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Michael Russnow
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Michael Russnow started in the business with a plea to Earl Hamner, creator of The Waltons, figuring any show whose main character longs to be a writer would take heart. And he was right. After doing a number of episodes, he continued his career with major credits such as Streets of San Francisco and Little House On the Prairie, before moving into comedy and Barney Miller.

He has been a story editor on sitcoms three times, interspersed with episodes for Family Ties, Dynasty, Knots Landing, and Diff’rent Strokes, numerous other series, as well as a stint on Santa Barbara. He has also sold material in Latin America and Germany, and in 1998 spent almost 6 months in Europe helping to set up a new soap in Budapest. In 2014 he published Hollywood on the Danube, based on those experiences also available on Amazon Kindle sites.

In December 2013, he received a congratulatory certificate from the Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) regarding his participation as a writer on Barney Miller and Family Ties, which were named on the WGA's list of 101 Best Written TV Series.

He was also twice elected to the Board of Directors of the WGAW. He is equally proud of his campaigns orchestrating Honorary Oscars for Myrna Loy and Deborah Kerr, additionally helping to secure a royal honour (CBE) for Miss Kerr in 1998.

Politically, he was involved in major political campaigns as a teenager in New York, working as a volunteer on presidential, mayoralty and gubernatorial/senatorial campaigns. After moving to California and while going to school at UCLA, he worked in the press office for the senatorial campaign of Alan Cranston, wrote his Master's Thesis on the broadcast elements of that campaign and later served on Cranston's staff in Washington.

Afterwards, he returned to Los Angeles to begin his entertainment career.

His web site is at

Entries by Michael Russnow

Ellen DeGeneres and the Oscars Rate a B-Minus: The Show Was Serviceable But Nothing Special

(0) Comments | Posted March 3, 2014 | 7:42 AM

I'm a big fan of Ellen DeGeneres and her understated, often brilliant humor. This was most evident when she hosted the 2001 Emmy Awards after the horrific events in New York and Washington that year. The show was postponed twice, and when it finally aired a couple of months later...

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Why Leonardo DiCaprio Deserves the Oscar: It's About Time, Don't You Think?

(40) Comments | Posted February 17, 2014 | 7:23 AM

As Oscar voters continue to mark their ballots until this Wednesday, I wonder what goes into their thinking? Do they vote specifically for what they believe is the best achievement of last year, a surprising performance and accomplishment or is it a cumulative assessment of someone's career?

For all these...

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The Postponement of Obama's Health Care Law Is Getting Old: Why Does the President Continue to Compromise?

(19) Comments | Posted February 11, 2014 | 8:02 PM

As a generally steady supporter of Barack Obama over the past five years I am continually reminded of why he was not my first choice during the primary phase of 2008.

Back then, I described him as a typical college frat president, jovial and back slapping, eager to please in...

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Why Do TV Cops Get Away With Murder?: Blue Bloods' Danny Reagan Should Be Brought to Justice

(33) Comments | Posted September 30, 2013 | 8:25 AM

I watch a lot of TV, probably too much, and as a professional writer am aware that "truths" are enhanced and/or skewed in the design of an episode for dramatic purposes. Obviously, most crimes are not solved as fast as depicted on the CSI and Law and Order shows. Even...

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Survivor Caramoan Finale: What Happened to Erik Reichenbach? How Could the Producers Ignore Him on the Telecast?

(12) Comments | Posted May 13, 2013 | 8:14 AM

Erik Reichenbach was a contestant on CBS' Survivor twice, first in Micronesia and the most recent season, in both instances coming in fifth out of twenty contestants, indicating pretty good game play on his part.

However, in the first outing at age 22 his exit was precipitated by what is...

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Los Angeles Times Backtracks on Removing TV Listings: Sometimes Making Media Noise Has an Effect

(1) Comments | Posted March 18, 2013 | 8:23 AM

About a month ago I wrote a piece blasting the Los Angeles Times for continuing the newspaper's steady slide in providing services, ranging from its discontinuation of printing stock news and publishing a magazine to its petty February 16, 2013 announcement that starting February 26 it would no...

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Why Seth MacFarlane's John Wilkes Booth Joke Didn't Work For Most: Bob Newhart Got it Right When Less Than 100 Years Had Passed

(67) Comments | Posted February 27, 2013 | 7:50 AM

In the aftermath of my review of the Oscars and that of many others who seemed to agree Seth MacFarlane's humor was often wanting, I thought I'd offer a postscript as to why for most people the John Wilkes Booth joke didn't work.

It had nothing to do...

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Oscars 2013: Seth MacFarlane Best When He Wasn't Trying to be Funny

(273) Comments | Posted February 25, 2013 | 8:05 AM

This year's Oscars show on ABC wrapped after a bit over three and a half hours and there were a bunch of great moments, a bit of tedium and a lot of disappointment over the tasteless antics of host Seth MacFarlane.

Look, I'm not a prude, though I've ranted at...

