The Writers Panel with Ben Blacker

Our old pals Josh Friedman (showrunner, The Sarah Connor Chronicles; Avatar sequel), Aaron Ginsburg (The 100; Intelligence; The Good Guys), and Emily Halpern (co-creator, Trophy Wife) discuss the difficulty in getting things made in 2014, the buying trend of established brands, comedies that work, Serial, the Dorothy Problem, the Doughnut Hole Problem, and lots more in this year-end wrap up. Also: Ben Blacker talks about changes to the podcast!


Direct download: nwp171_year_review.mp3
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Since starting out as an assistant on Freaks and Geeks and her first staff writer job on Undeclared, Jenni Konner has gone on to write and produce shows for network television and cable. She's now the co-showrunner of HBO's Girls with show creator Lena Dunham. Jenni talks about how the Girls room works, what she's learned from Judd Apatow, the fun of punch-up sessions, and lots more.

Direct download: nwp170_jenni_konner.mp3
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Ben Queen (creator, A to Z), Kim Shumway (The 100; Dallas), Deirdre Mangan (I, Zombie). Getting back to our “panel” roots by throwing together three writers from different backgrounds and experiences to talk about the business and process of writing for TV!


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The creator of CBS's hit Scorpion and the beloved Prison Break talks about his work habits, blending drama and comedy, transitioning from law to screenwriting, what he looks for in putting together a room, and more. 

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Creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg and designer Lisa Hanawalt discuss the conception of the animated comedy, Raphael's inspiration from Lisa's middle-school drawings, the freedom of working with Netflix, going dark and serialized, and lots more.

Get the new digital-only comics from Ben Acker & Ben Blacker at Origin issues of The Thrilling Adventure Hour's Sparks Nevada, Marshal on Mars, and Beyond Belief!


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The creators of the USA comedy, Michaela Watkins (Saturday Night Live; Trophy Wife) and Damon Jones (Halfway Home) discuss issue-driven comedy, long takes, complicated characters, selling their series twice, their writers' room, and lots more. Benched airs Tuesday nights on USA!


Direct download: nwp166_benched.mp3
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Erica Messer has been with Criminal Minds from its first day and has been promoted through the ranks to showrunner of the long-running CBS series. She talks about the big changes the show has made over the years, where the staff finds stories, balancing personal stories with crime procedural, and her beginnings on such shows as Party of Five, Alias, and The OC.

Direct download: nwp165_erica_messer.mp3
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Producer Ryan Patrick McGuffey, director Des Doyle, and author Tara Bennett (who wrote the official companion to the film, Showrunners: The Art of Running a TV Show) discuss showrunning and showrunners, what sort of a person becomes one, what they discovered in making their documentary, their inspiration for the film, and lots more. Showrunners premiered at the Austin Film Fest last week and is in theaters starting October 31.



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The showrunner of Red Band Society and Mistresses talks about writing at the heyday of the WB, having worked on Jack & Jill, Dawson's Creek, and Everwood (eventually running the latter), developing the delightful Privileged only to find it didn't fit the new CW brand, and rising to the occasion of running other creators' shows.


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The creator of Broadchurch and its American remake, Fox's Gracepoint, as well as Born and Bred, discusses writing personal stories, show-running Torchwood and Law & Order: UK, writing for Doctor Who and Life on Mars, advice from Russell T. Davies, his beginnings as a playwright, and lots more.

Direct download: nwp162_chris_chibnall.mp3
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The creator of WGN's terrific series Manhattan talks about his inspiration for the show, relationships with writers, balancing his characters' stories with historical fact, what he learned from working on Masters of Sex, and lots more.    

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The showrunners of both Marvel's Agent Carter series debuting in January and ABC's Resurrection (second season Sept 28) talk about their long writing partnership, what they learned from their colleagues on series as diverse as Law & Order: SVU, Dollhouse, and Hawaii 5-0, and creating a happy workplace with their own series, Reaper.


Direct download: nwp160_fazekas_butters.mp3
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Creator/executive producer Jonah Nolan (The Dark Knight), executive producer/co-showrunner Greg Plageman (NYPD Blue), and writers/producers Lucas O'Connor, Erik Mountain, Ashley Gable, and Andy Callahan chat about the 4th season of the hit CBS drama, big decisions about the series, the changing nature of its characters and interests, and lots more. Season 4 premieres tonight!



