Frequently quite funny, Must Kill TV by Ken Levine (@KenLevine) is a dark farce detailing the unraveling of a network TV president. The author is an Emmy-winning writer and director (M*A*S*H, Cheers, Frasier, Wings, and The Simpsons — to name just a few) and he tosses quite a few grenades into the Hollywood landscape.
Under the stewardship of Charles Muncie, ABN has gone from the top of the heap to barely hanging on. The show keeping the network afloat, and Charles in the big chair, is a Seinfeld-esque sitcom starring former stand-up comedian Stevie Gersh. Gersh is by far the top show in the nation so when Stevie decides to quit, Charles understandably panics. He offers the repugnant Stevie a ton of money and a jet, but what the comedian really wants is his ex-girlfriend killed.
What follows reminded me a lot of some of my favorite episodes from those classic 80’s/90s sitcoms the author wrote for, especially Frasier. Simply put, everything Charles does serves to make his situation progressively worse. And of course it’s La-La-Land, so along the way everyone from waiters to LAPD homicide detectives to hitmen will pitch their idea for a TV show to Charles.
Some of the biggest chuckles come from Charles recalling the truly awful programming decisions he’s made in the past. Ryan Seacrest doing play-by-play for the Rose Bowl? Sharon and Kelly Osbourne as detectives?
This is a fairly quick read with some adult language and scenes, so if that isn’t to your liking perhaps take a pass. There is a plot hole near the end, but by that point the story is moving along at a good clip and as a reader I just sailed right past it.
For more from Mr. Levine, I highly recommend his excellent blog. I read it every day over breakfast.