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October 6, 2015

comedy writing

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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Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip: The Option Period

by Bob Sassone, posted Nov 20th 2006 11:34PM

Studio 60(S01E09) OK, now this is getting a little strange. This is the fourth episode of an NBC show (the others were two episodes of 30 Rock and an episode of The Office) where product placement was mentioned. In this, because of a blow the company is going to take on the Macau deal, Jordan says that 15 people are going to have to be let go from the show. Jokingly, Matt and Danny bring up product placement, but Jordan thinks it's something they should seriously consider.

The hell? Is NBC trying to convince us that product placement is here, it's good, and we should get used to it?

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Rodney Rothman talks about Help Me Help You

by Bob Sassone, posted Nov 12th 2006 8:39PM
Help Me Help YouI had no idea that Rodney Rothman was an executive producer on ABC's comedy Help Me Help You. Rothman is not only the author of a very entertaining book, Early Bird, about his experiences "retiring" early to Florida, but he was also a writer and producer for such shows as The Late Show With David Letterman, Committed, and Undeclared. He talked to The Futon Critic about the new show, why he'd like to do a comedy version of The Wire (one of his favorite shows), and his experiences working with Letterman:

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It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia gets a third season

by Julia Ward, posted Nov 7th 2006 2:28PM
It's Always Sunny in PhiladelphiaOne of the few half-hour comedies to hear any good news these days is FX's It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, which was just picked up for a third season by the network. Danny Devito has also committed to appear as a series regular for all subsequent seasons. Sunny's third season will consist of 15 new episodes. That's five more than the second, and eight more than the first.

Sunny's pick-up is big news in the television industry for reasons that have nothing to do with Devito, FX's fan base or the reputation of barkeeps in Philly. Sunny is one of basic, ad-supported cable's biggest sitcom successes ever, and its pilot episode is the stuff of industry legend. The episode was shot on a digital camcorder and distributed for amounts that have been said to range from $85-$400. That pilot, which picked up steam via the internet, resulted in the show's creators Charlie Day, Rob McElhenney and Glenn Howerton receiving $400,000 from FX to shoot a first season.

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