Monday, December 14, 2009

100 Episodes and counting...

We had a party today on the Village Square to celebrate 100 episodes of Ghost Whisperer. Speeches were made, cake was eaten, pictures were taken. It was great. I wish you could all have been there.

I said some words to offer thanks to the people who make the show possible. There were many folks I didn't single out, because there wasn't time. Everyone who works on this show deserves special praise, for lots of reasons, but a few need to be singled out here, mostly because of what they mean to me.

These are people who not only make the show possible, they make my life liveable. They're my fellow writers, who live and work with me, helping decide what stories we tell and how to tell them, helping write those stories and rewrite and rewrite them. It's very hard work, very intense and stressful, and without their imagination, patience, bravery and energy, none of what you see on t.v. would even be dreamed of, let alone real.

Start with Laurie McCarthy. Remember that name. She's one of the most brilliant writers I've every worked with, and I've worked with some greats. She's the engine of our writers room, constantly driving stories forward with the artfulness, specificity and craft required to make good film. She's also an exceptionally gifted writer on the page.

Then there's Mark Perry. I've worked with Mark for over a decade, and the day we were able to recruit him to the show this show became very blessed. Mark writes some of our most distinct episodes, since his voice is so much his own. They're often the funniest shows, because that's who Mark is -- one of the funniest and smartest writers I know. Winner of Emmy's and Golden Globe awards, and blessed with a biting wit (we sometimes call him Snark B. Perry), he keeps the room in hysterics day in and day out.

Jeannine Renshaw is in many ways the soul of the show. She's been here longest of anyone on the writing staff (except John Gray), and knows the rules better than anyone. It's a very hard thing to hold an entire episode in your head, with all of its complex ins and outs, but Jeannine has the kind of exceptional brain that does this without breaking a sweat. She's a multi-threat, with skills and experience in each of the genres we have to master every week: mystery, relationship drama and the supernatural.

The Blake Sisters, Melissa and Joy, have been here since the beginning of season four. If you're wondering who came up with all those clever show titles, now you know: it's Melissa, punster extraordinaire. Joy has a quick wit and a highly tuned b.s. meter that keeps us all honest. Together they're excellent writers, and separately they're masters of diplomacy and filmmaking in their frequent roles as "grownups" on the set.

Stephanie SenGupta is our newest writer and has instantly made herself indispensable. The single most joyful, professional and pleasant person I've ever worked with, she has a world class gift for combining all the oftentimes contradictory challenges of writing and producing for t.v.: storytelling, writing, collaborating, haggling, and always, no matter how difficult these other parts of the job become, laughing.

And we can't forget John Gray. He's not so much a day to day presence the way he once was, but he continues to contribute in countless -- and priceless -- ways. He writes and directs at least two episodes every year, including the season finale. This year he graciously consented to write the 100th episode, a special gift to the show and the fans -- and to Love, who gets to direct a John Gray script.

Lastly, a shout out to our amazing support staff in the writing department: my assistant Dan Sinclair, writers room scribe Ben Chaney, script coordinator Steve Gottfried, writers assistant Steve Cwik, and writers p.a. Andrew Steier. Awesome, funny, gifted guys, every one of them.

You're all the wind beneath my wings. And boy are my arms tired.