The A-Team writer Stephen J. Cannell would only write what he liked watching

The A-Team writer followed no formula but his own. His writing method was quite simple: write what you watch.

Give Stephen J. Cannell an A for effort for his writing on the hit '80s series, The A-Team. Cannell is the writer and producer behind The A-Team, Riptide and Hardcastle and McCormick, among others. All three of these hit series topped Nielsen ratings in the '80s.

Although you may have never realized that Cannell was behind some of your favorite series, the success of the trio fits Cannell to a T. The A-Team would be one of his biggest successes of the '80s.

"I don't work on the premise of hits and non-hits," he said in a 1984 interview with The Press Journal. "Nothing ever clicks in my mind and says 'Hit!' I simply create shows that I would want to watch at home. I create to entertain and the only uplifting thing I do is make a viewer smile."

Cannell said that if he liked watching a show, he would hope the audience did too. Some writers would only write what they knew, others would write using a formula. Cannell only wrote what he liked.

"Everyone thinks I have a secret formula for hits, but I never know when I'm onto something hot," he said. "I haven't got a clue if a show will work. When I began A-Team, I realized it was going to either be a hit or a big mess, and that's because of how unusual its format was."

Despite all of his success, Cannell did have a few flops during his long writing career. Some of these included: Tenspeed and Brown Shoe, Richie Brockelman, Private Eye and The Duke.

But with more successes than flops, Cannell created or co-created nearly 40 television series, and scripted more than 450 episodes. He was also responsible for writing 18 hours of primetime TV programming in 1983.

"I'm like a fireman," he said. "I run from show to show, helping out whoever needs me."

According to the interview, Cannell would write 15-18 pages a day. He said it took him about four days to write a full script for The A-Team.

Even with all of Cannell's success across his series, and specfically with The A-Team, many critics would still target his writing. Cannell wasn't bothered by them. In fact, he defended The A-Team. 

"I don't listen to them because they insist that The A-Team is violent," he said. "We are a fantasty show; a cartoon. The A-Team is not meant to be taken seriously. We once dropped watermelons and heads of lettuce on the heavies. Now I ask you?: Is that an act of violence?"

