I forgot! I did have a 504 story for you guys!
Okay, so we’re just about to start shooting 504. We shoot in New York, but I, the writers, and the Network are in Los Angeles. I get a call from a pretty high-ranking crew member in New York. He says “Hey, so in scene 9 of 504, we heard that the writers are changing the Princess of Montenegro to the Princess of the Riviera, but in the script you just sent us, that change wasn’t made. What’s up?”
I’m like UHHHHHHHHHHH. THIS IS THE FIRST I AM HEARING ABOUT THIS.
Like we are JUST ABOUT to shoot 504. And our legal department had to check with the State Department to make sure we could fictionalize the royal family of Montenegro–this is going to take time! Also………………………………….. “Princess of the Riviera” isn’t a thing. But okay.
So I e-mail the Johns and very diplomatically ask for confirmation that they want to do this RIDICULOUS thing.
BUT THERE’S A PLOT TWIST: They know nothing about this.
So the crew member in New York and I start calling up and down the chain on both sides of the country, trying to figure out WHO requested this change. Asking all sorts of people! Nobody in New York owns up to being the one who first heard about this, no one in LA has any idea what I’m talking about.
Well, FINALLY, we figured it out. Turns out, someone had a copy of 503. An old copy. You see, at one point, for legal reasons because I guess maybe it’s the name of a real gangster or something, we changed the name of the gangster after Red in 503 from Montego* to Rivera. And the first place we mention him WAS IN SCENE NINE, the very same scene in 504 when we first mentioned the Princess of Montenegro. This person looked down at their old copy of the 503 script, and said “hey, I’m like 99% sure we changed Montego in scene 9 to Rivera.” However, the person they were talking to was holding a copy of 504, and, not realizing that they were talking about different scripts, turned to scene 9, saw “Montenegro,” heard “Riviera,” was like “Huh, weird, I didn’t know we changed that” and THUS A RUMOR WAS BORN.
WE PLAYED A LITERAL GAME OF TELEPHONE, YOU GUYS. So many coincidences had to fall into place for the mistake to have been made! They both were introduced in the same scene number! The two original names sounded very similar! “Rivera” sounds similar to a place where like maaaaybe you might have a royal family!
At the end of the day I didn’t mind too much: it was pretty funny and I did not have to call our legal team and ask if they could put a rush job on getting permission from the State Department to fictionalize a Princess of the southeast coast of France. So, a good day!
*Not exactly the name we originally used (please don’t come after me, real gangsters!) but close enough for you to get the idea why the two words were confused.