If you’re someone who devours new television shows, are the go-to person for recommendations among your friends, and want to hold your fame, you’ve got to read this. You’re about to earn some serious brownie points by being the first to know all about the 80s iconic show, Moonlighting. Here’s a little chat with pop culture storyteller and television historian Scott Ryan.
Hi Scott, your latest book, “Moonlighting: An Oral History,” still holds its position on the top 50 Television History & Criticism books on Amazon since its release. Congratulations!
How’s the overall response so far?
It has been incredible. I have been getting emails almost every other day from fans of the series. I always put my email in the back of all my books and say that if you have a kind email to send, send it. I do not have interest in the mean ones. Most bookstores have not been carrying the book, so we need more stores to jump on the eighties bandwagon.
Why did you choose to write about Moonlighting?
I have always been amazed that no one had ever written a book about it. I have wanted to write this book for years. Finally, two years ago, Glenn Caron gave me his blessing and I ran with it.
Would you say this book is mainly for those who are fans of the show?
Well, you are asking the author. No author would say his book is for less people. But I honestly believe this book should be read by all television lovers. This will really explain to viewers how hard it is to create a piece of art. And how much harder it is to make a quality piece of art. I have had many interviewers tell me that they never saw an episode of the series, but they loved the book.
What can you share about “Moonlighting: An Oral History” that will resonate with today’s television viewers and potential readers?
I think they will get a look at how Moonlighting changed the way TV was made and produced. It is also a great reminder at how viewers want TV that challenges them. That making average TV should be thought of as the greatest crime. There is a really amazing story in this book. I was lucky to get to tell it.
Can you share some of your fanboy moments from your time meeting and interviewing some of Moonlighting’s cast/crew members?
Look, I got to watch an episode of Moonlighting with Cybill Shepherd. We watched over zoom together. I will never forget that my entire life. Jay Daniel produced Roseanne, Moonlighting, Cybill and he is now one of my dear friends. I have been blessed to talk to the very people that inspired me to be a writer. I will never get over how my life and their lives intersected. This entire process has been a dream for me.
What’s the one thing you learned about Moonlighting that bowled you over?
That the network just let them spend as much money as they wanted. There was no one on set telling them to finish an episode, or cut a scene or anything. They were just left alone because the ratings were so good. I also finally figured out exactly how they filmed Season 4. I have never understood why they didn’t have Cybill and Bruce in scenes together, but they are in every episode. It just didn’t make sense. It took lots of interviews to piece together the filming sequences. But I think readers will love the answer to that question. I am not telling you, though. You’ll have to read the book.
Aside from Moonlighting, what are some of your favorite binge-able shows of all time?
Well Twin Peaks and thirtysomething have always been my favorite. I also love anything by David E. Kelley. Right now, I love Hacks on HBO, Good Fight on Paramount + and Ted Lasso on Apple +, but my goodness, who can afford to buy all those platforms. Just forget it and read my book.
Ready for some rapid-fire questions? Here we go:
Morning person or a night owl
Morning person (that kills me to say that now)
Television shows or movies
TV all the way
Movie theatre or streaming at home
Streaming, I don’t need to hear a stranger’s comments on the film. I am fine.
Popcorn or Nachos
Nachos and piled so high they are messy.
Night Court or Family Ties
WOW. This is an amazing question and a stumper. It is basically even, but I was so in love with Mallory, that FT has to win. But great question.
A preferred writing snack
Grapes. I know that sounds weird, but I love to stop and start when I am writing. I adore getting up and getting something. So I love for it to be grapes. You write a few paragraphs, then you go to the fridge, get a grape and go back and sit down and then rinse and repeat.
What was the last movie you watched?
Jackie Brown. Which will give you a hint at what I want my next book to be about. The Movies of Tarantino.