Read Louis C.K.'s Exhaustive Account of What Writing for TV Is Like

Slate's Culture Blog
Jan. 31 2012 1:22 PM

Did You See This? Louis C.K. Explains How TV Works

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Louis C.K in Beverly Hills earlier this month.

Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images For AFI

Yesterday, Deadline reported that a TV pilot that Louis C.K. and Spike Feresten wrote 13 years ago had been resurrected. A producer convinced C.K. and Feresten to rewrite the script if he could sell it, which he did, to CBS. The network has now greenlit the pilot of the show, which is about "young people trying to achieve their creative dreams in these tough financial times."

David Haglund David Haglund

David Haglund is a senior editor at Slate. He runs Brow Beat, Slate's culture blog.

The news prompted a writer at comedy website Third Beat to dig up a long message C.K. posted to "a comedy-related newsgroup" on Usenet in 2006. In it, C.K. exhaustively describes the TV-writing process. His underrated show Lucky Louie, which only lasted one season on HBO, had just made it to air, and C.K. recounts in detail how it went from pitch to script to pilot to series, with colorful commentary for each step of the way:

So now you hate all of life and it’s about the second week in January. People you know are starting to hear that their pilot has been picked up by the network you’re with. And you haven’t heard. You spend HOURS on the phone with your agent and friends, trying to read tea leaves that aren’t there. You run into someone that tells you they just had anal sex with the network president who told them that he is definitely picking up your show. Then your agent calls and tells you they’re passing. OR you get a call from your studio executive who tells you that, congratulations, they’re going to shoot your pilot.
Now it’s time to actually make the pilot. Holy mother fucking shit.
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Read the rest, which is all pretty illuminating. (Via Splitsider.)

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