TV comedy producers share pet peeves, regrets

Tue Jun 15, 2010 3:30am EDT
 
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By Matthew Belloni

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - What really irks the producers of some of television's biggest comedies? Who regrets that he was too lazy to write more episodes? Which producer's family talks while watching his show.

Following are highlights from a roundtable conversation with Chuck Lorre ("The Big Bang Theory," "Two and a Half Men"), Ryan Murphy ("Glee"), Steven Levitan ("Modern Family"), Doug Ellin ("Entourage") and Seth MacFarlane ("Family Guy").

YOU'RE ALL PULLED IN SO MANY DIRECTIONS. HOW DO YOU DECIDE

WHERE TO FOCUS YOUR ENERGY?

Chuck Lorre: It's all about the writing. If the script doesn't work, the show doesn't work. So most of my attention is on that. The jokes have to work. After that, it's not that tough if you have a great cast.

Ryan Murphy: (I do) all of it, really. I choose all the songs. That's my favorite thing about the gig. There are different kinds of showrunners, but what I really love is choosing the vase and the buttons and really getting in there and creating a world. The hard thing about ("Glee"), production-wise, is that you have to choose things four months out because you have to clear the music and get the dancing going. That's been the tricky part.

Steven Levitan: Your job will get so much easier next season when you can have any song you want because it lifts sales so much.

Doug Ellin: Our first season, we tried to get an Usher song and his label actually said, "Send over a $300,000 Bentley and we can talk." I'm not even kidding! Now it's gotten much easier. But, like Steve said, the first year was very difficult because no one knew what the show was. Now they come to me and want to break artists.   Continued...