The Business of Television: Rob Long

Recently on The Business, host Kim Masters talked with Rob Long, a television producer with CBS of Cheers fame, and his efforts to save the sitcom Kevin Can Wait, Kevin James’ return to television, after the previous showrunner’s exit. Most of the talk is dedicated to how a producer goes about running a television show, specifically, how the different elements work together.

Long, on the problems with Kevin Can Wait:

“The problem was there was a bunch of people doing a different show, and you can feel that way when you’re in pilot production, but you can’t when you get to the episodes…I think there’s no room for error.”

“It’s not a business known for its decisiveness; and when you’re faced with some of these issues, you have to be decisive. Making a bold choice is almost better than waiting and making a slightly  better bold choice. The trick is making a choice and get moving.”

This is a common theme among television shows, but particularly sitcoms, as most are filled with different clashing personalities and opinions, all wanting the same thing. Given the recent tension among the WGA however, it is unlikely that Kevin Can Wait, will have much luck on CBS. Until the negotiation are resolved, Long’s job is mostly going to consist of juggling internal issues, like fostering up synergy between the crew and cast. Given his past experience, it shouldn’t be an issue, as long as he makes the choice to move forward.



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