With almost one hundred questions submitted, phase one of The 10 TV Question Challenge was a huge success. Now comes the hard part — picking the top 10 questions that will be sent out to every showrunner that has a show on the air this fall. In the comments below, or via email please post the top 10 questions you’d most like to see answered (Feel free to simply post the question numbers, not the entire question!)
1. Which of your character(s) if any do you most relate to personally?
2. When making/writing a pilot, how far into the show’s run and storylines do you see into the future of the show?
3. The way it is today, less and less people every day are willing to “invest” in new shows, especially serialized ones, before the first season ended (and a second one got ordered), to avoid the pain of seeing the network took yet another good show off the air after only a few episodes. Some say this can only hurt the shows, and have them actually be taken off the air sooner, while others explains this is only a reaction to the networks’ behaviors. What is your opinion on this subject ? Do you invest in new (serialized) show as soon as they start?
4. One of the best thing when watching a show is to be surprised. Many writers try hard to surprise their audience, yet there are more and more spoilers out there every day. Sometime even released by networks themselves (Lost, TCA press tour), making it even harder not to know about them. How do you feel about this ? Are you for having the highest “secrecy” possible regarding your show, or controlling whatever comes out ? If so, do you sometimes releasing false info on purpose?
5. More and more people watch TV online, using TiVo, etc. Yet networks still rely on those old Nielsens ratings to decide whether or not a show is watched, or should be taken off the air as fast as possible (sadly). Do you fear that, despite being watched a lot and generating a many fan reactions over the Internet, your show could be in danger due to low (irrelevant) ratings?
6. Do you fear that you couldn’t write the show the way you intend to because of external factors (actors avaibility, network decisions, etc)?
7. Again last year, episodes of different shows (Criminal Minds, Bones) were taken off the air for being “too close” to real-life drama. Don’t you think it is “stupid” to take a show that is about serial killers off the air for such “reason”, especially while in the mean time a show about Katrina is in the making… ?
8. When crafting story-lines, how much of a factor is online fan reaction?
9. Except yours, what is the current TV show you think is the best and you would recommand everyone to watch, and why?
10. If you had the opportunity and/or wherewithall to do a George Lucas and go back and add material to already aired episodes — are there any you would chnage? If so, how?
11. What sort of compromises have you had to make in your vision for the show due to budget constraints? What sorts of things have you had to change?
12. Given how collaborative television is, with actors, writers, directors, etc. all leaving their mark, are there any ways in which your show and the characters on your show have developed differently than how you originally envisioned them?
13. If you could get anyone to guest star, or even star, on your show, who would it be?
14. How do you feel about having “controversial” characters, such as ones who are gay or have religious beliefs differing from the show’s other characters?
15. What is one thing that your character has or done that you would like to do or have?
16. What new television show are YOU most excited for?
17. If you had no financial or network limits, what storyline would you most love to do?
18. If you could choose one of the following fates for your show, what would it be? Critical acclaim or ratings hit.
19. How much influence on casting and plot points does the commentary of fans online have on your work?
20. Do you have any books, TV shows or films that act as touchstone influences for this show?
21. If you could get anyone to direct an episode this season, who would be on your dream list?
22. Is there any major piece(s) of information that is not in the first few episodes of your show this season, that might be good for us to know while watching? I’m talking about a character detail, a plot point – anything, really.
23. If you attended Comic Con this year – how was it for you and the show?
24. If given the choice, would you prefer to scale back your show’s season from twenty-two episodes to sixteen or twelve. Allowing more time for writing and planning?
25. Does knowing that you can be yanked off the air at any minute help or hurt the writing process?
26. What can you tell us about the new season?
27. Do you think spoiler specific reporters or sites help or hinder a show? And what are you general thought about spoilers?
28. What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done to get a writer, director or actor onto your show?
29. How much input do you let your actors have on the development of their characters?
30. A lot of fans and critics feel the worst thing any show or showrunner can do is betray that shows characters (i.e. killing them off for no reason, make them do things completely out of character, turning them evil or erasing their memory) …In your opnion what’s the worst thing you’ve seen other shows do, that you would never do?
31. What guest star did you enjoy working with the most and why?
32.With the television landscape being so competitive, do you find you’re under pressure to do ‘crazy’ things with your characters that you may have not otherwise done. Ie. kill off a character just to surprise the audience, bring in a new character to get media attention.
33. Do you believe all the extra multimedia content eg. online character blogs or graphic novels hurt or help the shows storylines and characters?
34. Now that networks want every show to have a blog, commentary etc… do you find all this extra work takes away from writing a quality show.
35. If you could re-imagine one show from the past (ie. BATTLESTAR GALACTICA) what show would it be and what ‘take’ would you have on it.
36. What is your opinion on having episodes broadcasted on the internet? Do you find it beneficial to the show exposure-wise?
37. What is the ultimate success for your show in your opinion?
38. Which episode do you feel has been your greatest sucess? greatest disappointment? and from which did you learn more vaulubale lessons?
39. Do you ever think about releasing a Directors Cut of some of your episodes…The way you really mean for it to be seen, with out the guidelines and restrictions of broadcast TV?
40. To sell your show to the fans, what is the one episode you think they should watch?
41. Have you ever released “spoiler” (real or fake) info, just to see the online reaction and speculation?
42. what is your one guilty pleasure tv show… the one you don’t want to admit to loving, but can’t help but Tivo?
43. Do you find nowadays you have to spend just as much time ‘selling’ you show, as you do writing it?
44. What’s the stupidest question that you’ve ever been asked by a television reporter?
45. What can be done to stave off the onslaught of (un)reality TV? Please, make it stop.
46. Ever model a story arc after a real-life event?
47. Do you TIVO any shows? Any must see tv shows that you can’t resist seeing? (NO matter how many times you’ve seen an episode.)
48. Name some of your favorite episodes and how might you give a nod (an insider joke) on your show to pay homage to them?
49. Which (besides your own show) is your favorite TV-Show on television, that you’re actually watching?
50. When you have a concept of a new show, do you already know how the show is going to end or do you just start of with an idea of how it might develop and develop the storylines while you’re filming?
51. Which TV-Show did you watch during your childhood that inspired your work?
52. How would you describe your show in one sentence to someone who doesn’t know what it is about?
53. Taking into account online fan reaction, have you ever been in a story arc and realize it just isn’t working and change the ending to better suit the fans? What about the network? How much pressure do they apply to the story arcs and the endings of them?
54. With the young hollywood set always in the news, how difficult is it to separate an actor from the hype (fact/fiction) when casting. Ever hire a young actor and realize that they are more trouble then they are worth and write them out/off?
55. What do you love most about working on your show?
56. Of all the shows on television, what do you think sets yours apart from all the others?
57. When expanding the world of your show, what factors do you take into account when adding new characters? (Recurring or otherwise)
58. How far ahead do you plan certain stories or arcs…do you know going in to the season, how that seasons going to end?
59. Have you ever had a topic or story turned down by the network that you really wanted to do?And how did you go about dealing with that?
60. Is there a topic or story that you haven’t done yet, that your dying to do?
61. When writing your show, closely do you take into account online fan reaction?
62. Assuming you read websites, blogs and message boards — are you hurt by negative comments or do you just let them roll off your back?