Listicles count as news, don’t they?
We know that it’s slushy and snowy and rainy and holiday-y and we’re all hung over even though it’s only Tuesday. But I stayed up all night trying to see if I could draw a picture of a dog if I looked at enough photos of them on the Internet, and I still managed to get into the office today. So come on, people! Pick up the slack. Don’t make me regret buying all those additional illustrator tools on Paper at 4 a.m.!*
Todd A. Kessler was the boy genius of the Sopranos writers’ room. In 1999, he wrote a teleplay, “D-Girl,” about a gangster who writes a screenplay (You Bark, I Bite) that was so good, it changed the rules of dark comedy on television. He was 26. It was the first Sopranos episode he’d done. By 2000, his standing at the show had risen to the point that rumor named him as the successor-in-waiting to David Chase, the Sopranos creator. The two became friends. That summer, when an episode they co-wrote was nominated for an Emmy, Mr. Kessler was elated. Still, he can’t have been much surprised. The episode, “Funhouse,” the last of the second season, is a brilliant piece of writing. The surprise came 10 minutes after the nomination was announced, when Mr. Chase phoned up Mr. Kessler and fired him. He was stunned. “The timing isn’t great,” Mr. Chase admitted during the call. Mr. Kessler wept, and although he obtained a reprieve, it didn’t last.
Had he been fired for being too good? The next act of Mr. Kessler’s career suggested that this possibility hadn’t escaped him. In 2007, he created Damages, an Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning drama about a litigator who brutalizes her protégé. It was “based,” Brett Martin writes in his new book, Difficult Men, “in no small part on [Mr. Kessler’s] experiences working on The Sopranos.” Nor was its creator the only Sopranos alumnus whose later success involved getting even. Mr. Chase had a talent for inflicting the kind of trauma that results in a trip to the podium.
tonight in dvr
Ten years ago, it wasn’t hard to decide what to do on a Sunday night. Everyone watched HBO. The programming on the premium cable network was like nothing else on the tube.
But then, Carrie Bradshaw finally landed Mr. Big, the entire Fisher family died, Tony Soprano stopped believin’ in a New Jersey diner, and Tommy Carcetti became governor of Maryland.
By the time Sue Naegle arrived from United Talent Agency to take the network’s top job in 2008 (alongside co-president Richard Plepler and president of programming Michael Lombardo), the programming larder was looking bare. “We walked into a schedule that was mostly empty,” she told The Observer. And what could be better? “From a development and programming perspective, that’s the dream.”
Remember Six Feet Under? At the time of its airing, the show was one of the holy trinity of HBO’s ascent, alongside the equally loved Sex and the City and The Sopranos. After a shaky last couple of years, Six Feet Under has been relegated to the bottom of the memory bin, with revisionists claiming Read More
Since spending money is now considered the patriotic duty of those who are still employed, I hoofed it over to the Barneys Warehouse Sale the other day, confident in my ability to find, perhaps, a pair of Marc Jacobs flats that I could wear in the same way that politicians don flag lapel pins.
Look out, Oz! Move over, Prison Break! It’s time for some imprisoned Bad Girls to take over HBO thanks to Six Feet Under creator Alan Ball. Mr. Ball is reuniting with the network to executive produce and oversee writing for the show, which will be an American version of the long-running British drama about the Read More