Crossover shows

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  • Crossover shows

    Here’s a Friday Question that became an entire post. Actually, this is part one, because another FQ touched on a similar area and I will address that tomorrow.

    It's from Kyle Burress.

    When actors or actresses guest star on a show and portray the same character they appear as on another show are there any hoops they have to go through or need permission from the network or show runners? A couple instances I'm thinking of are when Frasier showed up on Wings and when Carla, Norm and Cliff appeared on St. Elsewhere.

    Well, first off, networks encourage crossover episodes. They’re usually a ratings boost. And fans love 'em.

    Obviously, the actors have to agree to it and their compensation. Often it is the network that will shell out the extra money for the crossover actors. Again, it’s the network that stands the most to gain.

    So let’s assume the actors are in. Yes, the show runners have to agree, but in most cases it’s to their benefit.

    If the crossover shows are from the same studio or are similar in style and tone it makes things much easier. You mentioned Frasier on WINGS. The producers of WINGS had produced CHEERS and the writers of the episode were me and David Isaacs, and we had written for both shows. So that was an easy transition. Same for when Sam Malone visited FRASIER. We wrote that episode.

    There have been a number of shows in the Greg Berlanti superhero universe that have crossed over. THE FLASH and SUPERGIRL spring to mind.

    What becomes weird is when shows cross genres. The strangest example is the one you pointed out — ST. ELSEWHERE characters coming into Cheers. The ST. ELSEWHERE writers tried to write in the CHEERS style and it was cringeworthy. Not that I could write a ST. ELSEWHERE scene that wouldn’t totally suck.
    Usually, whatever show hosts the crossover handles the writing. Although sometimes both shows participate. I wish that had been the case on ST. ELSEWHERE.

    But on ALMOST PERFECT, CBS wanted a crossover scene between our show and CYBILL. It was to be shown on CYBILL and shot on their set. Their show runner, Howard Gould and I kept rewriting the scene back and forth. I actually very much enjoyed that. Howard is a terrific writer and it was fun to collaborate with him for a scene.

    I remember once on BECKER, CBS arranged a crossover of all four of their Monday night shows. They were all comedies and all set in New York. EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND, KING OF QUEENS, and COSBY were the other three. The scene was set in Becker’s waiting room. Here’s what I recall: Ted Danson, Ray Romano, and Kevin James were lovely. Bill Cosby was an absolute nightmare. His show runner had to accompany him and basically serve as his wrangler. Thank God he was there. All this for a three minute scene.

    Crossover shows are fun. Wouldn’t you like to see a crossover show of THE CONNERS and GAME OF THRONES?

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