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April 24, 2014

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Why Is Television Losing Women Writers? Veteran Producers Weigh In

by Maureen Ryan, posted Sep 8th 2011 11:00AM
As the fall TV season approaches, it's worth taking a closer look at the people who have created and written the scripted fare you'll see.

In the 2006-2007 television season, 35 percent of the writers of broadcast network, prime-time programs were women, according to an annual study by San Diego State University's Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film. In the 2010-2011 season, that number had dropped by more than half, to 15 percent. What happened?



Since the latest edition of the annual SDSU study came out two weeks ago, I've posed that question to a dozen experienced television writers and creators, female and male alike. Most of these professionals, who've worked on everything from 'Battlestar Galactica' to 'Sons of Anarchy' to 'Pushing Daisies' to 'Chuck,' were alarmed by the numbers that the Center released.

For some, it confirmed their worst fears. "The situation is getting worse," said one veteran woman writer. "In the '90s, the networks cared more. They don't anymore." For others, it made them re-evaluate gains they thought women had made. "I had certainly perceived the situation as getting better and better for women -- I am rarely the only woman in the writers' room anymore, and I encounter more women at the higher levels," said Jane Espenson ('Once Upon a Time,' 'Torchwood,' 'Buffy,' 'Battlestar Galactica'). "I remember what it was like 20 years ago, and this is not that."

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TV Casting: Jason Clarke to Star in Shawn Ryan Cop Drama

by Andrew Scott, posted Mar 18th 2010 12:23PM
Jason Clarke'Brotherhood's' Jason Clarke will star in Shawn Ryan's ('The Shield') new cop drama 'Ride-Along.' He'll play larger-than-life Detective Jarek Wysocki in the Chicago-based series, about a man who tries to clean up the city's violence and corruption. 'Ride-Along' will air on Fox, with a premiere date to be determined. [Hollywood Reporter]

More casting news after the jump.

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Big Shot TV Producers Aren't Straying From Familiar Territory, And Why Not?

by Danny Gallagher, posted Feb 8th 2010 7:00PM
If you're one of the fortunate few who make it big in the television biz, shouldn't you take the opportunity to use that cushy cushion you have built for yourself and take a big risk on something exciting and new? Not if you're one of these big television producers.

Big shots like Shawn Ryan, David E. Kelley, and Shonda Rhimes all have pilots in the can that don't seem to stray much farther from the shows that made them the big shots that they are today.

For instance, Ryan, creator of the groundbreaking FX cop drama 'The Shield,' has another cop drama premiering with Fox called 'Ridealong.' Kelley, the writer/producer behind 'The Practice' and 'Boston Legal,' has created a reality drama for NBC called 'Kindred.' Even Rhimes, the woman behind ABC's 'Grey's Anatomy,' has another medical drama show for ABC called 'Off the Map.' Is ABC looking to create an all-medical soap opera cable channel in the coming year?

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Fox Orders Cop Pilot From Shawn Ryan

by Gary Susman, posted Jan 6th 2010 11:15AM
Look for another gritty crime drama this fall from Shawn Ryan, the man behind 'The Shield' and 'Lie to Me.'

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Fox has agreed to a pilot for Ryan's new series, 'Ridealong.' Like Ryan's other popular dramas, 'Ridealong' would center around a charismatic maverick, in this case, a Polish-American Chicago cop, one of the city's toughest.

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'Lie to Me' Gets a Full Season Order

by Allyssa Lee, posted Nov 24th 2009 7:29PM
Here's the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth: The Fox drama 'Lie to Me' has just received its full season order.

"#Lie to Me picked up for a back 9!" posted executive producer Shawn Ryan ('The Shield') on his Twitter account. "Thanks for all the support everyone!"

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'The Shield' Creator Shawn Ryan on the DVD Box Set and Alternate Endings

by Kim Potts, posted Nov 4th 2009 12:47AM
Ah, 'The Shield.' Few other shows -- maybe 'The Wire' or 'The Sopranos' -- can make a TV fan as wistful as a mere mention of FX's 2002-08 cop drama, the show that solidified FX as a cable network that could hang with the likes of HBO, turned Michael Chiklis from 'The Commish' into one of the toughest and, yes, sexiest men in primetime, and ended its seven-season run with one of the most satisfying series finales in TV history.

