“Cougar Town” is a fixture on ABC Television’s Tuesday night lineup. The comedy, which stars Courteney Cox as a 40-something single professional, has just started its third season. One of the driving forces behind the show is Indian American writer-producer-director Sanjay Shah, who wrote the Mar. 6 episode of “Cougar Town” titled “Full Moon Fever.”
Shah says that he and the show’s creative team are constantly battling the misconception that the show is just about “cougars,” or sexy older women on the prowl for younger men. In fact, the producers are shopping around for a new name for the show.
“The toughest job for us has been trying to attract new viewers who might be turned off by our misleading title,” he told India-West. “The show hasn’t been about ‘cougars’ since the fifth episode; it’s about adult friendships. All shows evolve, but ours completely changed. Simply changing our title is problematic for a variety of reasons, so it’s been an ongoing issue for us.”
Shah — whose TV credits include a stint on “King of the Hill,” “Asphalt Wars” and “South Park” — described a typical day at work on the show in a recent e-mail to India-West.
“[I] write or re-write episodes. Pitch story ideas and jokes. If my episode is shooting, I am usually on set to help solve problems that may arise. I sometimes assist the executive producers in other areas like editing and social media marketing,” he explained.
Shah joined “Cougar Town” as a writer when the show began in 2009, then moved on to producing the show and even directing several episodes.
Born in San Jose, Calif., he got his start doing standup comedy, which set him on the path to TV writing.
Asked who inspires his sense of humor, Shah lists Larry David, various standup comics, “and Sarah Palin.”