A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeye's fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from July 24, 2019
“Television is a writer’s medium” (television adage)

"Television is a writer’s medium” is a popular saying, along with “film is a director’s medium” and “theater is an actor’s medium.” “Television is a writer’s medium. It’s like writing a third of a Broadway show every week” was printed in the Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester, NY) on January 2, 1951. “I (Ted Willis—ed.) owe a lot to the Dixon series and I believe that tv is a writer’s medium” was printed in The Stage and Television Today (London, UK) on January 24, 1963. “Television Is a Writer’s Medium” by Jack Guss was printed in the POV: Point of View (Writers Guild of America, West) in 1964.

American film director, writer and producer Marshall Herskovitz explained in the book TV Creators: Conversations with America’s Top Producers of Television Drama (2000) by James L. Longworth:

“When they say TV is a writer’s medium, they don’t just mean that. I think what they mean is even more political than that, that writers rule in television. That the most powerful people in television are writers who’ve become producers, and that the script is at the center of the enterprise in television. That’s what I think they mean by it’s a writer’s medium.”


2 January 1951, Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester, NY), “Comedians on Radio, Television Said Lost Without Writers” by Aline Mosby, pg. 15, col. 7:
“That’s one reason why not many comedians will last on television. TV burns up writers, and there aren’t enough good ones to go around. Television is a writer’s medium. It’s like writing a third of a Broadway show every week.”
(Said by writers Leo Solomon and Dave Schwartz.—ed.)

24 January 1963, The Stage and Television Today (London, UK), “Ted Willis to quit ‘Dixon’ series,” pg. 9, cols.4-5:
“I (Ted Willis—ed.) owe a lot to the Dixon series and I believe that tv is a writer’s medium.”

28 January 1964, Chicago (IL) Tribune, “TV Sorrows, Angers Three Top Writers” by Francis Coughlin, sec. 3, pg. 3, col. 5:
(Paddy Chayefsky, Arthur Miller and Goodman Ace.—ed.)
All agree that TV isn’t a writer’s medium. The writer enters it at his peril. He is likely to emerge sadder and wiser—and not much wealthier, either—after a term at hard labor in the TV salt mines.

Google Books
POV: Point of View
Writers Guild of America, West
Volume 2
1964
Pg. 12:
JACK GUSS
TELEVISION IS A WRITER’S MEDIUM
One of the more alarming trends evident in television today is the inclination of the director to regard himself as the writer’s silent collaborator.

Google Groups: alt.tv.ally-mcbeal
TV’s Finest Discuss Their Work
Tim Dunleavy
7/1/99
This article from today’s AP wire discusses the seminar DEK took part
in on May 17,
-Tim
------------------------------------------------------------------------
June 30, 1999
TV’s Finest Discuss Their Work
------------------------------------------------------------------------
By Frazier Moore
The Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP)—During the question-and-answer period, an audience member hailed the six men on stage as modern-day Shakespeares. Their predictable response: gracious scoffing all around.

But maybe their admirer was on to something. The Globe Theatre of Shakespeare’s time has given way to the global theater of television, some of whose worthiest bards recently held forth at Manhattan’s Museum of Television & Radio to swap thoughts on TV dramaturgy.

``Television is a writer’s medium,’’ Steven Bochco began, ``and every single one of us has gotten where we’ve gotten by virtue of being writers, not producers or directors.’’

Google Books
TV Creators:
Conversations with America’s Top Producers of Television Drama

By James L Longworth
Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press
2000
Pg. 85:
(Spoken by American film director, writer and producer Marshall Herskovitz.—ed.)
When they say TV is a writer’s medium, they don’t just mean that. I think what they mean is even more political than that, that writers rule in television. That the most powerful people in television are writers who’ve become producers, and that the script is at the center of the enterprise in television. That’s what I think they mean by it’s a writer’s medium.

Google Groups: alt.tv.x-files
David Nutter
Alan McHurshman
5/14/05
>From latimes online
He preps TV pilots for takeoff
By Scott Collins, Times Staff Writer
(...)
Since its earliest days, TV has been known primarily as a writer’s medium, in stark contrast to feature films, where the director is king.
(...)
Furthermore, even the most skilled directors can’t change the essential nature of episodic TV, Nutter admits. “It really is a writer’s medium, because when it comes to a series, the writers really have to get in there and create what the show’s going to be about,” he said. But “I can give [audiences] the appetizer, I can tease them, I can make them want to watch more.”

Twitter
Tim Goodman
@BastardMachine
Don’t play off the writer. TV is a writer’s medium, you dumb ass director.
10:37 PM · Aug 25, 2014·Janetter for Mac

Quora
I’ve heard it said that “television is a writer’s medium, while movies are a director’s.” Is this true? What does it mean?
Jim Mercurio, Story Analyst, Author: The Craft of Scene Writing (1995-present)
Answered Oct 12, 2018
The theoretical answer is that movies, at their essence, are a visual medium where the script is considered more of a blueprint. Directors often have more control of the final product. Despite the fact that TV has become more cinematic and visual (maybe aided by huge television screens, lol), its roots are as a dialogue-driven medium (pejoratively as a closeup, talky medium).

On a practical level. writers (who often take titles like Executive Producer) on TV shows have more control over the final product. Pete’s answer hits on this… the showrunners (often the creator) are writers who “call the shots.” Often, it’s the directors who come and go for each episode. The brand and identity of the show is more in the hands of the writers.

Twitter
#terroristgoesnative
@notneruda
theater: actor’s medium
film: director’s medium
tv: writer’s medium
internet:
12:32 AM · Feb 24, 2019·Twitter Web Client

Twitter
Vinit Masram
@vinitmasram
Cinema is a director’s medium.
Television is a producer’s medium.
Theatre is a writer’s medium.

Actors ultimately run away with all the credit.
3:19 AM · Jul 9, 2019·Twitter for Android

Vanity Fair
Reinvent the Show
HBO’s programming president, Casey Bloys, addressed the alleged controversy Wednesday, calling reports of an on-set power struggle “misinformation.”

BY YOHANA DESTA
JULY 24, 2019
(...)
As the old adage goes, television is a writer’s medium—TV directors usually don’t end up with full control of a final product, so the idea that control was ultimately taken away from Arnold is a “false premise,” he said.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityRadio/Television • Wednesday, July 24, 2019 • Permalink