The show, created by one-time 'Nash Bridges' writer and 'Angel' producer Shawn Ryan, has just been released on DVD with 'The Shield: Complete Series' (Sony Home Entertainment), a lavish book-type package that features all seven seasons on 28 discs, with cast and crew commentary on each episode, a new featurette on the real-life Los Angeles police scandal that inspired the series and a new behind-the-scenes featurette/set tour of the show's police offices, "The Barn."

Ryan, whose real-life wife Cathy Cahlin Ryan played Corrine, the wife of Chiklis' Vic Mackey, on the show, is now busily helming the Fox drama 'Lie to Me' and the upcoming FX comedy 'Terriers,' but took time out to talk to AOL about 'The Shield,' an unexpected fan encounter and how he's lost some serious space on his DVD shelf this year.

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Jon Gosselin Interview Canceled & More TV News

by Andrew Scott, posted Aug 10th 2009 1:00PM
Jon GosselinE! will not air its exclusive interview with 'Jon & Kate Plus 8' star Jon Gosselin, according to a network spokesperson. The interview has reportedly been canceled for reasons yet to be determined.

Also in the news today: ABC moves 'V''s premiere date, while Hilary Duff books a new ABC Family movie.

See more of today's top TV headlines after the jump.

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FX showrunners take turns tearing NBC a new one - TCA Report

by Joel Keller, posted Aug 8th 2009 7:01AM
FX Showrunners Panel
FX held panels for Archer and Sons of Anarchy on Friday morning, but by then press tour fatigue had set in, and the energy in the room was low for both. It was especially low for Archer, a Adult Swim-esque spy cartoon by the creator of Sealab 2021 that most of the critics hadn't yet seen. The panel seemed to be more content with answering with wise-ass remarks that made themselves laugh but the just served to make us tired masses annoyed.

Things perked up, though, when the network presented five of its show-runners to talk about what it's like to develop edgy dramas for basic cable. But since the theme of the week has invariably been "Leno at 10," the questions often came back to the fact that NBC with one fell swoop wiped out five hours of scripted drama per week. And the show-runners took every opportunity to bash the Peacock for it.

And it got ugly: "I feel they should take the American flag down in front of the building and just put up a white one," said Rescue Me's Peter Tolan, "because they've clearly given up."

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The real reason The Unit was cancelled

by Allison Waldman, posted Aug 7th 2009 12:29PM
the_unit_haysbert
Earlier this week, I told you about the real reason Without A Trace was cancelled. Now, executive producer Shawn Ryan reveals the real reason The Unit was cancelled. "Listen, if the show had been owned by Paramount and Medium had been owned by 20th Century Fox, we'd be making the fifth season of The Unit now." You see, TV fans, it's comes down to money. CBS owns Paramount so it would earn more in the long run if The Unit made more episodes, went into syndication and reaped revenues for years to come. However, Fox owns The Unit. Get it?

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FX nabs Donal Logue for the lead in Terriers

by Jason Hughes, posted Jul 30th 2009 1:02PM
Donal LogueI'm still not sold on that show title; Terriers makes me think of little dogs yipping and running around. But FX and Shawn Ryan created magic with The Shield, and Ted Griffin made Ocean's Eleven so much fun. So I'm really excited about the show. My excitement can even withstand the news that Donal Logue (Life) has been cast in the lead role of Terriers.

I've never connected with Logue. I thought Grounded for Life was mostly crap, and he wasn't as "amazing" as the critics told me he was going to be in Knights of Prosperity. He has done better in some of his dramatic work. Maybe I'm just bitter that the hype machine told me Knights was going to be the greatest sitcom of the last millennium, and the next.

