Michael Scully (born October 2, 1956) is an American television writer and producer. He is known for his work as executive producer and showrunner of the animated sitcom The Simpsons from 1997 to 2001. Scully grew up in West Springfield, Massachusetts and long had an interest in writing. He was an underachiever at school and dropped out of college, going on to work in a series of jobs. Eventually, in 1986, he moved to Los Angeles where he worked as a stand-up comic and wrote for Yakov Smirnoff.
Scully went on to write for several television sitcoms before 1993, when he was hired to write for The Simpsons. There, he wrote twelve episodes, including "Lisa on Ice" and "Team Homer", and served as showrunner from seasons 9 to 12. Scully won three Primetime Emmy Awards for his work on the series, with many publications praising his episodes, but others criticizing his tenure as a period of decline in the show's quality. Scully still works on the show and also co-wrote 2007's The Simpsons Movie.
More recently, Scully co-created The Pitts and Complete Savages as well as working on Everybody Loves Raymond and Parks and Recreation. He co-developed the short-lived animated television version of Napoleon Dynamite. Scully is married to fellow writer Julie Thacker.
Mike Scully at the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con
October 2, 1956
Springfield, Massachusetts, U.S.
Scully was born October 2, 1956 at Springfield Hospital in Springfield, Massachusetts and grew up in the Merrick section of West Springfield. His father, Richard, was a salesman and owned a dry cleaning business, his mother Geraldine (d. 1985) worked for the Baystate Medical Center once Scully and his brothers were old enough to be left at home alone. Scully is of Irish ancestry.
As a child he "hoped to be a musician or a hockey player." At Main Street Elementary School, with the encouragement of his teacher James Doyle, he developed an interest in writing, serving as editor for his school newspaper. He graduated from West Springfield High School in 1974, having been voted "Most Likely Not to Live Up to Potential" by his classmates, and dropped out of Holyoke Community College after one day, undecided about what he wanted to do with his life. He took up work in the clothing department at Steiger's department store, as a janitor at the Baystate Medical Center and also as a driving instructor. He commented: "I think if I had actually succeeded at college and gotten a degree in accounting or something, I might have given up too quickly on writing. Having no marketable job skills was a tremendous incentive to keep trying to succeed as a writer." He realized "there probably wasn't going to be a career in riding around with my friends listening to Foghat," so Scully decided he "definitely wanted to break into comedy" even though he "really had no reason to believe [he] could succeed." Regardless, he moved to Los Angeles, California in 1982.
In California, Scully worked in a tuxedo store. He also got a job writing jokes for comedian Yakov Smirnoff and developed his joke writing skills by performing himself at amateur stand-up comedy nights. He purchased scripts from a variety of half-hour comedy shows, including Taxi, to train himself to write them and had numerous speculative scripts rejected. He started "bouncing around Hollywood working on some of the lousiest sitcoms in history." He served on the writing staff of The Royal Family, Out of This World, Top of the Heap and What a Country!, where he did audience warm-up, a role he also performed on Grand.
In 1993, David Mirkin hired Scully to write for The Simpsons, as a replacement for the departing Conan O'Brien, after reading some of his sample scripts. He began as a writer and producer for the show during its fifth season and wrote the episodes "Lisa's Rival", "Two Dozen and One Greyhounds" and "Lisa on Ice" which aired in season six. "Lisa's Rival" was his first episode; he wrote the script, but the original concept had been conceived by O'Brien. Similarly, he wrote the script for "Two Dozen and One Greyhounds", which was based on an idea by Al Jean and Mike Reiss. "Lisa on Ice" was inspired by Scully's love of ice hockey and featured many experiences from his childhood, as was "Marge Be Not Proud" (which he wrote for season seven) which was based "one of the most traumatic moments" of his life, when he was caught shoplifting at age 12. He jokingly told Variety that "It's great to be paid for reliving the horrors of your life." He also wrote "Team Homer" and "Lisa's Date with Density". Scully noted: "I wrote a lot of Lisa's shows. I have five daughters, so I like Lisa a lot. I like Homer, too. Homer comes very naturally to me: I don't know if that's a good or a bad thing. A lot of my favorite episodes are the ones when Homer and Lisa are in conflict with each other ... They're very human, I think that's their appeal."
