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September 15, 2014

Justine Bateman tries her hand at sitcom writing

by Joel Keller, posted Jun 11th 2008 1:01PM
Justine BatemanGive Justine Bateman credit: She could have been typecast after playing the dippy, fashion-obsessed Mallory Keaton on Family Ties, but she's been able to build a nice career for herself over the last twenty years by playing interesting supporting roles in movies like The TV Set and series like Desperate Housewives. But she's also been -- just like 75% of the people in Hollywood -- an aspiring writer, struggling to get her scripts produced (and you think having connections helps ... she knows Michael J. Fox and her brother is Jason Bateman, and she still couldn't get her scripts produced).

But now she can add "sitcom writer" to her credits; she just wrote an episode of The Disney Channel's hit Wizards of Waverly Place, according to the New York Daily News. Apparently, she's a friend of executive producer Peter Murrieta, and she got to know some of the show's writers during the writers' strike. So, when the strike ended, she was invited to write an episode for the show.

The most interesting part of the article is Bateman's analysis of the paltry sitcom market these days: "Television used to have an awful lot of sitcoms. It's interesting to see Disney is really a place where there are sitcoms," she said. "Going back 15 years, there were a fair amount of sitcoms families could watch. I absolutely love 30 Rock and The Office, but I don't know how many 13-year-olds are watching that stuff."

She's right; the big "hit" sitcoms are ones like Wizards and Hanna Montana, which are written by adults for teens and pre-teens. Maybe the networks should take note of that; another "TGIF" lineup might end up making more money than an entire season of The Office.

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