The Schur Thing: A Marriage Made in Media Heaven A Play in Three Acts

Act One: A ‘Bump’ in the Road

“One afternoon a few weeks ago, Jennifer Philbin, a writer for ‘The O.C.,’ was driving her BMW in heavy traffic on Wilshire Boulevard, in Los Angeles, when she passed the remnants of an accident. She turned to look and promptly ran into the car in front of her—a Saab wagon. She and the Saab’s driver, a man in his late forties, pulled over to assess the damage. There didn’t seem to be any; she had hardly been moving. Nonetheless, the man insisted on summoning a police officer. Eventually, one came over from the other accident, examined the Saab’s bumper, and said, ‘I don’t really see anything here.’ The driver of the Saab, citing possible ‘structural damage,’ was adamant. The policeman filled out an accident report.

“These particulars, and many that followed, came to light the other day, thanks to the efforts of Philbin’s fiancé, Michael Schur, a twenty-nine-year-old Harvard graduate and a writer for the NBC sitcom ‘The Office,’ who converted his indignation over the fender bender into a campaign both to embarrass the Saab driver and to raise money for the victims of Hurricane Katrina.”
FENDER BENDER, by Nick Paumgarten, The New Yorker, Oct. 3, 2005.

Act Two: Taking ‘Vows’

“Jennifer Joy Philbin, a daughter of Joy and Regis Philbin of New York, is to be married today to Michael Herbert Schur, the son of Anne Herbert of Cambridge, Mass., and Warren M. Schur of Boston. The Rev. Mark A. Connolly is to officiate at the Roman Catholic Church of St. Ignatius Loyola in New York.

“[…]

“The couple met in January 1998, when Mr. Schur, who had been hired by ‘Saturday Night Live’ in New York, walked into its writers’ room for the first time and was introduced to Ms. Philbin, then the assistant to the writers.”

- Jennifer Philbin and Michael Schur, The New York Times, Oct. 9, 2005.

Act Three: Can’t Buy Me Love

“According to a well-placed ABC insider, Philbin—who’s known around the network as ‘King of the Freebies’ despite a reported $20 million a year salary—used his star power to strong-arm several luxury outlets into pro-bono sponsorships of his daughter Jennifer’s wedding this past Sunday.”

- Who Wants to Pay for My Daughter’s Wedding?, Radaronline, Oct. 11, 2005.

Epilogue: Long Way Down (One Last Thing)

“A chauffeur-driven Mercedes sedan nearly knocked me down on Madison Avenue this past Sunday around 5:30 p.m. Its occupants were calling my name, so I looked inside. There was entertainment reporter Claudia Cohen, PR maven Peggy Siegal and classy actor Michael Nouri, all dressed to the nines in black tie. The women sparkled; Claudia sported a string of beautiful pearls as big as pin balls.

‘Where are you guys going?’ I asked. Luckily there were no other cars in the briefly deserted street.

‘To the Philbin wedding!’ they shouted, and sped off into the twilight.

“Indeed, the later report I got from various sources about the wedding of Jennifer “J.J. Philbin” to Michael Schur made it sound like the event of the year (Full disclosure: JJ worked as an intern for Pat Wechsler and me at New York magazine about 10 years ago. She was a great kid.)

“[…]

“JJ is a scriptwriter now on ‘The O.C.’ Her new husband worked on Lisa Kudrow’s just-cancelled ‘The Comeback’ and on ‘The Office.’ They are each graduates of ‘Saturday Night Live,’ which means they should have an amusing marriage with a lot of ironic humor and punch lines that sometimes don’t work. Congrats to them both!”

- Regis Invited Kathie Lee to Daughter’s Wedding, by Roger Friedman, FOXNews.com, Oct. 12, 2005.

Matt Haber