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The Shield gets the big ol' cold shoulder from the Emmy collective

by Danny Gallagher, posted Jul 17th 2009 12:02PM
Michael Chiklis and David Rees Snell from The Shield
Television is a vast alien landscape of shows, programs and other watchables. So the odds of a really good show not getting special recognition are about as good as Michael Chiklis' chances of his noggin being mistaken for a shiny, beige Brunswick in a bowling alley.

The Emmys also tend to favor younger shows rather than the oldies that have had their chance to win some awards because the best stuff on television is always fresher out of the gate. It's just the beast of the cycle. Great movies age like a fine cheese. Great TV shows age like spray cheese.

The Shield, however, got totally snubbed from this year's nomination list. And is that something the Academy really wants to do to a guy with a hair trigger anger who considers a Smith and Wesson as his "backup piece"? (I should ask myself the same thing after that bowling ball noggin joke.)

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Lie to Me picks up steam - anyone else watching?

by Jane Boursaw, posted Jul 6th 2009 3:18PM
Jennifer Beals and Tim Roth in Lie to MeI had just gotten into watching The L Word when it got the ax, but at least now we can see more of Jennifer Beals. She guest-starred in two episodes of Lie to Me last season, and will have a recurring role in the upcoming season, playing Assistant U.S. Attorney Zoe Landau, Cal Lightman's ex-wife and mother of their teenage daughter.

Mekhi Phifer (Dr. Gregory Pratt from ER), who also appeared in two episodes, will come back as FBI agent Reynolds, brought in as a liaison between the Lightman Group and the FBI for those tough cases the FBI can't solve through traditional methods.

The show's second season kicks off Sept. 28 with Shawn Ryan as the new showrunner. He's got some great creds, having worked on The Unit, The Shield and Angel.

Lie to Me really seems to be picking up steam heading into its second season. We gotten a little hooked on it in this household, meaning it isn't "must-see" TV, but if we know it's on, we'll definitely check it out -- and pick up a few pointers on lie detection from Cal Lightman and crew.

Anyone else watching Lie to Me?

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FX greenlights Terriers from The Shield's Shawn Ryan

by Jason Hughes, posted Jun 10th 2009 5:34PM
Shawn RyanThe Shield may have wrapped its run this past year, but that doesn't mean creator Shawn Ryan is done with FX. The network did let his vision run its course to completion, so I'm sure he's quite comfortable there. I know I am. This time, he's executive producing with Ocean's Eleven scribe Ted Griffin on the new dramedy Terriers, about a detective who teams up with a young hot-shot. FX has already greenlit Terriers, and Griffin has turned in the scripts so it's down to casting.

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Holy Shield! Don't do it!

by Danny Gallagher, posted Jun 5th 2009 4:29PM
The Shield's final season posterDid you ever get news that both enthralled and worried you all at the same time? Like remember when you were a kid and you heard you were going to Disney World but first you would have to drop off your sick puppy at the vet for a little nap?

That's the feeling my gut got when series creator Shawn Ryan said Fox might make a Shield movie if demand called for it.

The question actually sparked an interesting and light-hearted war of friendly curses between the cast and Sons of Anarchy star Ron Perlman who was also on the dais to grub for Emmy nods. Walter Walton Goggins, the actor who brilliantly played the daft and overly cocky Shane Vendrell, uttered "That is bull#*$&!" since his character killed his family and then shot himself in the final episode just as the Barn closed in on him. That's not a direct quote, by the way. He may have used different punctuation marks.

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FX Round-up: Shield finale, Sons of Anarchy, and some words from Ted Danson - TCA Report

by Joel Keller, posted Jul 16th 2008 2:02AM
The Shield panel
The FX panels on Tuesday were pretty uneventful, aside from the news from network president John Landgraf. There was supposed to be a panel for It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, but that was mysteriously dropped from the schedule. I'm guessing that the boys figured they'd get too hammered at the FOX party the night before to handle questions from the reporters. Indeed, I witnessed Rob McElhenny and Glenn Howerton try to ride the Tilt-a-Whirl at the Santa Monica pier right after they pounded a couple of beers. Maybe canceling the panel was a smart idea.

Anyway, the three shows that paneled were Damages, Sons of Anarchy, and The Shield. More on what transpired after the jump.

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