Scully became showrunner of The Simpsons in 1997, during its ninth season. As showrunner and executive producer, Scully said his aim was to "not wreck the show", and he headed up the writing staff and oversaw all aspects of the show's production. During his time as showrunner he was credited with writing or co-writing five episodes: "Treehouse of Horror VIII" ("The HΩmega Man" segment), "Sunday, Cruddy Sunday", "Beyond Blunderdome", "Behind the Laughter" and "The Parent Rap". Scully was popular with the staff members, many of whom praised his organization and management skills. Writer Tom Martin said he was "quite possibly the best boss I've ever worked for" and "a great manager of people" while Don Payne commented that for Scully "it was really important that we kept decent hours". Scully served as showrunner until 2001, during season 12, making him the first person to run the show for more than two seasons. He returned in season 14 to write and executive produce the episode "How I Spent My Strummer Vacation", and co-wrote and co-produced The Simpsons Movie in 2007.
Scully's tenure as showrunner of The Simpsons has been the subject of criticism from some of the show's fans. John Ortved wrote "Scully's episodes excel when compared to what The Simpsons airs nowadays, but he was the man at the helm when the ship turned towards the iceberg." The BBC noted "the common consensus is that The Simpsons' golden era ended after season nine", while an op-ed in Slate by Chris Suellentrop argued The Simpsons changed from a realistic show about family life into a typical cartoon during Scully's years: "Under Scully's tenure, The Simpsons became, well, a cartoon. ... Episodes that once would have ended with Homer and Marge bicycling into the sunset (perhaps while Bart gagged in the background) now end with Homer blowing a tranquilizer dart into Marge's neck." The Simpsons under Scully has been negatively labelled as a "gag-heavy, Homer-centric incarnation" by Jon Bonné of MSNBC, while some fans have bemoaned the transformation in Homer's character during the era, from sweet and sincere to "a boorish, self-aggrandizing oaf", dubbing him "Jerkass Homer".
Despite this, much of Scully's work on the show also received critical praise. Scully won five Primetime Emmy Awards for his work on The Simpsons, while Entertainment Weekly cited "How I Spent My Strummer Vacation" as the show's 22nd best episode. Robert Canning of IGN also gave the episode a positive review, something he also did for "Behind the Laughter" and "Trilogy of Error", which aired during season 12. He called the latter: "one extremely enjoyable misadventure. The Simpsons may have peaked in the '90s, but that doesn't mean the eight years since haven't delivered their share of quality episodes. This was one of them." Martin said that he does not understand the criticism against Scully, and that he thinks the criticism "bothered [him], and still bothers him, but he managed to not get worked up over it." Ortved noted in his book that blaming a single show runner for what some perceive as the lowering quality of the show "is unfair." When asked in 2007 how the series' longevity is sustained, Scully joked, "Lower your quality standards. Once you've done that you can go on forever."
Scully was a writer and co-executive producer on Everybody Loves Raymond for part of season seven and all of season eight, winning an Emmy for his work. Scully co-created (with wife Julie Thacker) The Pitts for Fox and Complete Savages for ABC, which was produced by Mel Gibson. The Pitts was a sitcom about a family suffering from bad luck. Thacker stated the show was designed "as a companion piece for The Simpsons. It had a very cartoony feel to it. We always knew the initial audience for the show would be 12-year-olds to start, and then when families saw that the writing was very Simpsons - like, because many of the writers were from The Simpsons, [we thought] families would start to watch it together." It was canceled after six episodes; Scully and Thacker laid the blame for this on the show's timeslot, 9:30 P.M., which was too late for the target audience. Complete Savages, which Thacker and Scully wrote with the "Simpsons sensibility" of layered jokes, was canceled in January 2005 due to low ratings and network anger at Scully and Thacker's decision to write to TV critics in what the Hartford Courant labelled "unsanctioned promoting". A fan of NRBQ, Scully produced, with Thacker, a documentary about the band in 2003 entitled NRBQ: Rock 'n' Roll's Best Kept Secret; Scully employed the group as the "unofficial house band" of The Simpsons during his tenure as showrunner. Scully also created a pilot for Fox called Schimmel in 2000, starring Robert Schimmel, which was dropped after Schimmel was diagnosed with cancer.
Scully served as a consulting producer on the NBC series Parks and Recreation, and wrote the episodes "Ron and Tammy" in 2009, and "The Possum" in 2010. Scully also had a cameo role in the episode "Eagleton" as a speaker at the Pawnee community meeting.
