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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

Minority Report: Not the Movie -- The Oscar Controversy

(5) Comments | Posted January 22, 2016 | 3:15 PM

I'm not comfortable taking issue with the hubbub surrounding the lack of minorities in major categories in this year's Oscar race. Indeed, it's unfortunate in the past two years there've been none in the four acting races, but the omissions belie a number of factors and, if there is criticism...

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The 2016 Golden Globes: Ricky Gervais Sags, While Leonardo DiCaprio Soars

(1) Comments | Posted January 11, 2016 | 10:24 AM

A kinder, gentler and mostly out of sight Ricky Gervais held forth at this year's Golden Globe Awards on NBC with a bunch of surprise winners along with the expectations of lots of pundits. It moved relatively swiftly, especially towards the end when it ran overtime, but as entertainment it...

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The Hateful Eight: Quentin Tarantino's Intriguing But Bloated Latest Film

(14) Comments | Posted December 23, 2015 | 7:51 AM

Warning: Spoilers ahead.

I am usually a fan of Quentin Tarantino's films, in spite of a host of sometimes unnecessary violence, but I found The Hateful Eight to be a victim of the writer/director's prior success.

He's an intriguing writer, who creates characters different from many we've seen and imbues...

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Michael Moore's Where to Invade Next: Documentary or Propaganda?

(5) Comments | Posted December 11, 2015 | 1:43 PM

From Webster's Dictionary:

Documentary -- based on or re-creating an actual event, era, life story that purports to be factually accurate and contains no fictional elements.

Propaganda -- Ideas, facts or allegations spread deliberately to further one's cause or to damage an opposing cause.

Michael Moore is known as a...

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When Does Political Correctness Go Too Far?

(0) Comments | Posted November 23, 2015 | 2:21 PM

Last week some students at Princeton petitioned the school to stop tributes to Woodrow Wilson, its former university president and, more importantly, our former U.S. president, including the possible renaming of the prestigious Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

It all began when a coalition of students protested...

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Why Steve Jobs Didn't Work For Me

(14) Comments | Posted October 15, 2015 | 9:46 AM

Before I begin, fair warning. I am not an Aaron Sorkin fan. I'm well aware that he's considered in almost Olympian terms by many in the industry and has won a lot of writing awards, but what some consider brilliance I often find tedious, unsurprising and boring.

In his latest...

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Donald Trump and His Name Calling: Why Hasn't it Backfired Yet?

(27) Comments | Posted August 18, 2015 | 10:38 AM

Ok, another article about Donald Trump, but I felt impelled to take issue after a barrage of name calling against his Republican presidential rivals, his likely Democratic one and the current president of the United States.

Trump has mastered the art of bluster, which was effective on The Apprentice and...

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The Oscars at Almost 4 Hours: Even So, Neil Patrick Harris Did the Trick

(14) Comments | Posted February 23, 2015 | 8:51 AM

The Academy Awards for me was a surprise, notably in that I mostly enjoyed Neil Patrick Harris' performance. In the past, when he's hosted the Tonys and Emmys I've not always been impressed, perhaps because he tried too hard to show off skills that were adequate but not thrilling.


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A Coming of Age Coming Out Tale: The Book of Oded, Chapter 2

(0) Comments | Posted January 12, 2015 | 8:41 AM

Sometimes it's tough to sit through a one-man show, as so many factors are in play. Not only the actor and the text, but the subject matter as well.

Nonetheless it all comes together beautifully in The Book of Oded, Chapter 2, Oded Yosef Kassirer's one hour plus a few...

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A Most Violent Year: A Worthy End to the Intriguing Cinema of 2014

(0) Comments | Posted January 5, 2015 | 8:36 AM

It's been an interesting year for films and as a Writers Guild member I see a lot of them, but I don't review too many. As a matter of fact, the last one I recommended was Boyhood way back in June, a month before it opened, and...

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The 2014 Emmys: An Okay Show, But Was It Really Appropriate to Single Out Robin Williams?

(6) Comments | Posted August 26, 2014 | 9:26 AM

Watching the Emmys was for me a mixed bag, with Seth Meyers struggling with pat jokes contrasted with Bryan Cranston bringing down the house with laughter as he passionately smooched Julia Louis-Dreyfus as she mounted the stairs to retrieve her Lead Actress in a Comedy Series Emmy for Veep. Most...

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Boyhood: A Rare Cinematic Feat That Should Totally Engage You

(0) Comments | Posted June 16, 2014 | 10:49 AM

I'm not always a big fan of Richard Linklater's films and found his Before Sunrise/ Sunset/Midnight series a bit talky and not overly deserving of the acclaim it received.

However, that said, and with little hint of what was to come, I was captivated by his latest film, Boyhood, which...

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So President Obama Shared a Gym: Why Did the Media Make Such a Fuss?

(0) Comments | Posted June 5, 2014 | 9:18 AM

When reporting about the White House and President Obama, the media stirs controversy wherever it can.

Let's start with the Affordable Care Act roll out, which admittedly had a few thumps at the beginning, but, even after besting its target goal of enrolling seven million citizens, it is still deemed...

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Shelly Sterling's Possible Takeover Bid: Is She Channeling Lurleen Wallace?

(1) Comments | Posted May 9, 2014 | 10:03 AM

I'm not a big sports fan, though I keep abreast of the general headlines. I particularly become interested when UCLA is in the Rose Bowl or the Dodgers are in the World Series, though admittedly neither event happens too often. I also followed Andy Roddick's tennis career and was dismayed...

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

(0) Comments | Posted March 3, 2014 | 8:42 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 | 8:23 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 | 9:02 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 | 9:25 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 | 9:14 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 | 9:23 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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