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Julius Jacobson writes...

First off, thank you for creating a masterpiece. Undoubtedly one of the greatest animated shows of all time.

Now some questions about the TV industry:

1.You are quoted in the FAQ as advising aspiring television authors "If you can be happy doing anything else, do that thing." Working in the industry for all these years, do you feel that most of your peers have taken this advice, or do you feel surrounded by bitter and disillusioned cynics?

2. Why is it that you were given such a position of significant control with "Gargoyles" relatively early in your career, yet have been unable to find a position in similar role since adding that credit to your resume? Despite being a moderate hit, did losing the ratings war with Power Rangers attach a stigma to the show (and thus you) as "not being able to hit a homerun ", making it harder to get future opportunities (you have done some good work since, but nothing with the creative control or depth of Gargoyles)? Or is the industry understanding of what Gargs was up against (A barinless "Pokemon" like monster) and don't disparage it as a "failure" simply because it couldn't defeat a (ratings) behemoth, and your current situation is just the brakes of a volatile industry?

3. I don't necessarily want to be a TV writer (I'm into prose) but I am a big fan of animation. Do you think the FoxBox and the new Ninja Turtles cartoon (the blocks highest rated program by far), in going up against Kids WB, is in the same position Gargoyles and Disney Afternoon was in in 1995/96? Foxbox has moved to Sundays ostensibly to avoid the competition. As a creative Producer once in a seemingly similar situation, could you just objectively tell a worried fan if this is a sign of The End? ( TMNT has, however been signed on for more episodes up to 52, which according to you is succesful in todays market.) As an aside to this question, how much of keeping an animated show on the air has to do with sales of merchandise as opposed to pure ratings?

Thank you for your time.

Greg responds...

1. I am indeed surrounded by bitter and disillusioned cynics. Though most of us are pretty cheerful about it.

2. Mostly it's just the breaks. But I have been stigmatized here and there by various individuals who were in power... some of whom are no longer in power. Also there were a unique set of circumstances at Disney at the time of Gargoyles that resulted in me getting so much creative freedom and control. Circumstances that would be hard to duplicate. But since then, I have had substantial control over my ten Roughnecks episodes. I had some control over the first season of Max Steel. And on the show I'm working on now, W.I.T.C.H., I've had more control, more freedom -- and more fun -- than on any show I've done since Gargoyles.

3. I'm just not up to speed on the Fox Box/Kids WB situation, though I know that Kids WB is phasing out their weekday afternoon kids block. As for merchandise vs. ratings... Both can be HUGE factors. A network can't survive on bad ratings, but most shows have trouble making their budgets without merchandising revenue.

Response recorded on September 06, 2005