Amy Sherman-Palladino at the ATX TV Festival 2015 for the TV show Bunheads
|Occupation||Screenwriter, director, executive producer|
|Notable work||Gilmore Girls, Bunheads|
|Style||Comedy-drama, screwball comedy film|
|Board member of||Dorothy Parker Drank Here Productions|
Amy Sherman-Palladino (born Amy Sherman) is an American television writer, director, and producer. The founder of Dorothy Parker Drank Here Productions, she is best known as the creator of the television series Gilmore Girls and Bunheads.
She is also well known for her trademark rapid-fire dialogue, which is often full of obscure pop culture references; and as well for her preferred master shot filming style.
Earlier life and career
Sherman-Palladino is married to writer and producer Daniel Palladino. Her parents are comedian Don Sherman, who died in May 2012 (the first episode of Bunheads was dedicated to him) and dancer Maybin Hewes. Sherman was her father's stage name. Her father, from the Bronx, was Jewish, and her mother was a Southern Baptist from Gulfport, Mississippi. She has stated that she was raised "as Jewish. Sort of". Sherman-Palladino was born in Los Angeles.
She was trained in classical ballet since she was four, and took other forms of dance in her teens. Originally a dancer trainer, Palladino had received a callback to the musical Cats, while also having a possible writing position on the staff of Roseanne in rotation. When she and writing partner Jennifer Heath were asked to join Roseanne, she put behind her dancing career—much to her mother's chagrin – and began writing for television.
Sherman-Palladino became a staff writer on Roseanne during the show's third season in 1990. Among the storylines and episodes she wrote was an Emmy-nominated episode about birth control. She left the show after season six, in 1994, and worked on several other projects including the failed 1996 sitcom Love and Marriage, the 1997 sitcom Over the Top, and writing several scripts of the NBC sitcom Veronica's Closet.
Sherman-Palladino is best known as the creator and executive producer of Gilmore Girls, an hour-long television dramedy that aired initially on The WB network, and concluded on its successor network, The CW. In selling the show, Sherman-Palladino says that during her pitch meeting for landing a script order, Gilmore Girls was presented as a last-ditch effort thought up on the spot due to a lacking response from the network executives towards her other ideas. She presented this last hope as a "show about a mother and daughter, but they're more like best friends" and the executives were all sold immediately. During a trip to Connecticut, she and husband Daniel Palladino were inspired to center the show there, allowing a rich setting for a small-town community and the divide from the WASPy social setting of Hartford, Connecticut.
In producing the show, Sherman-Palladino and her husband wore many hats as the creative forces of the show, writing a large number of the episodes and also acting as directors, producers and show runners for six of its seven-year run.
End of working relationship with Gilmore Girls
On April 20, 2006, it was announced that Amy Sherman-Palladino and her husband Daniel could not come to an agreement with The CW to continue their contracts. As a result, the Palladinos' involvement with Gilmore Girls came to an end. The official statement was as follows: "Despite our best efforts to return and ensure the future of Gilmore Girls for years to come, we were unable to reach an agreement with the studio and are therefore leaving when our contracts expire at the end of this season. Our heartfelt thanks go out to our amazing cast, hard-working crew and loyal fans." Writer and producer David S. Rosenthal replaced them.
In a 2012 interview with Vulture, Sherman-Palladino was asked to reflect on the issue, she responded
It was a botched negotiation. It really was about the fact that I was working too much. I was going to be the crazy person who was locked in my house and never came out. I heard a lot of 'Amy doesn't need a writing staff because she and [her husband] Dan Palladino write everything!' I thought, That's a great mentality on your part, but if you want to keep the show going for two more years, let me hire more writers. By the way, all this shit we asked for? They had to do anyway when we left. They hired this big writing staff and a producer-director onstage. That's what bugged me the most. They wound up having to do what we asked for anyway, and I wasn't there.
The Return of Jezebel James
On August 1, 2006, The Hollywood Reporter announced that the Fox Network had ordered a pilot of a new comedy project from Sherman-Palladino. The untitled comedy, which received a pilot commitment from the network, was about two sisters who come together after years apart, when one of the sisters agrees to carry the other's baby. Sherman-Palladino wrote, executive produced and directed the pilot.
