Today we discuss politics and TV with renowned writers Michael Saltzman and Michael Reisz. Having been involved in the landmark series “Murphy Brown,” as well as currently writing for “Mad Men,” Saltzman is ever-engaging in his perspective. Weisz also brings a keen eye to the table, having worked in front of the camera, as well as writing and producing.
We talk about the “liberal agenda” of Hollywood writers, the political climate on television, the impact of female leads, and thoughts on current shows.
Michael Saltzman is a graduate of Chadwick School, Yale University, and Columbia University’s Graduate School Of Journalism. He first worked at CBS News’ “48 Hours” as a production assistant and free-lanced for “Premiere” magazine. He returned to Los Angeles to write for television. He began his TV writing career as Story Editor on ABC’s “Anything But Love.”
He moved to NBC’s “Wings” for two years, working under the multi-Emmy winning team of David Lee, Peter Casey, and David Angell. His next position was on CBS’ “Murphy Brown,” where he received an Emmy nomination as Producer and, over the course of his 4 years on the show, worked his way to Executive Producer.
Saltzman then worked at NBC Studios under an overall deal, during which time he took over as Executive Producer on NBC’s “The Naked Truth.”
Saltzman currently serves as a writer and Consulting Producer on the multi-Emmy-winning AMC drama, “Mad Men.” He is an Adjunct Professor at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, where he teaches a course in writing for television.
Michael Reiszis a Peabody Award winning writer/producer, who is currently the Co Executive Producer on USA’s “In Plain Sight,” starring Mary McCormack. His previous credits include Emmy Award winning “Boston Legal,” NBC’s “Outlaw” and the CW’s “Privileged.” Michael recently sold a character driven thriller to ABC Family, which he’ll be turning in soon (hopefully).
Prior to his writing and producing career, Michael spent eight years as a successful actor, both on camera and doing voiceover for animation. His films include starring roles in the anime features “Metropolis” and “Cowboy Bebop.” On television, Michael spent four years as a lead in “Digimon,” along with live action series “Star Trek: Voyager” and “Days of Our Lives.”
Michael started his career as a lawyer, practicing banking and finance litigation. Michael’s parents were less than thrilled with his decision to jump from law, but ever since he named a judge on Boston Legal after his father, they’ve come to grips with it.
00:01 Media Mayhem Intro.
00:53 Introducing Michael Saltzman and Michael Reisz.
04:04 The John Edwards trial.
06:06 Demi Lovato’s nightclub scandal revelations
09:10 Negative coverage and tabloid journalism.
09:57 Murphy Brown and the scandals and publicity of a generation ago.
12:33 Topical issues on Boston Legal and courting controversy.
15:50 Is Hollywood a place that pushes a liberal agenda?
20:40 Gays on television and the inherent progressive agenda present.
27:00 The portrayal of women on television.
37:57 The entertainment community’s reaction to PROP 8.
42:59 Boston Legal and the health care debate and portrayal of conservatives.
45:21 The Naked Truth; “The only show in history that was three different shows in three different seasons.”
47:28 Accelerated storytelling in the internet age.
50:15 The Mayhem Round.
51:00 The college debt crisis and exploding costs of education.
58:46 Anti-heroes and the decline of heroes on tv.
1:03:19 Backlash against “The Killing,” and having themes for a tv show mapped out years in advance.
1:07:45 Catering to the audience of tv.
1:10:29 Thanks and goodbye!