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wallyandbagfan 15 days ago
Does anyone know why the background music is changed on shows like
Happy Days Petticoat Junction and The Beverly Hillbillies ? On Happy Days episodes like Fonzie Joins The Band
Crusin 'and Richie Moves Out the background music has changed to
Instrumental music.
When RETRO TV shows Beverly Hillbillies and Petticoat Junction the theme song has been changed to an Instrumental song
METV and METV+ are the only stations that show the entire opening and closing themes as the shows originally appeared. These other stations don't show the entire credits, many just show the words much quicker than you can read them with the instrumental themes for the closing credits.
wallyandbagfan 16 days ago
Love METV 22 Said that I always
DREAM A out Happy Days and
Gomer Pyle USMC reruns so the
Everly Brothers song All I Have To
Do IS Dream applies to Me.
All I Have To Do Is Dream is the song playing in the background
On the Happy Days season 2 episode called Crusin ' where Bag
Makes a bet with Richie Potsie and Ralph o. who can come up first with z daye.The LOSER of the bet
Has to run through Arnold's Drive
In in their underwear .Richie has
Drag race with Dooley (Michael
Lembeck) so that he can date
Hildie (Maureen McCormick Marsha
Brady from The Brady Bunch.
I wonder why the song ALL I
Syndication. .Also Fonzie rigged
Mr Cs car do thst it would go fast a day win the drag race.
Love METV 22 Said that I always
DREAM A out Happy Days and
Gomer Pyle USMC
What you choose to think or dream about is your choosing. I'm not saying what you do always or otherwise. If you remove "You can always dream", from my reply to you, it spells out the likelihood
of the dedicated programming ideas your hoping for.
Coldnorth LoveMETV22 15 days ago
You have the patience of a saint. Figurativey not literally. Don’t know any other way to say it.
Leslye 16 days ago
Yes, Tenspeed & Brownshoe was a good show. I wrote a letter to Stephen J. Cannell productions at the time and got a letter back. I also liked Richie Brockelman ( spin off of the Rockford Files). They would both make a great Summer of Me!
wallyandbagfan Leslye 16 days ago
The BEST OF WALLY PLUMSTEAD (SKIP YOUNG) on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet and The BEST OF
BAG ZOMBROSKI (Neil J.Schwartz)
On Happy Days and The BEST OF
EDDIE HASKELL (Ken Osmond ) and Lumpy Rutherford (Frank Bank) on
Leave It To Beaver would all be great for The Summer OF ME.
ALSO Basketball guys Roger Phillips (Ted McGinley) and Chuck Cunningham (Gavan O'HERLIHY and
Randolph Roberts) could be on
Basketball Guys on Happy Days WEEK on The Summer of ME.
Also for the Summer OF ME:Minor
Characters on Happy Days WEEK with selected episodes of these
Happy Days Characters:
Wendy MISTY ROWE Marsha Simms Beatrice Colen Bobby Melner Harris Kal. Moose Barry Greenberg
Spike Danny Butch Bag Zombroski Neil J Schwartz Eugene Belvin Denis Mandel Melvin Belvin Scott Bernstein Daphne Hillary Horan and other minor characters for The
Summer OF Me.BIG AL WEEK ON HAPPY DAYS FEATURING AL MOLINARO as AL for The Summer of Me.For Gomer Pyle USMC week for The Summer of Metv:
Sgt Charlie Hacker week
Bunny Olsen WEEK
Cpl Boyle WEEK
Cpl Nick Cuccinelli WEEK
Sgt Whipple week
Colonel Gray WEEK
Duke Slater WEEK
Lester Hummell WEEK
Lou Ann Poovie week
Frankie Lombardi WEEK
All Suggestions For The Summer
You can always dream. A specific character @ best will be featured during a R.I.P. program block (when a MeTV celebrity passes), for 2 hours (sometimes 5). You may see a Sunday Block of
Leave it to Beaver or Happy Days (once). By "WEEK" If you mean (M-F) or 7 days of programming dedicated to one character or one series that's not realistically likely to happen on MeTV or any of their related networks. The best scenario but again not realistic would be Pluto TV that has a Happy Days Channel- even there it's not dedicated to just HD as they show Laverne and Shirley as well, and they don't run "Best Of's" they usually run by episode order. But again
"You can always dream."
Moverfan Leslye 9 hours ago
I loved Richie of course it played out its thirteen weeks and went bye-bye...
greasedaily 17 days ago
i just want to know when ANYBODY will run Hardcastle & McCormick again !........I have been searching for years already! (am i the only one who ever watched that show?), but i did just finish a binge-watch of The Fall Guy! that too is rather silly.
LoveMETV22 greasedaily 16 days ago
Hardcastle& McCormick is on Crackle ( a free streaming platform). Not aware of any broadcast networks though.
Dennis_L greasedaily 15 days ago
It's on MeTV+
Moverfan LoveMETV22 9 hours ago
On the subject of what's streaming where, I have a question and a request. Does anybody know where or if The Mentalist is streaming (Lifetime has run it a couple of times, but never all episodes/all the way through). And if you say something's running on Amazon, could you please specify Amazon Prime or the Amazon Freevee app? I will invariably look in the wtong place otherwise....
LoveMETV22 Moverfan 9 hours ago
You should find it on the Roku Channel. On Amazon it is "Prime".
LoveMETV22 17 days ago
What a talented Writer/Producer/Novelist or author/ He even had a few acting roles.
" Give Stephen J. Cannell an A for effort." Heck, give him an A+ for all his work(s). Well deserved.
wallyandbagfan 17 days ago
Please move The A Team to 10pm
And please return Happy Days with
the Lost Brither Chuck and Laverne And Shirley and Gomer Pyle USMC with
Tommy Leonetti as Cpl Nick Cuccinelli and Roy Stuart as Cpl Boyle and
Elizabeth MacRae as Lou Ann Poovie.
I appreciate the minor characters on
Happy Days:Eugene Belvin Moose
Wendy Marsha Simms Trudy Gloria
Chuck Cunningham and the city
Co Stars Ted McGinley as Roger Phillips
And Cathy SILVERS as Jenny Piccalo and I like Fonzie Potsie Ralph Richie and
Chachi and Spike a minor character.
I would also like to see The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet with Wally Plumstead (Skip Young) Ginger Salerno
(Chsrlene Salerno) and The Nelson's
Ozzie Harriet Rick and David.
I would Also like to see Alice and The
Lone Ranger and The Adventures of Superman Freakazoid and The Tick
And Love American Style on METV.
Mmmm. Don't see them moving The A- Team out of it's current time slot. Perhaps because you are so intent on HD, a late night time slot, but then again there are a number of specific genre of programs in that late night block. What a conundrum.
Andybandit 17 days ago
Stephen was a good writer, he also wrote Hunter TV show which was out when the A-Team was around. I guess he wrote more than one show back then.
BrittReid Andybandit 16 days ago
And Baretta and Black Sheep Squadron.
He also wrote for "Dragnet" back in the 1960's Before any of those other shows. Stephen J. Cannell, I mean.
cperrynaples 17 days ago
Maybe not lettuce but definitely watermelons! Why do you think people wore raincoats at Galligher shows? "It's just that easy"...LOL!
Moverfan cperrynaples 17 days ago
Yeah, the watermelons were dropped from a helicopter in West Coast Turnaround. Anybody remember where the lettuce was used?
cperrynaples Moverfan 17 days ago
Proably to make Quarter Pounders...LOL!
LoveMETV22 Moverfan 17 days ago
LOL! Speaking of dropping from a helicopter, can't forget WKRP'S " Turkeys Away."
cperrynaples LoveMETV22 16 days ago
"I thought Turkeys could fly"...LOL!
thegov2k2 Moverfan 16 days ago
Season 2 Episode 8, Labor Pains. They launch all sorts of produce at the villains trying to prevent formation of a union.
JeffPaul76 Moverfan 1 day ago
It wasn't lettuce, it was cabbages instead!
Moverfan JeffPaul76 9 hours ago
I suppose either one would work in that situation...
Runeshaper 17 days ago
Tenspeed and Brown Shoe was a pretty good show. Cannell also wrote 21 Jump Street and I love that series!
Karellen Runeshaper 17 days ago
Tenspeed and Brown Shoe was an excellent show that didn't find its audience. It starred very young Jeff Goldblum and Ben Vereen. This show would be a good "Summer of Me" program.
Runeshaper Karellen 15 days ago
Agreed! (-:
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