Think you have problems with your book titles?

Try naming a TV show.

“I put Everybody Loves Raymond on the original script. What I loved about it was that it was like I Love Lucy, and I was trying to do an old-fashioned show — a traditional sitcom to break out from everything hip and edgy at the time. Plus, it had that specificity: Once you knew the show, you got that the title spoke to sibling rivalries, problems with parents, problems with your wife. Before I turned it in, I showed it to Ray. He said, “You can’t call it that because then we’re asking for it. I’m named Raymond. I don’t want that pressure of everybody having to love me. The next thing is, ‘Oh yeah? I don’t.’ ” I said, “Let’s turn it in and see if the network even likes it.” CBS liked the script enough to go to pilot, and the whole time Ray is calling Les Moonves, saying, “You’ve got to change the title.” And Les was like, “Ray, you’re not even on the schedule yet. Don’t worry about the title.” Then we get picked up to series, and Ray goes nuts. He calls Les: “Thank you for picking up the show, but you’ve got to change the title.” Les responds, “Ray, if you become a top 15 show, you can call the show anything you want.” Ray says, “OK.” By that time, Ray has come up with a list of his own titles. There was That Raymond GuyRaymond’s WayWhat’s With Raymond? They were all terrible, which he admits now. He wrote them on a piece of paper, which we then framed and put up in our office. We do become a top 15 show, and the moment we crossed the threshold, Ray calls Les and says, “Can we change the title now?” And, of course, Les says, “You can’t change the title now. You’re a top 15 show!” Every introduction for the rest of Ray’s life will be, “Here’s the guy that everybody loves.” I’m happy for the success we had together, but I do feel guilty that he has to live with that until he dies, and probably after.”

Read more here.

The article has a lot of good examples…and some good tips that explain the logic behind how the names get picked (or don’t), along with some exceptions that prove the rule.

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