TV by the book

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

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The upcoming book "Billion-Dollar Kiss: The Kiss that Saved 'Dawson's Creek' and Other Adventures in TV Writing" ($27, Gotham Books) will likely be much-discussed by TV insiders. It's not exactly a roman-a-clef -- author Jeffrey Stepakoff rarely names names in his memoir about life as a writer for prime-time TV shows, including "Dawson's Creek," "Hyperion Bay" and "Major Dad" -- but he does offer some much-needed insight on the TV creation process.

Book jacket courtesy Gotham Books
"Kiss" goes behind the scenes of the TV business to explore the role of the writer in the creative process.

But there is one revelation that's bound to get tongues wagging around Hollywood. He quotes former WB executive John Litvack, now a co-executive producer on The CW's "Smallville," as referring to "Dawson's" cast member Michelle Williams as a "chipmunk-cheeked [a vulgarity that rhymes with 'punt']!"

The anecdote comes as Stepakoff recounts Litvack's "guidance" of a couple of shows during his tenure as a WB executive. In this instance, Litvack did not cotton to a story pitched for Williams' character, cutting off a writer making the pitch with, "I don't care about that chipmunk-cheeked [see above]!"

That a Hollywood executive would be profane comes as no surprise, but to be that profane in a work environment is likely to get folks talking.

I'll be writing more about Stepakoff's insights about the process of writing for prime-time television in an upcoming column.


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