It's been my experience when doing pilots for the networks that, no matter how powerful you may think you are, it turns out to be nothing when a network is nervous.
Nobody was as powerful as we were when we got our development deal right after "Laverne and Shirley" became a huge hit.
The head of programming for CBS invited us for lunch at the CBS private dining room, the food was great, and they essentially asked us who we wanted to star in our first pilot after we did "The Ted Knight Show".
We almost unhesitatingly responded "Rita Moreno" based on past experience.
And they said, practically in unison "We love her!"
I think we could have said "Doodles Weaver" and they'd have said "We love him!"
But we didn't test that theory.
Thus we put together a pilot for Rita Moreno, one that I'm very proud of.
We knew the limitations of our power.
It first reared its ugly head when we did a pilot with Ted Knight.
That was their idea, but we thought it was a good one.
And we ended up doing six episodes that ended up on their schedule in 1978.
During the first rehearsal for the network, we had an actor signed as a regular to play Ted's brother.
His name was Mickey Deems.
I had seen Mickey Deems many times, and always loved his work.
CBS gave us their approval, and I thought it was a no-brainer.
Whenever I've cast anyone, I've always thought it was a no-brainer.
I had never recast anyone because I felt that I'd made a mistake.
So, at the first public rehearsal, Mickey Deems essentially stepped on his dick.
I chalked it up to nerves, knowing how solid he was when the chips were down.
The network immediately wanted him replaced.
I considered this an affront, but I didn't think it was worth going to the mat for Mickey Deems.
So further auditions were held, and another actor, Normann Burton, was selected.
Everything he did was over the top, and I actively disliked his work.
CBS loved him.
Primarily because he wasn't Mickey Deems.
Both actors are dead now, so I don't have any qualms talking about them.
And nobody at CBS is still there, so I have no problem trashing them.
Then, we did the Rita Moreno pilot, and we needed to cast someone to play Rita's younger sister.
We decided to cast an actress who we had used on "Busting Loose" in a small part and she really scored.
Again, a no-brainer.
At the first public rehearsal, she less than pleased CBS.
They wanted us to cut her part down.
Hell, at least they didn't make us fire her.
And we were about eight minutes too long.
Much of the eight minutes came out of her part, which she did fine.
But there was an insurrection among much of the supporting cast.
They thought that this was something we wanted to do.
And we were met with scowls and scorn for the rest of the week.
They had no comprehension of how little power we actually had.
Rita, a major veteran of pilots, had no problem with what we had to do.
She was and is a total pro.
Not many credits since for the actress in question.
It's a shame.
She deserved better.
And she probably still blames me.
My books, "Show Runner" and it's sequel, "Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
They are all compilations of blog entries that have been removed from the blog.
So this is the only way you can find them.
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne and Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
Check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download it.
They can be downloaded on IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperbacks, "Mark Rothman's Essays" and my new novel, "I'm Not Garbo" are not e-books.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is that you can't sign one.
But they are available for people without Kindle.
If you'd like one of the paperbacks, personally autographed, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.
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- mark rothman
- Hi. I am, according to my Wikipedia entry,(which I did not create) a noted television writer, playwright, screenwriter, and occasional actor. You can Google me or go to the IMDB to get my credits, and you can come here to get my opinions on things, which I'll try to express eloquently. Hopefully I'll succeed. You can also e-mail me at email@example.com. Perhaps my biggest claim to fame is being responsible, for about six months in 1975, while Head Writer for the "Happy Days" TV series, for Americans saying to each other "Sit on it."