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He's got answers and the questions

October 15, 2006|Susan King

Michael Bailey

Game show and clip show writer; reality show producer

Current assignments: Writer for GSN's game show "Starface" and Animal Planet's comedy clip series, "The Planet's Funniest Animals."

Other credits: Syndicated series "Maximum Exposure" and "Card Sharks."

Job description: "A standard game show writer may have a very different answer -- a little different job than what we're doing on 'Starface,' which is trying to create a comedy-style game show. We were trying to make sure that there was an element of humor associated with the question, but at the same time it had to be in a real solid, question-and-answer format.

"On 'Starface,' host Danny Bonaduce comes on and gives a little setup about a celebrity. We'll give some facts about the celebrity and then show a picture and then he'll ask a question. We have three contestants, and they have to guess from the picture and the clues who this person is. The idea is to use less-than-flattering photographs. On this show, we really tried to go for the comedy factor."

The old post office routine: "The idea from the executives on these shows is also to push the envelope -- 'We want something edgy' -- and as soon as you push the envelope they try to reel you back in. The envelope is very, very small. It is about as big as a stamp. If you throw enough obnoxious stuff at them, a few things will slip through."

Going to the dogs: "I also write a show called 'The Planet's Funniest Animals.' That's my favorite show. We look at video clips and pictures of animals all day long. The 100th dog chasing its tail gets a little challenging ... Watching animals all day is great. It has to be the least-stressful job."

Background: "I first came out to Los Angeles from Boston in 1993. I had just graduated from Emerson College. They had a very general degree in mass communication and television. I wanted to work in sitcoms. Somehow I ended up on the television show 'Hard Copy' as an intern.

"I transitioned to a few other jobs and wound up as a writers' assistant on a show called 'Public Morals.' That was a Steven Bochco sitcom. I got my first break from Mack Anderson at First Television. I was working on a show called 'Maximum Exposure' as a segment producer. The Writers Guild was planning to strike. I think this was 2003 or '04 and we had to crank out a new season [before the strike started]. There were only two writers on the show, so they needed to add another writer."

Partnering up: "I have a [writing] partner, the lovely Stefanie Novik. I haven't always worked with a partner, but I have never been successful without one.

"It's a great motivator. Sometimes a partner can bring you up a bit. Maybe one day we will create our own game show."

Resides: Pasadena

Guild or union: "I am a proud member of the Writers Guild of America."

Age: 36

-- Susan King

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