In 2012, Scully co-produced and co-wrote an animated TV version of the film Napoleon Dynamite, which was canceled after six episodes. That May, Scully signed a seven-figure, multi-year overall deal with 20th Century Fox Television to develop several projects. He served as co-executive producer on the single-season NBC sitcom The New Normal (2012–2013), alongside Allison Adler and Ryan Murphy. Scully held the same title for Fox's Dads (which debuted in 2013).
He is married to writer Julie Thacker; the couple has five daughters. His brother Brian Scully is also a comedy writer and he has a second brother called Neil, who is an ice hockey writer. His mother died in 1985. Scully was awarded an honorary doctorate in fine arts from Westfield State University in 2008. He walked the picket line during the 2007–2008 WGA strike while on crutches.
"Behind the Laughter" is the twenty-second and final episode of The Simpsons' eleventh season. It first aired on the Fox network in the United States on May 21, 2000. In the episode, which is a parody of the VH1 series Behind the Music, the Simpson family are portrayed as actors on a sitcom, and their dramatic inner turmoil and struggles are detailed. Told in a narrative format, the episode tells a fictional story of how The Simpsons began.
The episode was directed by Mark Kirkland and written by Tim Long, George Meyer, Mike Scully and Matt Selman. The plot idea for the episode was pitched by Long, and the writers wrote the episode quickly without a draft. VH1 and the producers of Behind the Music allowed the crew to use the show's visual graphics package, and Jim Forbes, narrator for the show, also came in to record narrations for the episode. In addition, country musician Willie Nelson guest stars as himself.
The episode received critical acclaim, with many reviewers noting it as a highlight of the season and the series itself. The episode won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program (For Programming less than One Hour) in 2000, beating the Family Guy episode "Road to Rhode Island". In addition, composer Alf Clausen won an Annie Award for "Outstanding Individual Achievement for Music in an Animated Television Production".
In May 2004, the BBC chose it as the last episode to be aired, having lost the broadcasting rights in February 2002, to Channel 4, who later aired the series in November 2004.Brian Scully
Brian Scully (born August 10, 1953 in West Springfield, Massachusetts) is an American television writer and producer.
Scully initially worked as a TV salesman before eventually getting a job writing on Out of This World. After the show was canceled, Scully was unemployed for over a year but a residual payment of $20,000 for Out of This World reruns helped pay his health insurance costs after his wife gave birth to their premature child. He has written episodes for The Simpsons (such as "Lost Our Lisa") and Complete Savages. He has produced The Drew Carey Show and The Pitts. He is the older brother of long-time The Simpsons writer and showrunner Mike Scully, and has a second brother called Neil. He currently works on Family Guy as a writer and consulting producer.Duncanville (TV series)
Duncanville is an upcoming American animated sitcom co-created by Amy Poehler, Mike Scully and Julie Scully for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The show will feature the voices of Poehler, Ty Burrell, Riki Lindhome, Rashida Jones and Wiz Khalifa. The series is set to premiere during the 2019-20 season.Julie Thacker
Julie Thacker is an American television writer. She has written for The Simpsons, and along with her husband The Simpsons writer and producer Mike Scully she has co-created The Pitts and Complete Savages and will be the co-creator of the upcoming Duncanville.Lisa's Date with Density
"Lisa's Date with Density" is the seventh episode of The Simpsons' eighth season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on December 15, 1996. It was written by Mike Scully and directed by Susie Dietter. The episode sees Lisa develop a crush on Nelson Muntz, which eventually leads to Lisa and Nelson dating.Lisa's Rival
"Lisa's Rival" is the second episode of The Simpsons' sixth season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on September 11, 1994. It was the first episode to be written by Mike Scully, and was directed by Mark Kirkland. Winona Ryder guest stars as Allison Taylor, a new student at Springfield Elementary School. Lisa Simpson begins to feel threatened by Allison because she is smarter, younger, and a better saxophone player than she is. The episode's subplot sees Homer steal a large pile of sugar from a crashed truck, and begin selling it door-to-door.
