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August 29, 2014

Ken Levine

House, from another point of view

by Nick Zaino, posted Mar 31st 2009 3:25PM
HouseWriting an episode of a show as literally seen through another character's eyes, a point of view episode, seems like an obvious stunt. That is, unless you can pull it off as brilliantly as House did last night. The episode unfolded mainly through the POV of a man with "locked-in syndrome," played by guest star Mos Def.

The big advantage of telling a story that way is, obviously, to get inside the head of one person, and get their insight into everything that's going on. Unfiltered, in real time. Scrubs plays with the point of view all the time, but when you stick with one long enough, it changes the feel of the story. In the first episode of season five, "My Intern's Eyes," Scrubs used the point of view of an intern, Keith, to show how awkward and frightening Sacred Heart could be. That was a great transition as J.D became an attending. We got to see J.D.'s new role, plus get a reminder of how the show began. The best of both worlds.

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The Cheers episode Ken Levine's still writing in his head

by Keith McDuffee, posted Jul 8th 2008 1:04PM
cheers the boys in the bar
One of our writers, Bob Sassone, introduced me to Ken Levine's blog a couple of years ago. Within a couple of weeks I had his RSS feed in my "Must Always Read" category, and there it remains.

If you don't know who Ken Levine is, if you're any sort of fan of television, it's likely you've seen something he's written: His credits include 36 episodes of Cheers, 16 episodes of M*A*S*H, seven episodes of Frasier, seven episodes of Becker, four episodes of Wings, two episodes of The Simpsons ... and a partridge in a pear tree. In short, the man knows how to write; he's won an Emmy for his writing and even sometimes offers a highly-regarded course on comedy writing, called The Sitcom Room.

Levine's blog is filled with stories from his days with the aforementioned shows, and they're sometimes hilarious, always fascinating. As a friend of TV Squad, and to celebrate the all-things Cheers week of Retro Squad, he's taken the time out to share a new story below. Enjoy!

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Five biggest Cheers mysteries

by Joel Keller, posted Apr 7th 2008 1:02PM
Cheers logoI was looking over a "Where are they now?" feature our friends at AOL put together on the cast of Cheers, and a few of the mysteries of the long-running sitcom classic came to mind. These were head-scratchers big and small that made me wonder if the writers are the most clever geniuses ever to man a word processor (it was the '80s, after all) or, like in most sitcoms, consistency of story was the first thing to go if a good joke came up in the writers' room.

I guess I should just go over to Ken Levine's blog and ask him, since he wrote for the show for many years. But if I did that, I wouldn't get paid for it. So, after the jump are the biggest Cheers mysteries, starting with the biggest and most obvious one:

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Back to You -- An early look

by Liz Finn-Arnold, posted Sep 18th 2007 10:41AM
Back to youIn July, I was at a sitcom writing seminar in which Sam Simon (who helped develop The Simpsons) declared: "the sitcom is dead." Veteran comedy writer Ken Levine (who hosted that sitcom seminar), however, disagrees. Ken believes the traditional multi-camera sitcom might be on a respirator, but still has a pulse. Levine said, "I would amend Sam's statement and say that yeah, the bad, stale, family sitcom with tired rhythms, forced laughs, and bogus characters is dead."

I guess if you're trying to revive the dying sitcom, a good way to start is by assembling a top-notch team. And Fox's new Wednesday night comedy, Back to You, does just that.

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Out of the Blogosphere

by Bob Sassone, posted Sep 2nd 2007 2:15PM

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Ken Levine explains how to write for a medical series

by Adam Finley, posted Aug 5th 2007 11:01AM

mashIf you read this blog on a frequent basis, you know a few of us are fans of TV writer and blogger Ken Levine. The man has written for The Simpsons, MASH, Cheers, Everybody Loves Raymond, Wings, Dharma and Greg and many other popular and enduring series.

In a recent post, Levine explains how to write for a medical series that uses a lot of jargon: ask a doctor.

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The Sitcom Room: So you think you can write?

by Liz Finn-Arnold, posted Jul 26th 2007 11:21AM
FrasierHow many times have you watched a sitcom on TV and thought, "Hey, I could do that?" Last weekend, twenty aspiring writers came together at the LAX Hilton to test that theory.

The Sitcom Room, an exhausting, yet exhilarating two-day event, was the brainchild of veteran TV sitcom writer Ken Levine. To me, the event was the ultimate summer camp for aspiring writers and/or TV geeks.

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What if Sam Kinison had hosted a game show?

by Bob Sassone, posted Jul 11th 2007 10:02AM
KinisonThere's a funny post by Ken Levine over at his blog. He talks about how it seems that the goal of standup comics now is to host a game show. Think about it. Howie Mandel, Bob Saget, Jeff Foxworthy, Drew Carey. They've all gone from having sitcoms and dramas and doing standup to hosting network game shows like Deal Or No Deal and Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader. Ken wants sitcoms to make a big comeback, so the talents of comics can truly be showcased and not put into that game show personality machine that either makes them annoying or (even worse) lame and bland.

But what if Sam Kinison had hosted a game show? After the jump, Ken's very NSFW scene from a Kinison-hosted show.

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If the Sopranos were on network TV

by Liz Finn-Arnold, posted Jun 13th 2007 11:03AM
The SopranosI'll admit I was first "miffled" by most ambiguous ending ever in the history of series endings. But I'm beginning to come around to the the side that sees The Sopranos finale as "brilliant" rather than "lame." David Chase left us wanting more, and that's pretty awesome. Besides, according to Ken Levine, it could have been a lot worse.

On his blog, Ken, a veteran sitcom writer, hilariously reminds us just how annoying The Sopranos finale would have been on network television. For starters, a countdown clock would have run across the bottom of our television screens for at least a month leading up to the finale. The two-hour finale would have been preceded by a one-hour clip show hosted by Bob Costas. Janice would have gotten her own spin-off called Widow With Children.

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Out of the Blogosphere

by Bob Sassone, posted May 27th 2007 10:31AM

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Out of the Blogosphere

by Bob Sassone, posted Mar 17th 2007 1:43PM

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Out of the Blogosphere

by Bob Sassone, posted Feb 27th 2007 9:06AM

SNL Wolf Blitzer

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Out of the Blogosphere

by Bob Sassone, posted Feb 21st 2007 8:34AM

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Out of the Blogosphere

by Bob Sassone, posted Jan 31st 2007 2:02PM

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Out of the Blogosphere

by Bob Sassone, posted Jan 12th 2007 8:39AM

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