Before Nell Scovell co-wrote the recent New York Times bestseller Lean In with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg (and the new version that just came out in April, Lean In For Graduates), she was the first staff writer hired by Spy Magazine, created the long-running television series “Sabrina, The Teen Witch,” and wrote an episode of “The Simpsons” in addition to other television shows, including “Newhart,” “Charmed,” and “Murphy Brown,” to name a few.
This summer, Nell will be coming to Stanford to speak to campers about her storied career as a television and magazine writer. Twenty-seven years ago, when Nell was just getting her start in TV writing, she was hired to work on a late-night talk show called “The Wilton North Report.” A precursor to shows like “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” the show was a mixture of news, talk, and variety. What Nell didn’t realize when she took the job and relocated from New York to Hollywood was that the show would be short-lived. In this piece, Nell reflects on those days of writing the show (and her famous co-writers) and how a show can be so great and yet still not catch on. The mystery of television? Perhaps.