It’s been in the news a lot the past week about television producer Sam Simon’s failing health and his plan to donate much of his money to charity. Which his nice, unless like me, you were hoping that he would wind up being your long lost only surviving member of his family and would gain his inheritance after his death. Of course, it goes without saying I would have to spend a night in a haunted mansion for no particular reason before I could get the money. Or maybe I’d have to be the first to have a baby. Or maybe I’d have to spend 500 million dollars in a month and not have anything to show for it in order to get the rest of the inheritance.
Most of the articles listed mention Mr. Simon’s work with The Simpson’s and little else. It’s true Mr. Simon made a lot of money off The Simpsons. After helping Matt Groening help develop the show he also put together the first writing team and helped write eight early episodes to help define the characters. After differences with Mr. Groening, Mr. Simon left the show in 1993. I’m sure he didn’t know at the time the show would still be airing 20 years later.
Despite Mr. Simon’s lack of involvement with the show, his name still appears in the beginning of every episode and still collects 8 figures in a salary every year. This is, by far, the main reason he has so much money. But to just give him credit for being involved in one fifth of The Simpson’s run is to do a disservice to his talent.
Mr. Simon also was a writer and showrunner for two years on the classic sitcom Taxi. He then worked on Cheers as a producer and writer for three years. It was then that he got involved in The Tracy Ulman Show (the show where The Simpsons got their start) and than ultimately The Simpsons.
He would go onto work on at least one episode of Friends and then be a producer, director and writer on The Drew Carey Show for five years. Most people who lived in the late 90’s probably don’t want to admit it, but The Drew Carey Show was a huge hit back then.
Mr. Simon would also work on both The George Carlin Show and The Norm Show, both under appreciated sitcoms.
Mr. Simon also worked on The Michael Richards Show, but we shouldn’t hold that against him.