I have some good news, and I have some bad news.
The bad news is that I got fired.
But the good news is...I got fired! The last couple of months have been hellish. I've been miserable. I'm supposedly a comedy writer, I like to write comedy. However, I've been on a show that doesn't want to do comedy. So why was I working there?
Actually, they did want to do comedy at first. And I did it, and the show got better - according to TV Week, ratings were up 4 percent from last year - in a television universe where everyone else's ratings are down. But then, Jay Leno at 10:00 happened and everyone freaked the fuck out. Suddenly, we had to be different, and that meant no comedy, and that meant no job for me. And thank God.
The sad fact is that I was sticking around this place only for the paycheck. It's a tough world out there, people, and a steady job is nothing to sneeze at. So despite my frustration and anger and depression, I stuck it out. The ax finally fell recently, and the only thing I felt was relief. Despite good people and the security of having a gig, I just didn't want to be there anymore.
Was there a sign that this was about to happen? Well I'm no mind reader, but at one point we (the writers) were asked to "come up with bits that don't involve writing". Seriously. They asked us to think of stuff that they wouldn't need writers for - never a good sign.
But I couldn't exactly be too bummed, because the exact same week that happened they also fired John Black and Marlena. John Black and Marlena! If they get canned, no one is safe. Marlena went through an exorcism with these people, I had merely a few months of poorly thought out entertainment.
This brings me to some more good news: I got another job. A better job. A job involving actual comedy writing. And a job that will actually pay me a respectable wage. So everything has worked out in the end.
Before I go, a quick word about NBC.
NBC is the network I grew up watching as a kid. I'm talking Diff'rent Strokes, Silver Spoons, Facts of Life, Cheers, Family Ties, Saturday Night Live, Cosby Show, Hunter, Quantum Leap, Seinfeld, and Friends. That was my home base network. I flirted with Fox, had an extended affair with ABC, and I never watched CBS. NBC was my long term lady.
I don't want to get into all of the craziness and stupidity and cheapness that I witnessed while I was there, but it's sad to see what my baby girl has become. And things are only going to get worse.
The powers that be willingly admit that they will be the 4th place network in the 10 pm time slot. They are conceding it! Why? Because they admit that they can't find a good show. Literally, they've said "we can't find a good show for 10pm, so we'll just stick Leno in there". Leno...the guy they tried to get rid of for Conan.
And by "they" I mean Jeff Zucker. Zucker was a genius whiz kid at the "Today" show. He is responsible for making that show number one in the ratings. Because of this, he was made NBC Entertainment President. In this respect, Jeff Zucker is really George Costanza.
George Costanza is great on Seinfeld. Funny, funny. And you got Kramer there, and Elaine, and Jerry, it all works. But would you really watch a show where the main character was Costanza? Of course not. That wouldn't be a good show. Costanza is great as part of the team, but he's not a leading man.
And this is Jeff Zucker. Oh, he's fantastic as part of "Today", but you don't let Costanza run the whole network.
So I guess it's time to say: so long, my sweet NBC, I'll be off banging some basic cable.