Annoy a TV Writer? You Might End up as the Namesake of a Psychotic Character on TV

Aug 20, 2010  •  Post A Comment

In an amusing look at the power of television writers, the Wall Street Journal’s Amy Chozick looks at how writers sometimes take out frustrations by naming characters after people who have wronged them or by introducing unflattering plot lines to get payback 

For instance, after receiving some poor reviews from Entertainment Weekly, the writers of USA’s "Psych" decided to name a psychotic killer doctor "Ken Tucker," the name of the real-life TV critic for the publication, the story says (note: the WSJ is behind a paywall, so not all readers may be able to access the story.) "It was never ‘Dr. Tucker’ or just ‘Ken.’ It was always ‘Did Ken Tucker eviscerate the body?’" says Jeff Wachtel, programming chief for the network. Tucker says that, for his part, he didn’t mind finding his name attached to a villain: "It shows you’re not wishy-washy. You have strong opinions and people react strongly to them."

When Matthew Weiner, the creator of "Mad Men," worked as a writer on "The Sopranos," he put the name of a former employer on a gravestone in a cemetery scene, the article says. "Unless you’re Spielberg or Scorsese, there’s no other gig where you have that kind of power," says "Cougar Town" co-creator Bill Lawrence.

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