I talked a while ago about how my name wound up in “The Bubble Boy” episode of “Seinfeld.” Network executives often found their names or images used sort of as Easter eggs on several programs.
Judd Apatow used the names of the two NBC development executives in a “Freaks and Geeks” episode as a thank you for their championing of the show. Bob Balaban notoriously played a version of my boss Warren Littlefield on several episodes of “Seinfeld.”
Steve Levitan used my name in an episode of “Just Shoot Me” titled “My Dinner With Woody.” I don’t think it was meant as a compliment. I appeared on two episodes of “Bones” (thanks Hart Hanson) as an “aging FBI agent with gender identity issues.” I was also in the final episode of “The Finder” where I was institutionalized. Seemed I was always cast as someone with issues.
There was an actor named Shaun Weiss who looked a lot like one of our top NBC sales executives, Mike Mandelker. Shaun appeared on two NBC comedies, “Mr. Rhodes” and “The Tony Danza Show,” and on both shows his character was named Mandelker. I wonder how that happened. Mike got a lot of ribbing for that and told me I needed to make him whole, so I begged Tom Fontana who was the showrunner on “Homicide,” to put the names of the two top NBC sales executives on the homicide board.
Every season of “Homicide” started with a clean board, and in the first episode two drug dealers were murdered and their names HOFFNER and CAULFIELD were put at the top of the board where they stayed all season.
I’m sure others in the business have their own tales of TV executive Easter eggs.