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The writer of the lauded horror film You're Next as well as the upcoming The Guest talks about writing for himself and his creative partner Adam Wingard as well as for an audience, walks us through his late nights of writing, his attempts to write films differently, and lots more. The Guest is in theaters this week.


Direct download: nwp158_simon_barrett.mp3
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Live from SDCC 2014, it's the Nerdist Podcast Super Panel with Matt Mira (Nerdist, James Bonding), Jonah Ray (Nerdist, Jonah Raydio), Janet Varney (The JV Club), Cole Stratton (Pop My Culture), Gil Letelier (The Mutant Season), Ben Blacker (Nerdist Writers Panel, Nerdist Comics Panel, Thrilling Adventure Hour), Ben Acker (Thrilling Adventure Hour), Sandra Daugherty (Sex Nerd Sandra) and Dave Ross (Terrified)!

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Creators of the Hulu original series, director Nancy Hower and actor John Lehr, talk about their improvised Western procedural sit-com, how they collaborate, comedy influences, their previous show, TBS's 10 Items or Less, and lots more. Season 2 of Quick Draw continues on Hulu through September!

Some live Nerdist Writers Panels coming up!

Sept 21, 5pm at Meltdown with the writers of Person of

Oct 9, 7pm at the Housing Works Bookstore in Soho with Terence Winter (creator of Boardwalk Empire), Danny Strong (writer of the Hunger Games: Mockingjay adaptations), and comics writer Ales Kot (Secret Avengers):

Plus: live Nerdist Comics Panels in NY with Brian Michael Bendis, Charles Soule, and more to be announced soon!

Direct download: nwp157_quickdraw.mp3
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With Liz Tigelaar (Nashville; Bates Motel; creator, Life Unexpected), Kyle Killer (creator, Awake and Lone Star), Mark Johnson (EP, Rectify), Bryan Seabury (VP, Drama Development at CBS), David Madden (President, Fox TV Studios). Moderated by the AV Club's Todd VanDerWerff.

The serialized drama has evolved drastically in the past thirty years. Leading characters have shifted from heroes to anti-heroes, and stories have moved from clear good vs. evil to murky immorality that leaves audiences unsure whom they should root for. Today’s leading drama producers and writers discuss current trends in their genre, including: the expansion to dark and depraved worlds, advantages (or challenges) that come with network or cable (or online), viewing habits of audiences, and if any of these factors have an impact on how they choose to tell their story.

Direct download: nwp156_drama.mp3
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Kyle Killen (Awake; Lone Star) knows more about ratings than he cares to, and he's going to break it down for you starting with who, what, when, where, or IF watching matters. Dissecting Neilsen, DVRs, live viewing, social media, and streaming, he’ll answer questions like: What's a share? How everyone you know can be talking, tweeting and watching a show, but it still gets canceled? And why do ratings equal cancellation on one network but a hit on another? Following his 15 minute presentation, Killen sits down with top critics Alan Sepinwall (Hitfix), Matthew Zoller Seitz (Vulture), Todd Vanderwerff (A.V. Club), and Tara Ariano ( to discuss TV's growth in the past decade, where its going, and their contributions to a show's fate.


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Creators Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino talk about bringing their adventure/action/comedy/coming-of-age animated series to the screen, finding a new process for producing animated television, their non-cancelation, the big screen adaptation, and lots more. The “Book 3” finale is available this Friday at and on many other platforms!

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The author of such young-adult novels as The Name of the Star (first of the “Shades of London” series), 13 Little Blue Envelopes, and Suite Scarlett talks about writing and writing and writing...

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Whether it's a beloved relationship (Jason Katims' About a Boy), a specific tone (Noah Hawley's Fargo), a foreign format (Andy Daly's Review), or a tale with a pre-determined ending (Carlton Cuse's Bates Motel), a reimagined story looks to balance the previously told one with an innovative new viewpoint that makes it worth revisiting. Moderated by Hitfix's Alan Sepinwall at the ATX Television Festival on June 7 2014.

Direct download: nwp152_reboot.mp3
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Thomas Lennon (co-creator, Reno 911; Night at the Museum; @midnight) and Neal Baer (showrunner, Under the Dome; ER; Law & Order: SVU). Recorded live at the Nerdist space at Petco Park during San Diego ComicCon, on July 24, 2014.

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The creator of Boardwalk Empire and Oscar nominee for his adaptation of the Wolf of Wall Street talks about his start in sit-coms, short-lived, and syndicated shows, lessons from great rooms (including The Sopranos), his interests in crime and cons (and some that he's pulled), and wrapping up his Empire.


