Variety hosted a very classy panel for Emmy showrunner nominees on Friday morning at the Paley Center in Beverly Hills.
The most interesting theme that came through — aside from the fact that a lot of his peers are kind of irritated with "Mad Men's" Matthew Weiner — is that showrunners have all kinds of different coping mechanisms in terms of how they deal with outside feedback to their programs.
Paul Lieberstein of "The Office" said, "I read every stupid blog there is." "Breaking Bad's" Vince Gilligan said he never does, a point echoed by the "Nurse Jackie" team, which spoke about creating art with their show.
Robert King, of "The Good Wife," later quipped regarding his program and their willingness to take notes from CBS, "We consider ourselves more whores than artists."
The other interesting thread emerged from the drama panel, where there was a consensus that the choice "Lost" had made — asking ABC to let them set an end date far in advance — was a brilliant stroke that ought to be emulated.
"I would like to see it become something of a new paradigm in television," Gilligan said.
Movies run a certain length, agreed "True Blood's" Gregg Fienberg, and "A TV show should only go so long, too."
As for Weiner, "Lost's" Damon Lindelof winced at the "Mad Men"-type ads that are running during "Mad Men," while "Dexter's" Clyde Phillips thanked Weiner "for not being here so we can get a word in edge-wise."
All told, it was a lovely morning — and I'm not just saying that because there was a big fat copy of Variety and baby needs new shoes.
Anyway, good luck, Emmy nominees. I'll look for you at one of the bars at the HBO after-party, right next to the life-size "True Blood" werewolves.
Oh, and if I've written something terrible about you and you want to take a swing at me, that guy with the beard isn't me, it's Leonard Maltin.