Friday, June 24, 2011

Will there ever be another CHEERS or FRASIER?

More Friday Questions answered here. Keep ‘em coming and thanks!

An Anonymous reader (please leave a name in the future) gets us started:

I have a two-part question:

1) Are you considering, or would you consider in the future creating and writing a new sitcom? Or are those days over?

If David and I came up with some idea that we felt really passionate about we would definitely consider creating another sitcom. But the conditions would have to be right. And we’d have to have a lot of freedom to really do the show our way.

At the moment we don’t have a dynamite idea.

2) Do you think that we will see in the foreseeable future another sitcom that is as smart and funny as 'Cheers' and 'Frasier' are? Or are sitcoms on the whole just unfashionable these days?

Sure we will see the next CHEERS and FRASIER. These things are cyclical. The next smart, sophisticated comedy may not be your standard multi-camera sitcom (although it could be), but in some form and with a fresh voice there indeed will be comedies that rival CHEERS and FRASIER. Hurry! Cause I want to see one.

Mike from Belfast wonders:

Occasionally you mention Robin Schiff, co-creator of Almost Perfect. Given that you already had a successful partnership with David Isaacs, how did this relationship come about? Was it difficult to work out the new dynamic? Have you worked with Robin since?

We met Robin several years before ALMOST PERFECT. She had a pilot and we came in one night to help punch it up. The three of us really worked well that night. David and I usually dictate scripts to an assistant so having another person in the mix did not really upset our routine.

From there we all became friends. A few years later we had a deal to develop shows for Paramount and Robin also had a deal there. She came to us with the notion of wanting to do a series about a very independent single woman in her ‘30s. We sparked to the idea and the three of us decided to collaborate on the project. It was a very productive and happy partnership.

I have worked with Robin following the completion of ALMOST PERFECT. She and I wrote a spec romantic comedy screenplay together called BETWEEN THE COVERS in the early 00’s that we sold to MGM. It languishes in "development hell". 

In any combination, the three of us are always looking for the right project to collaborate again on. We love Robin.

Gary asks:

My Friday question is: Have you ever written a script just for one great line? It sure seems that my wife and I have seen this phenomenon on the boob tube.

Yes. An episode of CHEERS called “Breaking Out Is Hard to Do”. I wrote a whole post on it, which you can access here.

And finally, here’s another Mike -- Mike Schryver. I don’t know where he’s from but I’m guessing the Pacific Northwest. He has a baseball-related question.

I'm glad that neither you nor Rick (Rizzs) is particularly homer-ish as an announcer, Ken. What are you able to tell us about homer announcers, and how much of their act is their own, or is insisted upon by the team?

Some markets welcome announcers that openly root for their teams. The most extreme example of that these days would have to Ken Harrelson, the TV announcer for the Chicago White Sox. If you’re not a die-hard Sox fan you will HATE this guy. The White Sox are “the good guys”, he screams “Yes!!!” when they get a hit. He’s quite colorful but boy you better be a Palehose fan.

Phil Rizzuto of the Yankees was also very partial, as was Harry Caray of the Cubs and Cardinals, and Bob Prince of the Pirates. It’s a style and in some markets it’s what the fans want.

To my knowledge no team insists their announcers be shameless homers but some are supportive of it.  

In other markets, more objectivity is desired. Los Angeles for one. In LA we all grew up listening to Vin Scully, who taught us to appreciate “the game” not just your team. I think that’s more the preferred style today.

Still, there’s a way of being objective while still conveying that you’re rooting for your team. My partner, Rick, in particular, does an excellent job of giving a fair and balanced description of what’s going on while still letting you know his heart belongs to the Mariners. And for those of us who broadcast in Seattle, we were weaned on that by the great Dave Niehaus.

I prefer the objective style personally. Just like not everyone who comes to your stadium is rooting for your team, same with the broadcast. If I’m calling a Mariners-Rangers game I want Texas fans to enjoy listening, too. Likewise, Mariners fans who tune in to Eric Nadel’s broadcast (for the Rangers) will find it a great listen.

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