Although written by Scully, the episode was originally pitched by former writer Conan O'Brien, while the subplot was suggested by George Meyer. It features references to films such as The Fugitive and Scarface, while production of the episode was affected by the 1994 Northridge earthquake.Lisa on Ice
"Lisa on Ice" is the eighth episode of The Simpsons' sixth season. It was the first broadcast on the Fox network in the United States on November 13, 1994. In the episode, Lisa discovers that she possesses a skill for ice hockey. A rivalry between Lisa and Bart ensues.
The episode was written by Mike Scully and directed by Bob Anderson, whose passion for hockey inspired the plot. It features cultural references to films such as Rollerball and The Pope of Greenwich Village. The episode was well-received by critics and acquired a Nielsen rating of 11.6.Marge Be Not Proud
"Marge Be Not Proud" is the eleventh episode of The Simpsons' seventh season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on December 17, 1995. In the episode, Marge refuses to buy Bart the new video game Bonestorm, so he steals it from a local discount store. Bart ends up being estranged from his mother when he gets caught, and fearing that he has lost her love, he decides he must regain it.
The episode was written by Mike Scully and directed by Steven Dean Moore. Scully got the inspiration for it from an experience in his childhood when he shoplifted. Lawrence Tierney guest-starred in the episode as Don Brodka. Since airing, the episode has received mostly positive reviews from television critics. It acquired a Nielsen rating of 9.5, and was the fourth highest-rated show on the Fox network the week it aired.Mike Scully (American football)
Michael John Scully (born November 1, 1965) is a former American football center in the National Football League for the Washington Redskins. He played college football at the University of Illinois. He was selected to play in the 1988 Senior Bowl. Scully was released by the Redkins after a season-opening loss to the New York Giants, in which he bounced two snaps to punter Steve Cox.He is currently the PGA Director of Golf at Desert Mountain Golf Club in North Scottsdale, AZ and in 2008 was named IPGA Head Professional of the Year.Napoleon Dynamite (TV series)
Napoleon Dynamite is a 2012 American animated sitcom based on the 2004 indie film of the same name. Set in the small town of Preston, Idaho, it follows the adventures of the titular 16-year-old boy, who thinks he is skilled at everything. The series was created by the film's co-writers and directors Jared and Jerusha Hess, who developed it with Mike Scully and proposed it to Fox.
The series received mixed reviews; critics were divided on how well the source material translated to animation. The premiere episode had a Nielsen rating of 9.5 million viewers, but the ratings later dropped and the last four episodes averaged only 4 million viewers. The series ranked sixth in viewership among teenagers. The series aired on Fox's Animation Domination lineup from January 15 to March 4, 2012.Team Homer
"Team Homer" is the twelfth episode of The Simpsons' seventh season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on January 7, 1996. In the episode, Homer starts a bowling team with Moe, Apu, and Otto. When Mr. Burns discovers the team was funded with his money, he insists on joining. Meanwhile, Bart's "Down with homework" T-shirt incites a student riot that leads to the implementation of a uniform dress code.
The episode was written by Mike Scully and directed by Mark Kirkland. Scully came up with the idea for it when he went bowling one day. The episode features cultural references to Mad magazine and the film Caddyshack.
Since airing, the episode has received mostly positive reviews from television critics. It acquired a Nielsen rating of 9.4, and was the third highest-rated show on the Fox network the week it aired.The Pitts
The Pitts is an American sitcom that aired Sunday at 9:30 on Fox between March and April 2003. It is about a family and their bad luck. The show featured absurd, fantastical plots presented within the context of a seemingly normal family sitcom. It was cancelled after two months.The Simpsons (season 11)
The Simpsons' eleventh season originally aired on the Fox Network in the United States between September 26, 1999 and May 21, 2000, starting with "Beyond Blunderdome" and ending with "Behind the Laughter". With Mike Scully as the showrunner for the eleventh season, it has twenty-two episodes, including four hold-over episodes from the season 10 production line. Season 11 was released on DVD in Region 1 on October 7, 2008 with both a standard box and Krusty-molded plastic cover.
