There’s a great joke in the television industry about the sometimes meddlesome tendencies of network executives.
Q: “How many network executives does it take to change a lightbulb?”
A: “Does it have to be a lightbulb?”
At a panel for the Showtime comedy “Episodes” Thursday, one of the show’s co-creators shared a real-life version of the joke. The Matt LeBlanc comedy satirizes the industry, and has no shortage of material.
Executive producer Jeffrey Klarik said he had a friend who sold a show to a network about an Indian woman and her mother, adjusting to life in the United States. The network had just one note: They didn’t want the mother.
Okay, said the writer. We’ll get rid of the mother.
One more thing, said the network: Does she have to be Indian? Could she be black?
Okay, the writer said.
But the network wasn’t done making little tweaks.
“It’s now about three black guys raising a baby,” said Klarik.
Klarik said he has also gotten some odd network notes. He was making a comedy about girls at a boarding school, and the network asked if there could be “one scene where the girls are in their nightgowns.”
Klarik’s “Episodes” partner David Crane noted that the girls were only 14.
“I was like, ‘That’s the note?'” Crane said, before wryly adding, “And you do it.”