TV writer Paul Guyot continues his unflinchingly honest and informative chronicle on the development and production of the pilot he wrote for TNT. The network subsequently brought in a big-name showrunner and Paul found himself relegated to the sidelines (despite assurances to the contrary). Sadly, this happens all the time in our business and Paul, being a pro, knows that. Even so, it still hurts when it happens.
What has been the hardest thing for me to deal with is that the network has
completely supported the showrunner and his "tweaking" of my script. My story.
My setting. My characters. After telling me (in the beginning), that they wanted
something unique and edgy (sic), what they now have that they so dearly
love, is the very thing they told me specifically they didn’t want… a typical
TV show. And not a conference call goes by that someone doesn’t rave about how
much better the script is now.
Hey look, it may be better. The
guy has Emmys and I don’t. I just wish the network had given me a shot to do
this other version, and then brought in their high-priced Showrunner.
It’s like this – the network wanted me to hit a home run. So in my first
at-bat, I hit a double to left. But instead of getting another swing, they bring
in another guy and he hits a double to right, and they all cheer and say,
"That’s just what we wanted! A double to right!"
But again, nature of
the beast, folks. Don’t feel sorry for me – I already took care of that. No need
to post comments about how much they suck or whatever. This is TV. Ask Lee.
Happens all the time. As I said earlier – you have two choices in these matters
– quit or ride it out. I chose to ride it out. Though it’s being done
differently than how I’d do it, and I’m being basically ignored throughout the
entire process, I’m holding on. I want to feed my kids. I don’t have the luxury
of conviction. And someone much smarter than me once warned about the paralysis
of conviction. Especially when it wasn’t your story to begin with.