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Mike Royce and Ray Romano (creators, Men of a Certain Age); Emily Halpern (co-creator, Trophy Wife), Andy Daly (co-creator, Review), and Kerry Ehrin (co-creator, Bates Motel) discuss working with another creative person, how pilots are created together, how the room works, and more.

PLUS: A panel with Men of a Certain Age creators Royce, Romano, and writer Lew Schneider, following a screening of episode 106, “Go with the Flow.”

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From this year's ATX Television Festival, an intimate discussion of his influences and TV inspirations, his mentors, tales on how he got his start, and his personal and professional highs and lows. Joined by Hitfix's Alan Sepinwall, Cuse talks about creating series like The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr., and Nash Bridges, to his time as a showrunner and executive producer of the controversial cultural phenomenon Lost alongside Damon Lindelof, to now balancing two different endeavors as co-creator, showrunner, writer and Executive Producer of A&E's Bates Motel and FX's The Strain.

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We last spoke with Wired editor Adam Rogers way back in episode 24 and discussed the book he had just begun. Now that book is here! Proof: The Science of Booze is a fascinating and immensely enjoyable survey of how your favorite spirit gets into your glass and what happens once you drink it. Rogers talks about the challenges and joys of writing the book. Get it now on Amazon

Direct download: nwp147_proof.mp3
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Graeme Manson and John Fawcett, creators of Orphan Black, talk about the long gestation period of their clone saga, how the show works, what each of them brings to the project, what happens in the room, and lots more. PLUS: a not-so-great recording (sorry!) of the Q&A that followed the screening of season 2's eighth episode, “Variable and Full of Perturbation.” Moderated by Variety's Laura Prudom at ATX Television Festival in Austin on June 7, 2014.


Direct download: nwp146_orphan.mp3
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Noah Hawley (creator of My Generation and The Unusuals) talks about adapting the Coen Brothers' movie for the ten-episode FX series, the atypical writing and production process for the show, and what may come next. PLUS: Hawley, producer Warren Littlefield, and Fargo stars Allison Tolman and Keith Carradine in a panel moderated by Hitfix's Alan Sepinwall following a screening of episode 9 at ATX Television Festival in Austin on June 7, 2014.


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Will Eubank has worked as a cinematographer for years in the film industry, and now his second feature as writer/director, The Signal, is being released by Focus Features. Will talks about how he got where he is, bringing visual style to scripts, and more. The Signal is in select theaters on June 13th.


Direct download: nwp144_signal.mp3
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This is not the name of a terrible TV procedural, but rather the topic of discussion with lawyer Larry Zerner and lawer-turned-TV-writer David Hudgins (Friday Night Lights). What do writers, especially beginning writers, need to know about their rights? About copyright? About contracts? These questions and more are addressed.

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Second City luminary Craig Cackowski (Community; Veep), and Second City alumni Mark Gagliardi and Hal Lublin (Thrilling Adventure Hour) discuss improvisation techniques and uses for aspiring actors at a panel at Chicago's C2E2. So much of this applies to writing as well—after all, what is improv but creating worlds, situations, and characters in the moment—that it seems well worth sharing.

Recorded April 27, 2014

Direct download: nwp142_improv.mp3
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Creator/co-showrunner Kevin Biegel (co-creator, Cougar Town) and co-showrunner Mike Royce (co-creator, Men of a Certain Age) discuss the critically beloved Fox comedy, why it's personal for them both, breaking stories, and more.


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Creator/executive producer Jonathan Nolan (The Dark Knight; Interstellar) and executive producer Greg Plageman (NYPD Blue; Cold Case) sit down to talk about the hit CBS show, balancing procedural, sci-fi, and personal stories, working in the room, and more.

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Ben Blacker sits down with Children of Tendu hosts Javier Grillo-Marxuatch (Helix; creator, The Middleman) and Jose Molina (Sleepy Hollow; Terra Nova) and their mentors Rene Echevarria (Star Trek: TNG/DS9; Dark Angel; Medium; Terra Nova) and Naren Shankar (Star Trek: TNG/DS9; CSI; Almost Human) to talk about room behavior, good bosses and great bosses, first scripts, and lots more.

