Once again, here are Friday Questions for your edification.
Dave Z starts the edifying:
When a new multi-cam studio audience show is shooting its 2nd, 3rd, 4th episodes (likely being shot before the Pilot has aired), is the audience shown the pilot or explained some of the relationships so jokes that rely on knowing a little about the characters or their backstories don't fall flat?
Yes. Usually the pilot or an abridged version of the pilot is shown well into the first year. We had a truncated cut of the CHEERS pilot we showed and my wife, who came every week to the filmings, pretty much had the pilot memorized by the time the show actually aired. I bet she can still recite some of the lines.
The one CHEERS bit that befuddled audiences before the show aired was the Norm entrance. Those died horrible deaths in the first few episodes. It was only when the audience understood that this was a regular running bit did they embrace it. By the last season they were laughing just when he entered the bar.
Designated Survivor has been pulling solid ratings but I do wonder if the elections somehow affected its ratings
Based on the "pilot buzz" from Deadline and Variety, ABC is on the fence with the political comedy pilot with Felicity Huffman and Courtney B Vance, this was the first pilot ordered this season and was assumed to be a near lock for a pick up.
Do you think the political climate will affect how networks pick up shows this
Sure. Does the public still have the appetite for political shows? And if yes, can the viewers embrace one more? Between SCANDAL, VEEP, DESIGNATED SURVIVOR, MADAME SECRETARY, HOUSE OF CARDS, and I’m probably forgetting three others – there are a lot of political shows already on the air.
Many factors determine whether a show gets picked up. How are the current political shows doing? Are they on the rise or wane? BRAINDEAD was a political show that bombed. Even though it was on a different network (and politics was not what killed it – ants from outer space did), still networks take that into consideration.
Meanwhile, politics are sure helping late night talk and sketch shows. Stephen Colbert, Samantha Bee, John Oliver, and the SNL crew are maybe the only people in the entire country benefiting from our idiot president.
And while we’re sort of on the subject of politics, Andrew wants to know:
Over the years I've heard several people compliment Rush Limbaugh for breathing new life into AM radio, despite disagreeing with his politics. I've never seen you post on Limbaugh, or political talk radio in general. What's your assessment of Limbaugh's influence? Do you find anything commendable about him, or do you think he has done too much harm to deserve any accolades?
I met Rush years ago when he was first starting out doing his national radio show. My writing partner and I were developing a pilot and had a Rush-type character so we wanted to meet him. I got in touch and when he next came out to California we took him to lunch.
We stayed in touch for a number of years. Now he seems to believe all the press clippings and has turned into a distorted caricature of himself. So I have no idea whether he’s this “new” person or the same guy I used to know.
When he began his show he was very entertaining. A lot of it was a put-on. In time it has morphed into something completely different. I haven’t listened in years. I have no idea what he sounds like now. I do know that his ratings have plummeted. His act and influence may have run its course.
And finally, from john not mccain:
I was reading in Rob Lowe's first book about his experience being in the cast of a show called "A New Kind of Family." He said that after the studio audience had been there after a couple of hours it was kind of hard to get them to keep laughing. So somebody would throw candy at them and it perked them right up again. Did any of your live audience shows ever need perking up like that?
They all did. And yes, warm up people hand out candy and snacks. My podcast from last week was all about the art of warm up. Do you see right under the masthead of this blog is my current podcast? Just scroll down until you find the one about warm-up men. It's Episode 18. Click on it. It’ll tell you all you ever need to know on the subject, along with some crazy anecdotes.
What’s your Friday Question?