BEHIND THE SCENES OF LĪVE'S FAILED SITCOM

(When I published this list, I was in character as Ed Kowalczyk, former leader singer/songwriter of the band LīVE.)
  1. Hi, guys! Ed here.
  2. People have been asking, and I'm finally ready to talk about it:
  3. The time LīVE almost had our own sitcom, "Live and Let LīVE."
  4. Chad and Chad really wanted to do it. Their idea was three words:
  5. "LīVE on tour."
  6. Each episode would take place in a different concert venue. We'd play ourselves, and actors would play roadies, our opener, fans. Every episode would have a cameo by a famous band.
  7. Chad and Chad wrote a whole episode about how Soldier Field wouldn't fulfill our tour rider.
    Where would our guru set up? How would we be chill enough to go on stage?
  8. And they really wanted to do one about how we should share the bill with U2. Bono and I have a sing-off.
    Their outline said "ego-off." Come on, Chads.
  9. We got a meeting with MTV and VH1.  “Our two networks partner on some things, and on other things we decide who’s the best fit for who.”
  10. We pitch it.  MTV likes the idea.
  11. But at heart, I’m just not into it.  “What are your thoughts, Ed?”
  12. “I just like to laugh, you know?  Funny but relatable situations.  Relationship problems.  A funny pet is always good.”
    I took a sip of Fruitopia.  “I have a ferret.”
  13. MTV and VH1 exchanged looks.  Chad crumpled the outline for his script. Other Chad just stared out the window.  VH1 nodded.
  14. “Ed, we’d love to be in business with you.”
  15. I went right to work concepting our new show.  We still called it "Live and Let LīVE."
    When something works, don’t mess with it.
  16. Chad and Chad got busy mixing our new album, which was for the best because me and my comedy writers were busy! I was meeting with a costume designer to brainstorm looks for my pet ferret, Lightning.
  17. I was auditioning people left and right.  Chad and Chad would be played by Richard Moll, in a dual role.
  18. After a brutal series of 17 call-backs, we cast Sarah Paulson as my character’s estranged common-law wife, Jessamyne.
    Her architectural firm fails and she moves back to our hometown, reluctantly agreeing to help me run my parent's deli.
  19. "No one slices that corned beef thin like you, Jessamyne."
    "And no one lays it on thick like you, Ed." I loved writing for TV!
  20. There were some speed bumps in development. Lightning is a wonderful, independent spirit. He turned out to be untrainable.
    I kept asking if we could just put cheese slices out and leave the camera on for a while. The animal trainer would just leave the room. Years later I saw her at Cafe Gratitude and asked again. She put up her hands and walked away, muttering. Rude.
  21. But then we thought, there are more ways to be a pet. We decided to make Lightning into a person in a ferret costume. Now he could really take an active role!
    The actual Chads would alternate their time in the ferret suit. One was good at physical comedy, the other with dialogue scenes. They both got a lot of head acne in the suit, and Dialogue Chad kept passing out. But I was glad they were involved. There's no LīVE without them.
  22. We were so lucky to have bad-boy writer Jerry Stahl on staff to help with the Lightning scenes.  We had one writer for the romantic tension, one for Chad and Chad’s one-liners (their characters were such dummies!).  Even though Stahl was difficult and high most of the time, no one else understood the ferret like he did.
    I mean, what were we going to do, cut out my pet ferret?
  23. Stahl pitched one where Lightning develops a new kind of ground mustard.  Neither Jessamyn or I like it (we rarely agreed on anything, such sexy tension!) so the ferret gets a business partner (we were thinking Bania from Seinfeld for it, great guy) and starts selling the mustard between shifts as the dishwasher at the deli.
    The mustard was so good the local mob tries to muscle in. Lightning lures the mob’s head enforcer to a Checkers parking lot and bites him all over.  Lightning takes over the town mafia and makes us use the mustard at the deli.  Our most loyal customers, George Gaines and Ron from A Different World, love it.  “Shut up Ed, your mustard is terrible!”  Lightning mimes like he’s going to bite me and everyone laughs.  That Jerry Stahl knows comedy!
  24. We were getting ready to shoot the pilot, but VH1 wouldn’t sign off.
    “Ed, when you and I started talking, things were one way.  But now we’re up to our eyeballs in b-roll for this new show, Behind the Music.  And honestly I’m not sure we connect with this material the way you do.  But there’s a new network starting.  Call the WB.”
  25. The WB needed anything that was hot and ready.  They greenlit our pilot. We didn’t have to change anything.
    Sarah would only talk to me when we were saying lines, and Physical Comedy Chad went AWOL for a whole day and we had to make a new ferret head. But other than that, it was a great experience.
  26. WB really liked our pilot. They told me so a bunch of times.  But at the end of the day, they decided to choose this TV version of the movie BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER.
    Never saw the show. Seemed pretty been-there-done-that.  I liked the movie a lot. Donald Sutherland's a friend.
  27. Sarah Paulson went on to much success. I'm so happy for her. Bygones!
    Did you see her on O.J.? Amazing.
  28. I was really disappointed. But at the end of the day LĪVE was a successful band and we needed to put our energy into our music.
    Honestly, our next album was way overdue. People at the label lost their jobs.