For part 1 of the CoT/NWP crossover, go to

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Judalina Neira (who went from the NBC writers program to being writers' assistant on Do No Harm) and Heidi Cole McAdams (who moved from development to writing for ABC's Intelligence), so-called “baby writers,” staff writers who recently have been given their first break, sit down with Ben Blacker and Wade McIntyre (Intelligence) to talk about breaking in, agents, and everything new TV writers should know.

Direct download: nwp138_writers.mp3
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Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, writers of Captain America: Winter Soldier, Thor: The Dark World, The Chronicles of Narnia, and more, chat about their process, being architects of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, being pleasant to work with, and more.

Direct download: nwp137_america.mp3
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Scriptnotes hosts John August (Big Fish; Frankenweenie; Go) and Craig Mazin (The Hangover 2; Identity Thief) join NWP's Ben Blacker to talk about what Craig and John are working on, their writing habits, take questions from the audience, and more.

For part one of the podcast, go to Scriptnotes:

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Jonathan Groff (creator, Andy Barker PI; Happy Endings; Scrubs); Rob Doherty (creator, Elementary); Steven Maeda (Helix; Pan Am; Lost; X-Files).

Recorded March 16, 2014

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UCB co-founder Matt Walsh (actor, Veep, Dog Bites Man) talks about his present project as writer/director, A Better You, which is currently running an IndieGoGo campaign to pay for post-production. Matt chats about scripting an improvised film, writing sketches, the early days of Comedy Central, and his influences.

Direct download: nwp134_walsh.mp3
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Andy Daly, writer/actor Andy Blitz, and writer/director Jeffrey Blitz discuss their terrific new Comedy Central show Review. How the show was made, Andy's character “Forrest McNeil,” how episodes are broken, and the arc of the show are discussed.

Direct download: nwp133_review.mp3
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Clark Gregg (writer/director: Choke; Trust Me; actor: Marvel's Agents of SHIELD); Dan Bucatinsky (writer: Web Therapy; Grey's Anatomy; actor: Scandal); Liz Vassey (writer: NBC bowling pilot; actor: CSI; The Tick)

Recorded March 9, 2014


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Moira Kirland (Arrow; Castle); Terry Matalas & Travis Fickett (SyFy's upcoming 12 Monkeys; Nikita; Terra Nova); and returning guest Douglas Petrie (Buffy; American Horror Story: Coven).

Recorded February 16, 2014.

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Phillip Iscove (co-creator, Sleepy Hollow); Dawn Prestwich and Nicole Yorkin (The Killing; Carnivale); Cole Haddon (creator, NBC's Dracula).

Recorded February 9, 2014.

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The creator of Hannibal, Pushing Daisies, Wonderfalls, and Dead Like Me discusses his work habits, putting a philosophy in every scene, death, collaboration, Star Trek, and lots more.

Recorded January 19, 2014.

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Michelle Ashford (creator, Masters of Sex); John Hamburg (Meet the Parents; Zoolander; creator, Welcome to the Captain), Carlos Coto (showrunner, From Dusk Till Dawn).

Direct download: nwp128_ashford.mp3
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The writers of Horrible Bosses, John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein (Burt Wonderstone; Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2) talk about their process, their breakthrough Blacklisted script called The $40,000 Man, learning how to pitch, their National Lampoon's Vacation reboot, and more.

Direct download: nwp127_daley.mp3
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Emmy Grinwis (MTV's upcoming Eye Candy); Deric Hughes and Benjamin Raab (Warehouse 13). A chat with up-and-coming writers about being up-and-coming writers, how they got noticed, writing and selling, and more.

Direct download: nwp126_raab.mp3
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Dan Harmon (creator, Community); Chris McKenna (Community); Justin Halpern & Patrick Schumacker (creators, Surviving Jack and $#*! My Dad Says); and Joe Henderson (Graceland; White Collar).

Recorded January 12, 2014.

Direct download: nwp125_harmon.mp3
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Former LA Weekly and Village Voice film critic Karina Longworth (Masters of Cinema: George Lucas) discusses her new book, Meryl Streep: Anatomy of an Actor, authorial voice in criticism, and what makes movies good.

Direct download: nwp124_longworth.mp3
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The Sons of Anarchy creator is joined by SoA superfans Jessica Goldstein (Cougar Town) and Paul Grellong (Revolution) to discuss how the show is put together, his work on The Shield, and more.

Recorded live at Meltdown on December 8, 2013. Lots of live panels coming up! Go to and look for the big orange logo! All live panels benefit 826LA.

Direct download: nwp123_sutter.mp3
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