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Peter Mehlman is a television writer and producer. He attended the University of Maryland and was a brother of the Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity. His most famous contributions have been to the popular TV series Seinfeld, where he served as a producer and writer through nearly all of the show's nine-year run on NBC. He also produced the 2004 series, Father of the Pride and created the 1999 series It's Like, You Know.... Both were short-lived.

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Early career

Peter Mehlman began his career as a sportswriter for the Washington Post. He made his first move from print journalism to television writing when, from 1982 to 1984, he wrote for and produced the television series, "SportsBeat" with Howard Cosell. For the next five years he returned to freelance magazine writing in New York for magazines such as the New York Times magazine , GQ , and Esquire.

In 1989 he moved to Los Angeles and was offered the opportunity to write a script for "Seinfeld" by Larry David. As he had never written a script up to that point ("Pre-Seinfeld, I'd barely written any dialogue in my life" [1]), Mehlman submitted instead a short humorous piece he had written for the New York Times Magazine. Jerry Seinfeld was so impressed by the piece that he gave Mehlman a writing assignment, out of which came the series' first freelance episode, "The Apartment." Mehlman was hired for the first full season of "Seinfeld as a program consultant (1991-92) and, over the next six years, worked his way up to co-executive producer in the show's last season after Larry David's departure.[2]

Work on Seinfeld

Describing the process of writing for "Seinfeld" and evaluating his own work on the show Mehlman wrote in an article for ew.com:

Seinfeld was the only show in which you came up with your own story lines or you were gone. There was no writers' room. You wrote and rewrote your own scripts before kissing them off to Larry David and Jerry so they could dose it with magic. I was ready to say I did bad work on The Visa, better on The Sponge, really good on The Implant. I was ready to argue that my episodes showed signs of a sensibility: A bunch dealt with radically changing one's appearance; a clump with contraception; a batch had people trying to be someone else; almost all had friends drastically at cross-purposes. My story lines were truly about nothing. (Except when they weren't: It took me weeks to realize that my friend's experience with a valet parker's BO would make a funny episode. Too broad of an idea for me to see) [1]

On the subject of how "Seinfeld" was different from all other network shows Mehlman commented:

It broke all their rules about likable characters, setup/punchline dialogue, everything. It didn't fall into one of their comfort zones, like A classic fish-out-of-water story! (FYI: Fish, when out of water, die.) And the fact that Seinfeld never had touching moments made the networks apoplectic. [3]

Episodes of Seinfeld written/co-written by Peter Mehlman:

SEASON 2

SEASON 3

SEASON 4

SEASON 5

SEASON 6

SEASON 7

SEASON 8

SEASON 9

Post-Seinfeld Sitcoms

After Seinfeld Mehlman created, produced and co-wrote a new sitcom called It's Like You Know..., which was primarily a bitter satire of life in Los Angeles and the Hollywood notables and idle rich who live there, as seen through the eyes of Manhattan writer, Garment (played by Chris Eigeman). Despite being nominated for "New Program of the Year" at the Television Critics Association Awards in 1999, the show was canceled by ABC after 26 episodes, mostly to clear more time slots for Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. Mehlman commented afterward that he found the studio interference from ABC a problem during the show's production, and after the show was canceled commented that he "wouldn't do another show for ABC if the future of Israel depended on it."

"When ABC execs gave me their first note on the script — a small plot change — I pondered it and said, No, I think it's good the way it is. What else you got? The ABC brass looked at me as if I'd announced I was pro-pedophilia. My first experience with network interference. Seinfeld had no network interference." - Peter Mehlman [7]

He then wrote a TV pilot called, "The White Album", which was apparently a "a dark, comic, serialized murder mystery" [3], but he failed to find a network which would produce it.

Online Journalism

From May 2005 - November 2006 Peter Mehlman contributed articles for the politically-progressive online news website and aggregated weblog The Huffington Post alongside the likes of Norman Mailer, John Cusack, and Bill Maher, to name a few. He has written editorial articles on such hot news topics as O.J. Simpson, Mel Gibson and the Saddam Hussein trial and hanging. [2]

In June 20, 2007, he raised controversy when he claimed that, unlike Hitler and Stalin, the Bush administration didn't even mean well to its constituency [8].

External links

References

  1. ^ a b Mehlman, Peter. "Notes From the Sitcom's Deathbed p.4". ew.com. http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,845704_4,00.html. Retrieved 2007-06-26.  
  2. ^ a b "Peter Mehlman bio". The Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-mehlman/. Retrieved 2007-11-27.  
  3. ^ a b Mehlman, Peter. "Notes From the Sitcom's Deathbed p.6". ew.com. http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,845704_6,00.html. Retrieved 2007-06-26.  
  4. ^ Seinfeld Season 2 DVD: Behind the scenes
  5. ^ Seinfeld Season 3 DVD: Behind the scenes
  6. ^ Seinfeld Season 4 DVD: Behind the scenes
  7. ^ Mehlman, Peter. "Notes From the Sitcom's Deathbed p.5". ew.com. http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,845704_5,00.html. Retrieved 2007-06-26.  
  8. ^ Mehlman, Peter (2007-06-20). "At Least They Didn't Mean Well....". The Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-mehlman/at-least-they-didnt-mean_b_53094.html?view=print.  
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