Sunday, February 05, 2006

Ms. Ruggiero's neighborhood

Five and a half years ago, as part of a never-ending quest to find local TV angles to please my editors, I sat down with a spunky redhead named Diane Ruggiero, who had gone from Jersey waitress to TV show creator ("That's Life") pretty much overnight. "That's Life" didn't so much wind up being a happily ever after experience, but I stayed friendly with Diane, and when she established herself as one of the top writers on "Veronica Mars," I was really happy, both because she'd found a better job and because it gave me an excuse to write a sequel to the original story. Here's how it starts:

This is the story of a woman who got everything she'd ever dreamed of, had it taken away from her, and got it back again.

Five and a half years ago, Old Bridge native Diane Ruggiero was in the middle of her Cinderella moment, going from waitress in East Rutherford to hot screenwriter in Hollywood in an eyeblink. Nora Ephron had just bought her script "Pretty the Beast," and CBS had hired her to create "That's Life," a quasi-autobiographical drama about a Jersey woman who enrolls in college at 32, to the confusion of her friends and family.

"I'm homesick as hell, but look what I'm doing," she told me in the summer of 2000, a few months before "That's Life" debuted. "When you're out here with a job like this, it's amazing. I could be on Mars right now and doing this and I'd be happy."

And then her Cinderella story went all pumpkin in a hurry.

To read the rest, go here. Diane's next episode is this week's, and it's very good, with a high-school level mystery (who stole the class trip money?) that nonetheless has implications on both of the season's big cases.

1 comment:

SteveO said...

the link for more info didn't go anywhere.

SteveO