Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Books: Sitcom or Drama?

If you were writing the script or pitch for a new TV show centered in the publishing world, would you make it a comedy or a drama? Do you think you could sell such a show?

Someone did.

Gail Lerner, writer of Will and Grace and co-executive producer of Ugly Betty, has sold CBS on the idea of a comedy centered on a book editor and her friends.

According to Entertainment Weekly, the show will be called Open Books. In an interview with Hollywood Reporter, Lerner said:
“Publishing is a lot like sitcoms. Although both are supposedly dying, that only makes people more passionate about creating the next great novel or show.”
What do you think about this idea? Would you watch it? Will anyone who’s not a writer, editor or connected to the publishing world watch it? Would you have written a comedy or a tragedy, a romance, or some other genre?
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26 comments:

  1. I think if it's a comedy, it'll find an audience regardless. Few of us know anything about the news or radio industry, and yet News Radio was a very popular show.

    I'm not big on TV watching, especially with my schedule,s so probably won't watch.

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  2. I like the idea and will probably watch it, at least for a time or two. I think, if done right, it could appeal to people outside of the industry. I also think a comedy about writing is the only way to go - any other genre would be too depressing on the subject. I always prefer laughter to tears.

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  3. Sitcom, definitely. It's sad but there seem to be so few well done sitcoms anymore. Or maybe it's just that I'm a lot choosier now that I'm older? Because when I watch some of the sitcoms I loved in the 80s, I realize they weren't all that good either!

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  4. I love sitcoms. And there sure is a lot of comedy in this world. It's good to see it, when you're deep self-involved in your own tragedy.

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  5. Definitely a sitcom maybe with a murder throw in, hehe, you know who will murder who...

    Bargain with the Devil

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  6. I'd watch it! Actually, there already has been one similar, and that was the sitcom with Anne Hecht called Men in Trees.

    Hubby and I liked it--till it went sort of over the edge. I think the problem was the writers and not the theme. There is no reason why this could not be a good show. It just depends on the show writers. They have to be good. It isn't so much the world in which the story is set, but how good the writers are.

    BTW, thanks to all your readers who dropped by my blog yesterday. I sure hope they will make it a habit! I write for them.

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  7. So far, sounds like the idea of a comedy is winning. If I find out when it's airing, I'll give it a look-see. I'd like to see it succeed, providing it doesn't portray writers as ?? (badly).

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  8. I like the idea of comedy. And I do think people outside the industry would be interested. There's a fascination with writers.
    Karen

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  9. If it works, it might help to boost the publishing industry. That would be good. Maybe even boost book sales.

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  10. With a sitcom you have the potential to touch on both comedy and tragedy. I don't watch TV though. The commercials are too iritating. :)

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  11. I think it would work. I remember the old Dick Van Dyke show where he was a commedian and his writers were in these scenes that were just hysterical coming up with the lines and plots for his skits. This is sort of different, but if it's funny it'll sell and have an audience, I'd bet.

    Marvin D Wilson

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  12. Comedy. Workplace comedies are fun and also have the potential of exploring many different subjects. Wish I had the opportunity to write it!

    Elspeth

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  13. We'd probably all watch it, but would anyone who wasn't in the industry?

    Honestly, as much as I dislike reality shows, I think it would do better as one.

    Elizabeth
    Mystery Writing is Murder

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  14. I would definitely watch it, and hope that the comedy would pull viewers who were not associated with writing or publishing. Also hope that the series doesn't evolve to another one with too much emphasis on sex - who's getting it and who isn't - which seems to be a central theme for most sit-coms recently. I miss the days of the really great shows like MASH, Barney Miller, All in the Family, Mad About You, et

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  15. I would definitely watch the first couple of shows to see if I liked it, but I'm a TV junkie and have to check out everything. It will be interesting to see how it does (but knowing that almost everyone in the world wants to write a book, I'd think the audience would be pretty big at the beginning).

    I think if I were to write a TV script, it would be a fun mystery (trying to find a different approach to a Murder, She Wrote concept). Maybe using my elderly ladies of the Florida Flippers travel club. I think we need a bit more "gray" in our TV comedy world.

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  16. I'd definitely watch- I like anything funny. I nearly took up a job writing a sitcom but the pay was wretched- P1700 ($290 USD) per 30 min episode. (that's Botswana TV for you- ouch!)

    I loved the Dick Van Dyke show and they spent quite a bit of time with the writers and their process.

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  17. Ooh, Elizabeth, a reality show. Interns working to become agents. That would be depressing. I can see them locked in an office and given a ceiling-high stack of queries to go through. It would deteriorate into chaos.

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  18. I think it would be a nice comedy. They all seem to have the same basic concept -- a group of friends who work hard and play hard. I don't think the industry makes a difference. I do enjoy watching "Castle," about the author who helps the police solve crimes. It's an interesting take on the crime drama.

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  19. As with so much else in entertainment, the proof will be in the writing and execution. Well developed storylines of any genre can be interesting, particularly if the acting is good or the characters fully developed and compelling. Would I watch either a comedy or a drama? Sure. Like I don’t get enough of either in my own writing life.

    Best Regards, Galen
    Imagineering Fiction Blog

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  20. I would definitely watch it. And I think comedy would work better than a drama...just from my own personal experience as a writer. It can be real funny sometimes, the mistakes/the process.

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  21. Well, looks like it already has a built-in audience of writers who are willing to give it a try.

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  22. If it's on at the right time I'll give it a try. The rest remains to be seen.

    Morgan Mandel
    http://morganmandel.blogspot.com
    http://www.morganmandel.com

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  23. I think this was tried already with the cancelled sitcom, "The Return of Jezebel James." Parker Posey played an editor at HarperCollins. I think it only ran for a few episodes.

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  24. I'd definitely watch, as I do just about anything I can find about writing/writers. And as I've discovered in my meager writing travels, people are fascinated by the writing/publishing industry. If the show is well-written and produced well, I think it could have a future.

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  25. Well, you can tell I don't watch a whole lot of TV. I've never heard of The Return of Jezebel James, Christina. If this new show makes it on, I'll give it a look-see.

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