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October 1, 2014

Mitch Hurwitz Helpfully Shares How to Get a TV Show Canceled

by Jean Bentley, posted Feb 15th 2011 3:30PM
Mitch Hurwitz'Arrested Development' creator Mitch Hurwitz is an expert in creating quirky comedies that develop cult followings. Unfortunately, he's also well-versed in getting those beloved comedies canceled quicker than you can say "banana stand."

Want to be just like Hurwitz when you grow up? The writer, who was also behind the recently canceled 'Running Wilde,' gave the U.K.'s Guardian a list of handy rules to follow to ensure the opposite of success for the TV show you're creating. Follow his tips and your show is guaranteed to fail.

Our favorite bits of advice:

Try to do too much for a 20-minute program: If in your particular medium an audience is used to a simple plotline or maybe one or two stories, see if you can get eight in there, and find a way that they somehow intertwine. Also, it's important that you have a lot of anxiety when they don't intertwine, sufficient to deprive yourself of sleep so that you are miserable during the production of the show -- but then upon completion of the show, you're guaranteed to be miserable, because nobody will watch it.

Add a sprinkle of incest: They'll never admit it, but viewers love sex. In fact, they love any sort of titillation, with the exception of incest. So focus on that.

Don't bother with a laughter track: Audiences don't always know "when to laugh." By omitting a laugh track you can almost guarantee they'll never find out.

Audiences like nicely dressed characters. They also enjoy nudity: Split the difference by putting your character in a pair of cut-offs and call him a Never-Nude. Advanced: feel free to dip him in a vat of blue paint. That's a real turn-off.


Head over to the Guardian's website for the rest of the stellar list.

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