Yep – that’s exactly what this fall will bring.  CBS has ordered a half-hour comedy for fall based on the popular series of Twitter postings &*$! My Dad Says.

     At first blush, this seems crazy – using something as slight as Twitter postings to base an entire TV series on.  I mean, maybe some obscure cable channel might do it, but mighty CBS?

     That was my first reaction.  This is crazy!  But then I thought about it and realized that in many ways, there is nothing new about taking a series of short, humorous quips and turning them into a series.  The networks have done it successfully over and over again…with stand-up comics.  From Jerry Seinfeld to Bill Cosby to Tim Allen to Roseanne, networks have time and again taken the humor and comic persona/character created by a polished stand-up act and built a series around that persona/character.

     &*$! My Dad Says does exactly that.  The Twitter postings (and subsequent New York Times bestselling book based on it) clearly establish the comedic persona and character of Sam Halpern: irascible, uncensored, politically incorrect father of grown children (to be played by William Shatner in the CBS series.)

     By the way, with Cosby et al, the networks didn’t just plop the stand-up act onto the screen.  They hired talented, experienced TV writers and producers to develop a show around the central character.  Same thing has happened with &*$! My Dad Says.  The creators of Will & Grace were brought in to craft the series.

     TV series are about characters – especially their central character.  The inspiration for this central character can come from all kinds of places – stand-up comedy, a play, a movie, real life.  In the case of Sam Halpern, he came from real life.  We were just made aware of him via Twitter.  So while some may say that basing a TV series on a bunch of Twitter postings is yet another sign of the dumbing down of TV, I say it’s just the 2010 version of the way things have always been.