The Writers Panel

After more than a decade of reporting crime from the streets of Baltimore, how did a career journalist like David Simon learn to navigate a TV writers’ room? The outcome was in no small part due to the indispensable guidance of veteran TV producer Tom Fontana. Together, they brought Simon’s realistic characterization to Homicide: Life on the Street. Separately, the two would go on to create series that defined HBO and stand out as part of the TV revolution: Oz and The Wire. Join Simon and Fontana as they reflect on their earlier and vastly different experiences in the realm of 90s broadcast TV.

Moderated by Beau Willimon (creator, House of Cards) Recorded at ATX Television Festival on June 11, 2016.

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Direct download: nwp283_simon_fontana.mp3
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The creator of Six Feet Under and True Blood discusses the creation of his seminal HBO series, exploring death, working with actors, swinging 180 degrees for his vampire soap opera, writing American Beauty in reaction to his experiences on sit-coms like Grace Under Fire, and more.

Direct download: nwp282_alan_ball.mp3
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Norman Lear (creator of All in the Family, The Jeffersons, Good Times, Maude, One Day at a Time, and more) is interviewed by Katey Sagal (actor, Married with Children, Sons of Anarchy) following a screening of the new documentary about Lear, Just Another Version of You. Then, Lear is joined by Nahnatchka Khan (creator, Fresh Off the Boat), David Windsor (executive producer, The Real O’Neals), Phil Rosenthal (creator, Everybody Loves Raymond), and Hollis Rich (co-creator, State of Grace) for a conversation about “The New American Family” and its portrayal in TV comedies. Moderated by Variety's Debra Birnbaum. Recorded at ATX Television Festival on June 10, 2016. Plus: amazing cover of the All in the Family theme by Jean Grae and Ted Leo!

Get your badge now for ATX's sixth season, June 8-11 2017, at

Direct download: nwp281_lear.mp3
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The best-selling authors of House of Secrets discuss what each of them brings to their co-writing, learning from each other, comic books, and more.

Direct download: nwp280_meltzer.mp3
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WGA vice-president David Goodman (Family Guy) and David Slack (Person of Interest; Teen Titans Go!) take a good look at the Writers Guild and discuss why writers need a union, what the union does, what was gained by the 2008 writers' strike, and how the union might improve.

Direct download: nwp279_goodman_slack.mp3
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The showrunner of Veep discusses taking over those duties in the just-aired season 5, early writing opportunities with Al Franken, his three years on Saturday Night Live, his time on Seinfeld, scripting Curb Your Enthusiasm, and lots more.

Direct download: nwp278_mandel.mp3
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Head writer Matt O'Brien, Mike Sweeney, Todd Levin, Dan Cronin, Jessie Gaskill, Jose Arroyo, Leah Krinsky, Levi MacDougall, and Andres Dubouchet.

Recorded April 14, 2016 at the Nerdist Theater at Meltdown Comics.

Direct download: nwp276_conan.mp3
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Joe Pokaski (creator, Underground), Mike O'Malley (Shameless; creator, Survivor's Remorse), Stephnie Weir (MadTV; The Millers), and Hugh Sterbakov (Robot Chicken). Recorded April 24, 2016 at the Nerdist Theater at Meltdown Comics.

Direct download: nwp275_poaski_omalley_weir_sterbakov.mp3
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The showrunner of Cinemax's Outcast (based on the Robert Kirkman comics) talks about his start in syndicated shows like Weird Science, Cleopatra 2525, and Xena, his work on Star Trek: Enterprise, moving out of genre with Desperate Housewives and Ugly Betty, rooms he learned in, pitching, and more. If you're in LA, join Chris, Robert Kirkman, and cast members to watch the first two episodes of Outcast at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery on June 1st! Outcast premieres on Cinemax on June 3rd.

Direct download: nwp274_chris_black.mp3
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The creator of Rude Awakening, Accidentally on Purpose, and How to Live with Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life) discusses starting out as a teen actor on Knots Landing, transitioning to stand-up comedy and then writing, heartbreaks and joys of the shows she's worked on, and lots more. Plus: hear Claudia cry when she recounts the plot of Star Trek 2.

Direct download: nwp273_lonow.mp3
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