Sitcom Writer

Sitcom Writer

SitcomWriter

Los Angeles, CA

Female, 33

For over ten years, I’ve had the extreme pleasure of being staffed on several half-hour network sitcoms, rising in the ranks from Staff Writer to Co-Executive producer. My writing partner and I are now developing our own material.

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Last Answer on December 19, 2012

Best Rated

Comedians and writers constantly bash network executives for not having a funny bone in their bodies yet trying to meddle in the creative process. Have you found any network execs that DIDN'T fit that description?

Asked by diesuitdie almost 6 years ago

Yes. There are absolutely people who give good notes. I will also say even the people that don't "get it" and give bad notes are worth listening to. No pilot is perfect and a good writer should always look for ways to make it better. But yes...a lot of the notes we get are dumb.

What's the typical salary range for writers on network television shows?

Asked by MarioOC almost 6 years ago

On a network sitcom that goes a full season a first-time writer probably makes about $150K. It is not crazy for a high-level writer to make over a million a year.

If you could work on any show -- past, present, or future -- what would it be?

Asked by Cracked almost 6 years ago

I'd want to work on a show that's on for ten years. That's Emmy-winning. That doesn't know the meaning of the words "Too broad." That's hours are 11-5. And that films at a studio a block from my house.

Do writers and the network execs think audiences are getting smarter in their TV preferences, or is there an underlying assumption that the public is and always will be "dumb?" (p.s. If you need me I'll be watching Honey Boo Boo.)

Asked by St. Nielsen about 5 years ago

I think that there are two reasons you watch scripted TV. You either want to turn your brain on and be engaged. Or you want to turn your brain off and be relaxed. (Now a show like honey boo boo....I have no theory on) I don't think the public is stupid. I think that after a hard days work you put on something like Two and a Half Men because it's easy. You don't have to think. You can just enjoy and shut your mind off. Can't blame them for that. It's why the Food Network is on my TV like 22 hours a day. And I personally don't think Audiences are becoming smarter. I think they've always been smart. They just have more options now a days (thank you cable!). Twin Peeks, Northern Exposure, Buffy... all had hard core fans. And those fans have just moved on to Homeland, Community and Downton Abbey etc. But you didn't ask me what I think. You asked what the execs think. I don't know. But I do know that in development the simplest ideas are always the ones they want to buy (I can't tell you how many times an idea is bought because the title is funny). They are also aware that the critically acclaimed shows don't get nearly the ratings of the "easy" shows. (Modern Family the exception).

Has anyone ever pitched you an idea that you thought was viable enough to show around?

Asked by TiredTeacher over 5 years ago

I don't let people pitch me ideas. There are a limited number of ideas in this world (relationship, workplace, crazy family etc.). The odds that I (or someone else) pitch/produce something that is similar to your idea are high. I don't want anyone thinking I "stole" their idea. Having said that, most ideas could be tv shows. Well written, good characters, funny. That's what makes a great show. Not some amazing premise. Think of Everybody Loves Raymond. What was the premise? A man stuck between his wife and his mother? Not original. But well done.

Is reality TV here to stay?

Asked by RealTV almost 5 years ago

It's here to stay. And is that such a horrible thing? When it's done right it's pretty dang good. And when it's done poorly you can change the channel. The honest truth is at least on my staff - we all talk about Top Chef or Real Housewives of Beverly Hills almost as much as we talk about Game of Thrones or Downton Abbey

What was your background in preparation for becoming a TV writer?

Asked by Netta_D almost 6 years ago

I went to film school. I took one basic writing class. It was a waste of time. You can learn structure from a book. You learn how to be a better writer by writing. You learn how to be useful in a writers' room by being in writers' rooms. You can't be taught a sense of humor. There were benefits to going to film school. I met my writing partner there. I joined a sketch comedy group which was great practice for professional writers' rooms. Moving to Los Angeles was less scary since there were so many classmates who had or who were also making the journey.