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The Great Movies/TV Divide

By admin Published: September 17, 2007

For those of you who have not yet found it online, my fall-season rumination is here. (The first line in text is actually a subhead, with the story beginning on the following line.)

But, even as we all get psyched about the TV season to varying degrees, there are still those who view TV as an entertainment stepchild to the movies. I am thinking specifically of Gregory Kirschling of Entertainment Weekly, who wrote a recent article about writer-director Paul Haggis ("The Great Divider," Sept. 21 issue).

Paul Haggis
Paul Haggis, movie guy -- and TV guy

Even though the piece focuses on Haggis's movie work, I was still taken aback by this passage:

Haggis burst on the scene three years ago with his script for Clint Eastwood's "Million Dollar Baby." A former "Facts of Life" writer who'd left a 25-year career in TV to pursue film ..."

You get the implication. In TV, Haggis wrote crap like "Facts of Life." At the movies, he wins Oscars. Well, let's look at the record.

For TV, it is true Haggis worked briefly -- and unhappily --- for "Facts" before getting fired; one bio says he was fired for suggesting that the show be funny. But he also made "EZ Streets," a remarkable drama that, though short-lived, is still remembered more than fondly by the people who saw it. It will rank among Haggis's best work -- and it still needs an authorized, complete-series DVD.

Haggis has other serious TV credits, and has kept a hand in TV. But I don't think EW wanted to think much about that. It was much more amusing for the mag to jam him with a famous bad credit.

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