Why We Hate Tom Fontana

From tvguide.com, July 15, 1997:
HOMICIDE BOSS SQUEALS When Melissa Leo was fired from Homicide (Fridays, 10 p.m./ET, NBC), fans immediately began swapping rumors about her replacement. "It drove me crazy," says Tom Fontana, the show's executive producer. "There was a thing on the Internet that said we're hiring an East Indian actress to replace her. I decided, OK, I don't know where this is coming from. So every three days, we keep putting fake names on the Net. We initially said it was Shannen Doherty. The next one was Juliette Lewis, but she was only going to do eight episodes because she's a movie star. If you make it just credible enough, people actually go, 'Whoa! I heard such and such.' I'm going to put Katharine Hepburn in. My whole new thing is disinformation."

From tvguide.com, July 15, 1997: When it comes to Leo's dismissal, however, Fontana stops joking. According to members of Leo's camp, NBC execs have been pressuring Fontana to up the series' babe quotient. But Fontana, who is busy launching HBO's Oz these days, maintains losing Leo was a mercy replacement. "I made the decision based on the fact that we as writers were not writing for her," he says. "It wasn't a conscious thing, but over the course of time we realized that something was not sparking in the way that we were hoping it would spark. So it was more a choice of, OK, we can keep her around and have her be frustrated, or we can let her go and bring in somebody who maybe will stimulate us more." Was she angry? The wizard of Oz shrugged. "Melissa's pissed about everything."

August 1998 re Michael Michelle as Sheppard: "Rather than pretend she's a hag, we're embracing the fact we have a woman men want to f---. This is virgin territory for Homicide. It's not that we've had ugly women before, but she's just so striking."

March 1999: "I told Sassa 'I'm willing to accommodate.' We can have teenage homicide detectives. It can be a chick show. It can be anything they want."

From the NBC Homicide website: "But the disappointing thing about the stuff that I've read is that it seems to me for people who seem as devoted to the show as they are, they don't give us any benefit of a doubt for really thinking this stuff through, they may not agree with the path we're on, but they get insulting. I almost want to get on and say, 'If you can do better, come on over here!' "

June 13, 1999: " Well, actually, my mother is the most important audience member."

June 13, 1999: "I have yet to figure out Internet people. There is actually a "Why We Hate Tom Fontana" Web site, because I make choices for characters that people thought weren't the way to go. But they're my characters."

June 16, 1999: "I've rediscovered Green Acres after all these years. It's like a revelation to me."

September 1, 1999: "Listen," says Fontana, "I'm a whore. I'll work anywhere. I'll spread my legs wherever they want."

Know of any more "good" quotes from Mr. Fontana? Send them in.

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This page was updated on September 5, 1999 by Laurel Krahn who can be reached via email to laurel@windowseat.org.