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What's Happened to the Los Angeles Times: The Thinning of America's Dailies

(56) Comments | Posted February 19, 2013 | 9:59 AM

In Saturday's Los Angeles Times' Calendar section on the TV listing page there was a note to readers that informed us that starting February 26 they will no longer show the TV schedule, directing us to search online for each day's programming. They also tell us that for a six-month...

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Quentin Tarantino -- He's Worried About Becoming Out of Touch

(192) Comments | Posted December 21, 2012 | 7:02 PM

Last night, I looked forward to watching Craig Ferguson's interview with Quentin Tarantino on CBS's The Late Late Show, because I mostly enjoy the quirky director and particularly liked his latest film Django Unchained.

Yes, his films are fraught with violence, but the dialogue exchanges and story twists are fascinating...

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Re: the Fiscal Cliff, Obama Won the Election Decisively: Maybe It's Time the GOP Recognized It

(28) Comments | Posted December 19, 2012 | 7:38 AM

How is it that Republicans try to hold sway whether or not they win an election? It's as if they're not aware Barack Obama was reelected or just don't give a damn. They discount his victory, because it wasn't a landslide or as large as it was in 2008. But...

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Scalia's Gay Stance Is Unacceptable: Recusal From Supreme Court Deliberations on DOMA and California Proposition 8 Is Called For

(710) Comments | Posted December 14, 2012 | 7:52 AM

The furor over Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's prejudicial stance against gay and lesbian Americans should not go away and ought to cause the Chief Justice and his court colleagues to insist that he, at the very least, recuse himself from the upcoming cases regarding the Defense of Marriage Act...

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British Nurse's Apparent Suicide Is Tragic, But Media and Public Response Has Been Over the Top

(122) Comments | Posted December 10, 2012 | 7:49 AM

The awful news of Jacintha Saldanha's apparent suicide is tragic in and of itself. However, to inflate the incident unrealistically, as if a harmless prank from two Australian radio disc jockeys was a causal effect to that terrible circumstance and in so doing possibly ruin their careers and/or...

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The Fourth Debate: Barack Obama Gives Mitt Romney a Seminar on How to Be Presidential

(143) Comments | Posted October 23, 2012 | 7:55 AM

Having watched the first three debates at 3 a.m. in Europe, it was a relief to witness the final one during my stopover in South Florida, only twenty minutes away from the Boca Raton debate site and at the more civilized time frame of nine p.m.

From the outset it...

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From Paris, Obama Scored and Romney Was Clearly Overmatched

(31) Comments | Posted October 17, 2012 | 12:31 AM

From Paris, no coffee this time, but I did manage to stay up to watch the second presidential debate, beginning at 3 a.m. Unlike the first one watched in Amsterdam, the president was alert, prepared and seemed to leave Romney mystified at moments.

And although the CNN analysts, led by...

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It Looked Like Biden Blew Ryan Away, So Why Did the Media Let Ryan's Misstatements Slide?

(146) Comments | Posted October 12, 2012 | 8:27 AM

Just hours after flying into Paris from Prague, I drank loads of coffee to ensure my capacity to stay up to watch the entire vice presidential debate and some of the media aftermath.

This time I watched the affair on CNN, after previously covering the first presidential debate from Amsterdam,...

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From Amsterdam at 3 AM, I Watched the First Presidential Debate: Obama Better Do Better Next Time

(6) Comments | Posted October 4, 2012 | 2:46 PM

After arriving in Amsterdam dog-tired on a bus from Brussels due to an absurd 24-hour Belgian train strike, I steeled myself to stay up until 3 a.m. to begin watching the first presidential debate on CNBC. Forgive me not remembering the hosts, especially the woman, who made me think I'd...

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Lady Patriot at the Hudson: Ted Lange Has Come A Long Way From The Love Boat

(0) Comments | Posted September 17, 2012 | 11:45 AM

At the Hudson Theatre tonight on Santa Monica Boulevard in Hollywood, I caught Lady Patriot, written and directed by Ted Lange. He's probably best known for his role as bartender Isaac Washington on ABC's long-running show The Love Boat, but in the decades since that program's adieu he's been heavily...

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Danielle's Decision on Big Brother 14: Is She Out of Her Mind?

(56) Comments | Posted September 14, 2012 | 10:46 AM

This season's version of Big Brother has descended in so many ways this summer. It has always been a group of mostly narcissistic hotheads and wannabes, who get their proverbial 15 minutes of fame and, for the most part, even if they win, are never heard from again.

But last...

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Frank Eudy's 'Ouster' From Big Brother 14: Teacher Dan Gheesling and Student Ian Terry Displayed No Integrity

(117) Comments | Posted September 7, 2012 | 1:30 PM

I've never written about Big Brother before, having not considered it as noteworthy as shows like The Amazing Race and Survivor. But I have watched every season and it can be intriguing at times, with some contestants fascinating to watch with their inflated egos and overblown personalities.

There's no...

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