Cartoon: The 12th Doctor…for Continuity Freaks

This is kinda a Whovian in-joke, but we loves us the art:

12th DoctorFrom the ever-delightful (except when it isn’t) Doctor Puppet blog.

Herbie J Pilato: Why Johnny Carson was the best “Tonight Show” host

The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carsonby Herbie J Pilato

As a page for NBC in Burbank from May 1984 to December 1985, I worked on several shows that became classics, including The Golden Girls, Family Ties, and more.

No show was more exciting to be involved with – sometimes on a daily basis, than The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson.

Mr. Carson has been called the “King of Late Night TV” – and there’s a reason for that.

It’s because that’s what he was – and remains.

No TV talk show host, past, present or future of The Tonight Show, or any “chat” program, of late night or daytime – possessed the style, grace, elegance, humor and sophistication of Johnny Carson.

But the main reason why he was the ultimate talk show host is because he actually allowed his guests to talk.

Go figure, right?  A talk show granting his guest time to speak.

Mr. Carson opened the show with his monologue, maybe did a few skits here and there (i.e. “Carnac, the Magnificent”), and then his line-up of guests would commence their time on the sofa, one by one…sometimes all remaining together on that sofa until the show’s closing credits.

There was comedy, but nothing obnoxious.  There was a gracious audience (that the NBC pages kept in check); and there was no loud screaming or fist-pumping.

The audience was never allowed to touch Mr. Carson or shake his hand in any which way.  His desk on stage was positioned somewhat distantly from the studio audience, and everyone was okay with that – because he was the “star”…when being a “star” meant having class.  Not arrogance, but class.

He’d joke with his guests; and laugh with them, but never at them.  He never insulted his guests, and he always made sure they’d shine, specifically young comedians who were just starting out; or who he thought was an amazing talent.

Suffice it to say, he showed respect for his guests, and ultimately his TV audience – and his studio audience (his “Stump the Band” segment, which I was honored enough to “co-host” with him one night, remains a classic “skit history”).

In short, Johnny Carson was not only the ultimate talk show host, but was the ultimate host, period.

And there will never be another one like him anytime soon – or ever.

Cheers to you, Johnny – for all the entertainment, laughs, and again – just plain class that you brought to the world of late night television – and beyond.


Read more about Herbie J Pilato’s adventures as an NBC Page.

Why the Comcast-Time Warner Cable Merger Not Only Sucks, It Blows


All over the interweb, folks are reacting to the idea of Comcast and Time Warner Cable becoming, um, one. And nobody here at TVWriter™ – not one of us – has read anything positive about it so far. Here’s a short list of articles about the Impending Interweb Disaster

Here’s a reading list to get your flood blowing blood flowing:

WGA West & WGA East Slam Merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable

Why the Comcast-Time Warner Cable Merger Is Even Worse Than You Think

PTC Blasts Comcast-Time Warner Cable Merger As “Anti-Consumer & Anti-Family”

Comcast & Time Warner Cable: A Wedding That Should Be Called Off Before It’s Too Late

Comcast: No promise that prices “will go down or even increase less rapidly”

Will TV Programmers Have To Consolidate If Comcast Buys Time Warner Cable?

Can The Government Stop The Comcast/TWC Monstrosity? ?

What A Merger Of Comcast And Time Warner Cable Could Mean For Hollywood

How Comcast-TWC Will End Your All-You-Can Internet Buffet

Oh, wait. What’s this? Aha – a pro-merger statement at last from…oh, right, yeah, of course…Comcast:

Comcast lists all the ways a merger with Time Warner is “pro-consumer”


This has been a public service presentation.

Quick Guide to Amazon Studios’ Latest Streaming Video Pilots

Um, we were going to write about this. Honest! We swear! But Gizmodo beat us to it. So we bow to the amazingly perceptive Big Dogs:


by Adam Clark Estes

This year’s batch of brand new pilots from Amazon Studios just went live, and there are surprising number of stars in the mix. From a drug-laced drama about classical music with Gael Garcia-Bernal to a dysfunctional family comedy with Jeffrey Tambor (wait that sounds familiar), there’s something for everybody.

Oh, and they’re all free to watch, whether you’re a Prime subscriber or not. Amazon is looking for feedback (read: customer reviews) so that they can decide which pilots to launch into full-blown series, as they did with last year’s Alpha House and Betas. Out of the five shows for kids and five for grown ups, there’s got to be a hit.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the shows for grown-ups. All that’s left for you to do is stock up on snacks; a weekend of TV-binging awaits.

Read it all

Love & Money Dept – TV Writing Deals for 2/18/14

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

  • Neil Gaiman‘s novel Anansi Boys is being made into a BBC miniseries. Although Neil wrote a screenplay for a movie version that fell through a few years ago, no writer has been set yet for the TV version. (Me! Me! See my hand up in the air? See it? Look closer, dammit! Look!)
  • Dan O’Shannon (MODERN FAMILY) is leaving his Exec Prod gig on that series to start slaving away in a 3 year overall deal with CBS TV Studios. munchman and TVWriter™ will be looking forward to everything that this very funny guy comes up with during his CBS stint. (And you should be calling your representative to see about replacing him on MF cuz you know in your heart you’re just as funny, right? Or almost, anyway.)
  • Daniel Brocklehurst (UK version of SHAMELESS) is developing Hannah Fidell‘s feature, A TEACHER, into a drama series at HBO. (And munchie’s absolutely positive he’s gonna live this one cuz “The series centers on a high school teacher in her late 20?s in the midst of a torrid affair with one of her students.” Tastelessness and political incorrectness rule!)