The season coincided with The Simpsons family being awarded their star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame, the season receiving itself an Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program, an Annie Award, and a British Comedy Award. It also saw the departure of voice actress Maggie Roswell. The Simpsons ranked 41st in the season ratings with an average U.S. viewership of 8.8 million viewers, making it the second highest rated show on Fox after Malcolm in the Middle. It got an 18-49 Nielsen Rating of 8.2//13.The Simpsons (season 12)
The Simpsons' twelfth season originally aired between November 2000 and May 2001. It began on Wednesday, November 1, 2000 with "Treehouse of Horror XI". The season contains four hold-over episodes from the season 11 (BABF) production line. The showrunner for the twelfth production season was Mike Scully. The season won and was nominated for numerous awards including two Primetime Emmy Awards wins and an Annie Award. Season 12 was released on DVD in Region 1 on August 18, 2009, Region 2 on September 28, 2009, and Region 4 on September 2, 2009.The Simpsons (season 13)
The Simpsons' thirteenth season originally aired on the Fox network between November 6, 2001 and May 22, 2002 and consists of 22 episodes. The show runner for the thirteenth production season was Al Jean who executive-produced 17 episodes. Mike Scully executive-produced the remaining five, which were all hold-overs that were produced for the previous season. The Simpsons is an animated series about a working-class family, which consists of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie. The show is set in the fictional city of Springfield, and lampoons American culture, society, television and many aspects of the human condition.
The season won an Annie Award for Best Animated Television Production, and was nominated for several other awards, including two Primetime Emmy Awards, three Writers Guild of America Awards, and an Environmental Media Award. The Simpsons ranked 30th in the season ratings with an average viewership of 12.4 million viewers. It was the second-highest-rated show on Fox after Malcolm in the Middle. Season 13 was released on DVD in Region 1 on August 24, 2010, Region 2 on September 20, 2010, and Region 4 on December 1, 2010.The Two Mrs. Nahasapeemapetilons
"The Two Mrs. Nahasapeemapetilons" is the seventh episode of The Simpsons' ninth season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on November 16, 1997. It was written by Richard Appel and directed by Steven Dean Moore. The episode sees Apu Nahasapeemapetilon marry Manjula, and incorporates several aspects of Hindu wedding ceremonies, which the writers researched during the episode's production. Appel pitched the episode several years before season nine but the idea was not used until Mike Scully became showrunner. The episode's subplot, which sees Homer stay at the Springfield Retirement Castle, was initially conceived as a separate episode, but could not be developed in enough detail.
The episode received mixed reviews.Treehouse of Horror VIII
"Treehouse of Horror VIII" is the fourth episode of The Simpsons' ninth season. It first aired on the Fox network in the United States on October 26, 1997. In the eighth annual Treehouse of Horror episode, Homer Simpson is the last man left alive when a neutron bomb destroys Springfield until a gang of mutants come after him, Homer buys a transporter that Bart uses to switch bodies with a housefly, and Marge is accused of witchcraft in a Puritan rendition of Springfield in 1649. It was written by Mike Scully, David X. Cohen and Ned Goldreyer, and was directed by Mark Kirkland.Two Dozen and One Greyhounds
"Two Dozen and One Greyhounds" is the 20th episode of The Simpsons' sixth season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on April 9, 1995. The episode was written by Mike Scully and directed by Bob Anderson. Frank Welker guest stars as Santa's Little Helper and various other dogs. In the episode, Santa's Little Helper has puppies with a dog that he met at the greyhound racetrack.
The episode is inspired by Walt Disney Pictures' 1961 animated film One Hundred and One Dalmatians. The producers decided to have Mr. Burns communicate his horrific plan of making a tuxedo from the puppies through a musical number, "See My Vest", after determining that it would be a "fun and light" way to convey his plan of killing the greyhounds. "Two Dozen and One Greyhounds" received a generally positive reception from television critics. During the week of its original broadcast, the episode finished 55th in ratings, with a Nielsen rating of 7.3. Several reviews considered the episode to be among the best in the series, with Mr. Burns' role and the "See My Vest" sequence being singled out for praise.Wild Barts Can't Be Broken
"Wild Barts Can't Be Broken" is the eleventh episode of The Simpsons' tenth season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on January 17, 1999. When Homer, Barney, Lenny, and Carl drunkenly vandalize Springfield Elementary School, it is blamed on the children of Springfield, prompting Chief Wiggum to impose a curfew. The children respond by setting up a pirate radio show in which they reveal the embarrassing secrets of Springfield's adults. The episode was written by Larry Doyle and directed by Mark Ervin. The concept behind the episode originates from show producer Mike Scully always wanting to do an episode where the children would be subject to a curfew. The episode received an 8.9 Nielsen rating, and mostly positive reviews from critics.