Badass Writer of the Week: Stephen J. Cannell

Stephen J. Cannell

Stephen J. Cannell

By Sean Tuohy

We wanted to start post with a list of some of the shows this week's #badasswriter created. This isn't even half of the list, but we had to stop when Daniel got hand cramps and something shinny caught Sean’s eye.

Even some of our millennial readers will have heard of a few of those shows. That’s an impressive list. And it goes on!

More impressive is the fact that the writer created all those shows while suffering from dyslexia. He had problems reading and writing his whole life. This week's #badasswriter is Stephen J. Cannell, the man who changed the television landscape forever.

You don't know the name? Are you sure? Watch the clip below. We'll wait.

That's right, the guy who throws the paper up in the air is Cannell himself! The man who you saw in the post credits of some of the best-written television shows was a man who had difficult reading as a child.

Cannell struggled throughout school and his writing career with his learning disability, but he never allowed this to stop him from becoming a writer. And write he did. It took Cannell only five years to start producing his own television shows. He was pumping out so many scripts for other shows that networks and producers took notice and allowed him to helm his own show. His first show was “The Rockford Files” which ranked #39 on TV Guide's Top 50 Shows of All Time.

Between 1973 and 1990, Cannell created or co-created 20 television shows. One of his biggest hits was a story about a group of guys in a van. Wow, when you say it like that it sounds dirty. Well, it wasn't dirty. It was “The A-Team.” One of the highest rated television series of the 1980's was created a man who had daily struggles with writing because of a learning disorder.

While Cannell produced hit after hit, he also found time to write novels. In 2001, he produced the first in the long-running and beloved detective Shane Scully book series.

Cannell passed away in 2010 after battling cancer, but we’re guessing he’s pitching an idea for a new television show where ever he is.