“Speechless” has been a favorite with audiences and critics alike. The show stars Minnie Driver as Maya DiMeo, a mom who will do anything for her husband, Jimmy (John Ross Bowie) and three kids: Ray (Mason Cook), Dylan (Kyla Kenedy), and JJ (Micah Fowler), her eldest son with cerebral palsy. The show also stars Cedric Yarbrough, who plays Kenneth, JJ’s ever-present aid who ‘speaks’ for the nonverbal JJ. You can stream every episode of “Speechless”on Hulu.
Behind The Scenes
PHOTOS COURTESY OF ABC
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Behind The Scenes
What needs to be added to describe this show? An American television classic that dominated the ratings and captured the world’s attention and hearts for more than 10 years and 236 episodes. Kunerth began working on “Friends” during the show’s third season as a writers’ assistant. It was a job that was integral not only into nurturing his storytelling and comedy writing skills, but to launching his career as a TV comedy writer. After a little more than one season as a writers’ assistant, the show’s creators generously offered him his first staff writing job on a new show they were developing: “Veronica’s Closet,” where he worked for two seasons. Prior to the seventh season of “Friends,” Kunerth was asked by the show’s creators to return to the hit sitcom, where he finished out the run of the series.
The Big C
After spending his entire career to date working in the multi-camera comedy format, “The Big C” was Kunerth’s first experience on a single-camera show. The darkly funny, dramedy about a woman dying of cancer was intensely personal to him. Having watched his wife battle this insidious disease, it was a therapeutic yet emotional process. It also allowed him to ‘dig deeper’ into his writing, crafting dialogue and storylines that went far beneath the surface of traditional comedy writing. On top of that, adds Kunerth: “To work with such an immensely talented cast – Laura Linney, Oliver Platt, and John Benjamin Hickey, you had to bring your A-game. These actors demanded it and deserved it, all while generously showering praise on their scribe counterparts.”
The New Normal
After several years away from network television, Kunerth came back to work on the groundbreaking show, “The New Normal.” The series followed a single mother’s life when she becomes a surrogate for a gay couple. A funny, heartfelt show about love, marriage, and having a baby.
The Bill Engvall Show
Kunerth joined the writing staff of “The Bill Engvall Show” at the request of network executives who believed his rural upbringing and easy-going demeanor would mesh will with the show’s star, Blue Collar comedian, Bill Engvall.”. At the end of the first season, the show needed new leadership, and the studio reached out to Kunerth and asked him to be the Executive Producer going forward. This was to be Kunerth’s first tenure as a showrunner – responsible for all aspects of production: writing, producing casting, editing. He led the show for two seasons, working alongside Engvall, Nancy Travis and future Academy Award® winner Jennifer Lawrence, as well as Graham Patrick Martin, who Kunerth collaborated with on his short film, “The Girlfriend Experience.”