LB told us while swimming through a pool of the money he made writing pilots none of us have ever heard of, “Hey, the phone definitely stops ringing after you’ve failed. It even happened to me – after I’d written about a dozen unshot pilots in a row.”

A dozen?

What would Noah Hawley say?

thr_pilot_final_a_pby Noah Hawley

The pilot writer in January, like Schrodinger’s cat, is alive and dead at the same time. As Feb. 1 approaches, sleep becomes fitful, your mind split between equally likely scenarios. Either 1) the call comes and the network picks up your pilot, making you busier than most humans, or 2) a different call comes, and the network passes on your pilot, making you unemployed.

Impossibly busy or unemployed. These are your options. And you must prepare for both.

For me, the call came on a Friday. It was from my producers, not the network, which (you guessed it) meant the cat was dead. “The network is passing,” they said, as if they couldn’t believe it. We had, after all, been told in recent days to interview casting directors. We had run through multiple drafts of a director list and had, at the network’s instruction, submitted the script to several names on the list. As other pilot scripts had fallen away, ours had remained on the “hot list.” So we were doing our due diligence, preparing to hit the ground running, egged on by enthusiastic network and studio executives. So that Friday morning, when we heard the network was going to make some pickups, everyone expected the best.

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