In December 2006, at the Hollywood Radio & Television Society's Hitmakers luncheon, Palladino revealed the name of her new sitcom: The Return of Jezebel James. The series debuted on March 14, 2008 on Fox starring Parker Posey. The show was subsequently cancelled on March 24, 2008, after only three episodes were aired.
On October 13, 2009, The Hollywood Reporter stated that Sherman-Palladino had been signed to write and executive produce an as yet untitled drama series for HBO. The series would "chronicle the complicated relationship among three adult sisters, all writers sharing the same upper east side apartment building, and their mother, a domineering literary lioness who reserves most of her affections for their ne'er-do-well brother." No news on the project has emerged since then.
The CW ordered a pilot created by Sherman-Palladino and her executive producer husband Dan Palladino, tentatively known as The Wyoming Project (and also called The Damn Thorpes) to be considered for the 2010–11 television season. The series was described as a family soap set on a horse farm in a small town in Midwest or Rockies. Entertainment Weekly described the series as "Gilmore Girls meets Little House on the Prairie". On February 22, Sean Faris was tapped as the lead in the farm drama pilot, playing Gideon Thorpe. Entertainment Weekly also reported that Sherman-Palladino would be taking the director's chair on the pilot episode of Wyoming Project. The CW did not pick up the pilot or order any episodes for the 2010–11 television season.
ABC Family picked up Sherman-Palladino's pilot, Bunheads, to series. It premiered on June 11, 2012. The series stars Sutton Foster as a Las Vegas showgirl who, after impulsively getting married, moves to the sleepy coastal town 'Paradise' and winds up working at her new mother-in-law's dance studio: The Paradise Dance Academy. Kelly Bishop, who portrayed Emily Gilmore in Gilmore Girls, plays the recurring role of Fanny Flowers, her mother-in-law. On July 22, 2013, five months after the end of Season 1, it was announced that Bunheads would not be renewed for a second season.
The Better Woman
On January 9, 2012, it was announced that director Paul Feig would direct Universal Pictures' The Better Woman, with the script being penned by Sherman-Palladino. The film is "about an executive whose boyfriend leaves her for an older woman. The exec then searches out the woman to find out what went wrong in the relationship."
Gilmore Girls revival
In October 2015, it was reported on TVLine that Netflix struck a deal with Warner Bros. to revive the series in a limited run, consisting of four 90-minute episodes. It has been reported that Sherman-Palladino will be in charge of the new episodes, titled Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. The four episodes are named after the seasons, and all four became available on November 25, 2016.
Dialogue and style
Dialogue in Sherman-Palladino's work involves heavy use of pop culture references, delivered in a fast repartee, screwball-comedy style. Palladino is also very particular with her selection and use of music in her work. In an interview with OutSmart magazine, she explained how lazy and instructional its use is on most television shows:
I think music on television is just uniformly dreadful. It is mundane, it says nothing. They use it to say, "Here's a funny moment!" ... you know? It's not an extension of the drama, it's distraction. It's like, "I'll distract you, so you won't know how shitty the show is...like a laugh track. That, to me, is what music on television is. They score everything from beginning to end so that after awhile the music is just like white noise. It's not giving it its due, its place. Everything has its place. Shows would go by, and we wouldn't put a lot of music in because to me the music was an extension of the drama, so if you just throw it in under everything, it's like throwing a washing-machine sound effect in there, it's not the point of it. It's like having two characters have a long, not very interesting discussion for no other reason except to fill up screen time.
- Gilmore Girls: The Other Side Of Summer by Amy Sherman-Palladino and Helen Pai (2002, ISBN 0-06-050916-3)
- Roseanne (1990–1994) – story editor, writer (13 episodes)
- Gilmore Girls (2000–2006) – creator, executive producer (Seasons 1–6), writer/director (65 episodes)
- The Return of Jezebel James (2008) – creator, executive producer, writer/director
- Bunheads (2012–2013) – creator, executive producer, writer/director (18 episodes)
- Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life (2016) – creator, executive producer, writer/director (4 episodes)
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- "An Interview with Amy Sherman-Palladino: Once In Love With Amy, Always In Love With Amy" (Interview). OutSmart Magazine. January 1, 2010. Retrieved June 20, 2012.