Friday Questions

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  • Friday Questions


    It’s the Friday between Friday the 13th and Black Friday. Here are some FQ’s.

    Marka starts us off:


    When stars come into the commissary do they have to wait in line? If not, how do they cut the line? And, what level of star is able to get away with that.

    A lot of studios have two sides to their commissary. One is more cafeteria style and one is more a sit down restaurant where they take reservations. Stars generally have reservations. That said, usually at 1 PM (everyone makes reservations for 1 PM) there can be a brief line while the parties are seated and the stars generally stand in line.

    Star treatment is more in evidence at regular restaurants. Many stars do require special treatment, but not all. I was in an Italian restaurant in Brentwood a few years ago. There were no reservations. The line was about seven deep. Harrison Ford came in and asked how long the wait would be. The maitre ‘d said, “Oh no, we will take you in right away,” and Ford, to his credit, said, “No. I’m happy to wait.” And he did.

    You gotta love Indiana Jones.

    Bradley wonders:


    I fell into a YouTube rabbit hole, watching random episodes from one season sitcoms. Among them was an episode of "Pearl" that you directed. It's certainly not a beloved series, but I remember enjoying it at the time. It was a good episode that still made me laugh. Does any one memory from the set while you were there come to mind?

    Yes. I was talking to a writer friend the night before I was supposed to start directing. I told him I was a little intimidated. Malcolm McDowell was in the cast. I’d be directing Malcolm McDowell. I said to my friend, “This guy starred in CLOCKWORK ORANGE.” And he said, "Yeah, but he also starred in CALIGULA.”

    Suddenly, the intimidation was gone. And by the way, Malcolm was perfectly charming and a pleasure to direct.

    My other memory is talking to one of the supporting cast members who had very little to do. Lucy Liu. Whatever happened to her?

    From Sparks:

    When a show gets rerun or put into syndication, who gets residual payments? I assume it depends to some degree on one's agent, but generally, who? Stars, director, writers?

    Not just stars — all actors with a speaking role. Residuals are negotiated with the unions. Agents are not involved. In fact, agents do not receive commission on residuals.

    However, “created by” and “developed by” credits are negotiated within the guidelines of the WGA credits manual.

    And pilot directors sometimes command a royalty on all future episodes. That’s negotiated by an agent.

    And finally, from Jim S.:


    Are there any genres you'd like to tackle. For example, Alexa Junge wrote for both Friends and The West Wing. Two very different styles of shows.

    So, say, someone you knew said "we're bringing back Columbo and looking for writers with all different kinds of experience, would you care to take a crack?"

    Would you? Are there genres you would wish to avoid?


    I’d be happy to write a COLUMBO. Among current fare I’d love to write an episode of THE GOOD FIGHT, BARRY, or BETTER CALL SAUL.

    Having written MASH for so many years, I have no interest in writing a medical show. I also hate horror shows, disaster shows, zombie shows, and I'm the wrong guy to write something like THIS IS US.

    Shows I would have liked to have written on in their day — THE SOPRANOS, JUSTIFIED, SUITS, THE SHIELD, THE ROCKFORD FILES, LOST, BREAKING BAD, 24, PERRY MASON (the original), HILL STREET BLUES, MIAMI VICE, SPORTS NIGHT, LOU GRANT, DEXTER, THE PRACTICE, LA LAW, and THE FUGITIVE. And THE WEST WING now that democracy has been restored.

    What’s your Friday Question?



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