He now has written a twisted essay about golf in the New Yorker, filed under the keywords: Golf; Sports; Elisabeth Kübler-Ross; “On Death and Dying”; Anger; Denial; Bargaining - really strange.
The HBO Larry David show is so far out and controversial that on more than one occasion we have come away from watching it shaking our head and saying out loud with a smile, "That guy is one sick puppy."
But he is a comic genius. In transforming his cable show to syndication, David made a deal, then changed his mind. The Times describes the drama, the problem and the solution, which includes adding a rabbi to a panel discussion on the ethics to accompany the airing of every show. Just brilliant. But we simply don't have time to join the panel. Too busy writing a serious book. Sorry Larry.
In Syndication, the Agonizing on ‘Curb’ Is Only Escalating
By BILL CARTER
The new owners of the TV Guide Network believed they had found just the right show to send the message that the channel was getting into the business of broadcasting programs instead of listing them.
In November, the channel — previously known for running a scroll of what’s on other channels — snapped up the first syndication rights to Larry David’s HBO comedy “Curb Your Enthusiasm” for an undisclosed price. There was only one problem: almost immediately after he agreed to the sale, Mr. David had seller’s remorse.
The reason? Almost every episode of “Curb” is 29 minutes long — or longer. That’s fine for HBO, which has no commercials; but in syndication, half-hour shows run only about 21 minutes to accommodate all the advertisements.
“I regretted it instantly,” Mr. David said in a telephone interview. “I knew there was no way they would be able to cut it down.”
Mostly that was because of the show’s convoluted comedy plots. “Larry’s shows are so story-dense,” said Susie Essman, the actress who memorably plays the incorrigibly foul-mouthed Susie Green on the series.
Mr. David explained what he called “my misgivings” to Jon Feltheimer, the chief executive of Lionsgate, which bought TV Guide Network in 2009 and then sold a big stake to One Equity Partners. The two companies now jointly run the network.
“Larry went off on: How could they cut this? They’re going to take all the good out of it,” Mr. Feltheimer recalled.
But he surprised Mr. David: The TV Guide Network would slot every episode of “Curb” into an hourlong time period — which would mean episodes would not be trimmed. “But I said to Larry: now you’ve got to help me fill the hour,” Mr. Feltheimer said.
And so he has. Mr. David has come up with an idea to add some special content for “Curb” on TV Guide: He is putting together 7-to-10-minute panel discussions of each episode, covering ethical issues the show raises — which, as any “Curb” fan knows, come in abundance, ranging from rudeness to race.
Ms. Essman, whom Mr. David has picked to be the host of the discussion, said after revisiting all 70 episodes, “There is more than enough to talk about in every episode. Some issues are silly, like Larry refusing to submit to the etiquette about not leaving a dinner party before dessert. But there are a lot of race questions and gender issues. And there’s a surprising amount about people with handicaps.”
The plan for the discussions, which will be produced by Scott Carter, who produced the HBO series “Politically Incorrect,” is to bring in a three- or four-person panel for each show. (The first will be on June 2.)
The guests will include people from show business, but also, Ms. Essman said, “sports figures, rabbis, intellectuals.”
No one tied to the show has released names of panelists, though one they will confirm is Randy Cohen, the ethics columnist for The New York Times Magazine. “People are going to have opinions,” Mr. David said, “but hopefully it’ll be funny.”
For the executives at the TV Guide Network, the goal is more ambitious. Allen Shapiro, the chairman of the channel, said, “We are focusing on acquiring programs that have almost cultlike fans.”
In addition to “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” TV Guide has bought rights to the canceled ABC series “Ugly Betty,” and it has plans for more acquisitions.
Rather than being known for listings, said Mr. Shapiro, the chairman, “we want to be known for our programs.”