Two former child stars who made it to adult stardom. Ken discusses the life and mysterious death of Natalie Wood and then interviews his childhood friend Ann Jillian who went on to star on sitcoms, Broadway, movies, and Bob Hope USO tours. Her life is so fascinating they even made a movie-of-the-week about it. THE ANN JILLIAN STORY was the top rated MOW of 1988, and coincidentally, she starred in it. Ann has hilarious and courageous stories.
Ken shares the saga of a pilot he and his partner once did for NBC where everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. Spectacularly. If comedy is “tragedy plus time” I think even Levine & Isaacs can now laugh at this folly. You will too.
Ken and David Isaacs discuss their longtime partnership, how it formed, their process and how it’s evolved over the years, hard lessons they had to learn, disagreements, triumphs, and many great writing tips. Ken & David wrote for some of the most iconic sitcoms of the last forty years. Relive their journey.
As we approach the Emmys, Ken salutes the iconic DICK VAN DYKE SHOW and how it inspired him to become a writer. Hint: Being in puberty at the time helped. You’ll get the inside story on the making of the show (and learn things you didn’t know), Ken’s personal recollections, how he wrote an episode and turned it in 50 years too late, interviews, and Laura Petrie herself discusses her sex life with Rob.
Ken touches on many aspects of his career – radio, writing, and baseball. You’ll learn how he met Prince Charles and almost caused an international incident, the secrets of the CHEERS “Bar Wars” episodes, useless skills, and you’ll meet the “real” Brockmire. Plus, another aircheck of Beaver Cleaver on TenQ. Come for the stories, stay for the laughs.
Listen to a failed TV pilot that Ken Levine & David Isaacs wrote and produced for Fox in 2003. Now with a new (and better) cast, you’ll hear a reading of the pilot produced exclusively for this podcast. Hear how the authors envisioned it and why they still think this is a damn funny show that would do well on TV today.
Ken throws caution to the wind and does his very first stand-up routine at an open mic night. You’ll hear the whole set. How did he do? You decide. He’ll also take you behind-the-scenes, before and after. It’s an exercise in either courage or stupidity depending upon how you look at it.
WICKED is the most successful musical in the last fifteen years. It’s had thousands of productions worldwide and is still playing on Broadway. But the road to success was a long and arduous one. This week Ken interviews Winnie Holzman who wrote the libretto for WICKED. You’ll learn the inspiration, process, problems, solutions, and thinking behind this smash hit musical.
Ken plays a very funny one-act play he wrote then breaks it down and lets you see his thought process in constructing it. If you ever wondered what goes into crafting a comedy scene this is the episode for you.
Ken discusses the transition between comedians to comedy writers, and interviews EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND writer, Tom Caltabiano. Tom and Ray started in stand-up together and wound up sharing an apartment together along with Kevin James. This episode has lots of great stories including an embarrassing one from Ken. Then he reviews the new television show about stand-up comedy, I’M DYING UP HERE. Also, your chance to see a live reading of one of Ken’s pilots, and hear how, for the sake of this podcast, he is probably going to humiliate himself. You can’t miss that!
Ken shares stories of directing sitcoms. He describes what it's like to be challenged by actors, how to win them over, and almost killing an actor. Then he discusses the many times he got fired in radio and how he went out in a blaze of glory on several of those occasions.
Kevin discusses his directing process, the incredible story of getting CHASING AMY made, the even more incredible story of trying to write a SUPERMAN screenplay, plus terrific advice for filmmakers young and old alike. And as a bonus, Kevin interviews Ken’s daughter Annie and her writing partner/husband Jon on how they broke into the business and what networks are looking for in writing samples.
Ken interviews filmmaker Kevin Smith, who has produced dozens of movies including Dogma, Clerks, and Mallrats. They discuss Kevin’s writing and directing process, how he broke into the industry, and who were his inspirations. Plus, he offers fantastic advice to young filmmakers and shares what is the best recipe for talent and luck.
Ken tackles a variety of subjects including getting Tom Hanks to star in his movie, dealing with agents, and the wacky fights he had with network standards & practices people. Lots of Hollywood stories and laughs. Plus, find out what the deal is with character actors.
Not everyone in Hollywood is crazy. Just the people who worked for Ken. Laughs are the theme this week as he introduces you to some of the nuttiest writers’ assistants in Tinsel Town. Then he’ll relive some classic radio pranks and you'll meet one of America’s funniest disc jockeys.
“Romy & Michele’s High School Reunion” has become a comedy classic. Ken interviews Robin Schiff, creator of those characters and screenwriter of the movie. Robin is one of the most successful comedy writers in Hollywood. She discusses her career, the challenges of being a woman in the world of comedy, an exciting new chapter for Romy & Michele, and she has great advice for young screenwriters.
The last CHEERS episode drew over 42 million viewers. Ken discusses the making of that classic show, bringing back Diane, the filming, airing, and disastrous TONIGHT SHOW that followed. For fans of the show this week’s episode is a must-listen. Also, have you heard the CHEERS theme in its entirety? You will this week.
A key element of any TV show done before an audience is the warm-up man. There is an art to this very unique role. Ken was the warm-up man for CHEERS and shares stories of that show and many others. Plus, an interview with Stu Shostak, one of the top warm-up men in the business.
“Travel” is the theme for this week’s episode. Ken tells how he survived a cyclone on a cruise ship and how bad the ship’s lounge show was that night. Also you’ll learn that airlines make your flying experience miserable on purpose. Ken tells you how and why they do this and whether there’s anything you can do to prevent it.
Ken shares five different stories this week – how to avoid the “casting couch,” how to rewrite Neil Simon (if you dare), Hollywood screenings, what not to do at Hollywood parties (a painful but hilarious lesson), and Ken’s most memorable home run call (that he’s still hearing about 25 years later).
Ken’s guest is Randy Thomas, one of the premier live event voice over artists in the country. She has been the voice of the Oscars, Tonys, and Emmys. She tells what really happened during that colossal snafu at this year’s Academy Awards. She also discusses her career, what it takes to be a VO artist, how to break in, do’s and don’ts, and of course “Hooked On Phonics.” For anyone wanting to make a living with their voice, this episode is for YOU.
How does a successful sitcom writer become a major league baseball announcer? In this episode Ken shares his “Walter Mitty” story of how a midlife crisis turned into a second career. Also, you’ll hear a sample of Ken’s play-by-play.
Everyone has “ideas” in Hollywood. But how do you sell them? Ken discusses the art of pitching and how to turn those ideas into actual TV shows and movies. With techniques that apply to selling any product, Ken tells you the do’s and don’ts of pitching. He also shares his worst pitching story, and gets you ready for baseball season with “Who’s On First?”
To avoid NBC giving away a big surprise in an episode of FRASIER that Ken co-write, they slipped it in at the last minute and NBC aired it sight unseen. The peacock was not pleased. Also, hear about the time Ken got thrown off THE DATING GAME, the CHEERS episode he co-wrote wound up in a Playboy Magazine expose, and you’ll meet the most bizarre radio personality you will ever hear.
In this week’s episode Ken tells the story of how he and David Isaacs met, became writing partners, and finally broke into the business – learning lessons, making rookie mistakes (that you can avoid), and discovering the little edges that will place you out in front in a very competitive field.