040 – Phil Klemmer (Veronica Mars, Chuck)

Today brings not just one but two interviews with Phil Klemmer, a writer on all five seasons of Chuck, and all four seasons of Veronica Mars. We also launch the new “Video Tips” segment of the podcast, and welcome a number of new sponsors.

After graduating with a classics major at Stanford, Phil Klemmer moved to L.A. and became a reader for Propaganda Films. There, he worked with such names as Michel Gondry and Spike Jonze, though his first break would come through Rob Thomas, who he met through Rob’s “crazy Halloween parties.”

Based on a Six Feet Under spec script that Phil wrote in two weeks, Rob hired him to write on Veronica Mars, a job that would last four seasons.

After Veronica Mars, Phil got a job on NBC’s Chuck, a show that has always been on the bubble for renewal. After the third season, renewal news came late, and most of the Chuck writers, including Phil, took jobs on other shows.

Phil describes what it was like to work on NBC’s Undercovers, a show that he says was doomed even before it aired, and then how he fortuitously returned to Chuck mid-season, immediately after Undercovers was cancelled.

Then Klemmer talks about the present, sharing how the cast and crew of Chuck are gelling like never before, but are already nostalgic about the end, as Chuck wraps up production for good on December 7th.

In the Video Tips section, Gray talks about how easy it is to add custom color looks to your showcase film or webisodes using Red Giant Software’s Magic Bullet Suite.

Buy Gray’s book for only $4.99! Look for it on Amazon – How To Break In To TV Writing: Insider Interviews.

Didn’t get your questions asked? Make sure you follow Gray on Twitter (@GrayJones) so you can get the scoop on who is being interviewed and how to get your questions in. Also check out our TV Writer Twitter Database to find Twitter addresses for over 1,000 TV writers. Find our previous episodes and other resources at www.tvwriterpodcast.com or on Gray’s YouTube channel.

038 – Kristin Newman (Chuck, That 70’s Show)

Comedy writer Kristin Newman spent almost 10 years writing on very well-known comedies, and had her own pilot shot and picked up to series (though not aired). She now brings her talents to a one-hour drama, on NBC’s Chuck.

Kristin Newman got an early break, with a production staff job on Everybody Loves Raymond. She graduated to writer’s assistant on Nikita, Mad About You, and That 70s Show.

She ended up stuck in the 70s (in a good way!) for the next seven years, rising up from staff writer to supervising producer. Moving on to How I Met Your Mother as co-executive producer, she also landed an overall deal at Fox … which was unfortunately cut short when the 2007 writers strike happened.

Because of an injury, Kristin was not able to walk the picket lines. What could she do? She wrote the pilot Single With Parents, which was shot with Alyssa Milano and Beau Bridges, and picked up to series … though it unfortunately never aired.

Then came NBC’s Chuck. She entered the staff as co-executive producer in its fourth season, and is currently breaking the series finale. Make sure to watch the final season, when Chuck returns on Friday, October 28th!

Buy Gray’s book for only $4.99! Look for it on Amazon – How To Break In To TV Writing: Insider Interviews.

Didn’t get your questions asked? Make sure you follow Gray on Twitter (@GrayJones) so you can get the scoop on who is being interviewed and how to get your questions in. Also check out our TV Writer Twitter Database to find Twitter addresses for over 1,000 TV writers. Find our previous episodes and other resources at www.tvwriterpodcast.com or on Gray’s YouTube channel.

008 – Ali Adler (Chuck, No Ordinary Family)

As we begin our Women TV Writers series, we are excited to have two interviews with Ali Adler, Co-Executive Producer and writer of ABC’s exciting new show, No Ordinary Family.


Gray kicks off the episode with a discussion on the current employment statistics for women and minorities in TV writing.

Then, we feature an interview Gray had with Ali in February 2009, when she talked about how she got started writing, her career path, her work with the Young Storytellers Foundation, and also much about the process of writing Chuck.

In Gray’s latest interview with Ali, they discuss her experiences on various staffs, her opinion on how to motivate women to break in, and much about her experiences on her new show, No Ordinary Family. She answers many fan questions, and teases about what’s to come in what she promises are some very strong upcoming episodes.

[ed. note: Ali Adler is now the show runner for Supergirl on CBS.]

Buy Gray’s book for only $4.99! Look for it on Amazon – How To Break In To TV Writing: Insider Interviews.

Didn’t get your questions asked? Make sure you follow Gray on Twitter (@GrayJones) so you can get the scoop on who is being interviewed and how to get your questions in. Also check out our TV Writer Twitter Database to find Twitter addresses for over 1,000 TV writers. Find our previous episodes and other resources at www.tvwriterpodcast.com or on Gray’s YouTube channel.

007 – V Showrunner Scott Rosenbaum

What if you were called in to run a show that had just aired its first four episodes, and was put on hold? That happened to former Chuck writer/co-executive producer Scott Rosenbaum, and it he accepted the challenge!

It wasn’t easy, but Scott steered the show V into new waters, and it has gotten stronger and stronger ever since.


You’ll be fascinated to hear how Scott lost his writing staff due to production delays, and had to deliver the last two episodes and the pitch for season 2 by himself, with just the studio as a sounding board!

Hear also how he selected the season 2 writing staff, his advice for writing spec scripts, how to properly prepare for a staffing interview, and how a chance meeting ended up securing an actor for one of the most important new characters in season 2.

We also include an interview Gray had with Scott back in March 2010, just before his first V episodes started to air. In this interview he shares his career path, from how he got started as a writer to his work on Chuck, including insight on why “bottle episodes” often end up being the strongest.

Buy Gray’s book for only $4.99! Look for it on Amazon – How To Break In To TV Writing: Insider Interviews.

Didn’t get your questions asked? Make sure you follow Gray on Twitter (@GrayJones) so you can get the scoop on who is being interviewed and how to get your questions in. Also check out our TV Writer Twitter Database to find Twitter addresses for over 1,000 TV writers. Find our previous episodes and other resources at www.tvwriterpodcast.com or on Gray’s YouTube channel.

EXCLUSIVE: Chuck Season 4 Writers Confirmed

Chuck Season 4 Writers

EXCLUSIVE: Chuck writer Lauren LeFranc emailed me tonight, and told me the full roster of writers for season 4 of NBC’s Chuck.

Here is the new Chuck staff (Click name to see IMDB profile):

(Returning) Josh Schwartz
(Returning) Chris Fedak
(Returning) Rafe Judkins
(Returning) Lauren LeFranc
(NEW) Nicholas Wootton
(NEW) Kristin Newman
(NEW) Craig DiGregorio
(NEW) Henry Alonso Myers

Please note that while we already knew about the departure of Scott Rosenbaum, Ali Adler, Matt Miller, and Phil Klemmer, this means that Zev Borow and Max Denby are also not on the Chuck staff this year.