Straw, Tom 1953(?)-

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Straw, Tom 1953(?)-


Born c. 1953; son of Lawrence J. and Margaret W. Straw; married Jennifer Allen (an educational director), June 19, 2004 (third marriage).




Television writer, producer, and director. Worked variously as a radio programmer, disc jockey, and television weathercaster; Mary, Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS), Los Angeles, CA, story editor, 1985; Night Court, National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC), Los Angeles, CA, producer, 1986-88; Parker Lewis Can't Lose, Fox Television, Los Angeles, CA, coexecutive producer, 1990-91; Good and Evil, NBC, Los Angeles, CA, executive producer; Nurses, NBC, Los Angeles, CA, executive producer, director, 1992-94; The Home Court, NBC, Los Angeles, CA, director, 1995; Dave's World, CBS, Los Angeles, CA, executive producer, 1997; Grace under Fire, Los Angeles, CA, head writer, executive producer, 1997; Cosby, CBS, New York, NY, head writer, executive producer, 1999-2000; Whoopi, NBC, New York, NY, head writer, executive producer; The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, CBS, Los Angeles, CA, writer.


The Trigger Episode, Carroll & Graf Publishers (New York, NY), 2007.


"Little Joe," Mary, 1986.

Night Court (multiple episodes), National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC), 1986.

Parker Lewis Can't Lose (multiple episodes), Fox Television, 1990.

Nurses (multiple episodes), NBC, 1992.

The Home Court, NBC, 1995.

"Dave Barry, Call Your Agent," Dave's World, Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS), 1997.

"Smells Like Victory," Grace under Fire, 1997.

Cosby (multiple episodes), CBS, 1999.


Writer Tom Straw has had a varied career, but it was always based in media in some shape or form, following the instincts of his childhood. In an interview with Scott Butki for the Blog Critics Web site, Straw recalled: "I was an early reader, loved books as a kid, and felt a drive to write stories too. An early childhood memory is sitting at a toy typewriter at age ten in Weston, Massachusetts, tapping out my own neighborhood newspaper: pages, one; circulation, one; editions, one." He began working as a radio programmer, disc jockey, and weather-caster on television, but eventually moved over to writing for television. In 1985, he landed a job as the story editor for the television situation comedy Mary, which starred Mary Tyler Moore. From there he moved on to Night Court, where he advanced to writing scripts. Over the course of his tenure at Night Court, Straw received two nominations as "Best Comedy Writer" from the Writers Guild of America, and in his second year on the show, when he worked as both writer and producer, he earned an Emmy nomination as well, for "Best Comedy Series." Straw's credits continued to mount as he went on to work on such shows as Parker Lewis Can't Lose, Good and Evil, Nurses, The Home Court, and Dave's World. He eventually became head writer and executive producer for Grace under Fire, which starred Brett Butler. From there he moved to New York, where he became head writer and executive producer first on Cosby, starring Bill Cosby, and then on Whoopi, starring Whoopi Goldberg. In addition to working in New York, he continues to commute to Los Angeles in order to contribute to The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.

Beyond writing for television, Straw has broadened his career even further, releasing his first novel, The Trigger Episode, in 2007. Regarding the decision to try this longer form, Straw told Butki: "The drive to write a novel never left me and it was a constant nag. Maybe it was heightened because TV seems somehow disposable. Shot, aired, and then on to the next. Lather, rinse, and repeat. I like writing TV and have had some luck at it, but I craved that longer form, with opportunities to go deeper and paint more interiors with words." The book is a mystery set in the television world, combining elements of Raymond Chandler with Straw's own career experiences. TV star Bonnie Quinn has disappeared, which in and of itself is not all that unusual. Bonnie is notorious for going off on binges and wrecking havoc with the shooting schedule for her series. However, the show is primed to film the infamous trigger episode, number one hundred, which makes it eligible for syndication, and producer Elliot Pratt is anxious to find Bonnie and put her back to work. So he calls in Hardwick, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist now paparazzo, who has been successful in finding Bonnie two times before when no one else was having any luck, and puts him on the actress's trail. Hardwick, however, is difficult to deal with for someone like Pratt, who has no qualms about using any trick in the book in order to get Bonnie back on the job. Despite his fall from journalistic grace, Hardwick still has a strict moral sense, which proves to complicate the search more than he might have imagined when accepting the assignment. When a murder takes place, Hardwick gets even more involved with the case, forced to confront an old lover and finally take a hard look at what he's done with his life. A contributor for Kirkus Reviews dubbed Straw's debut novel as "a bit derivative but never dull." A reviewer for Publishers Weekly praised the book's premise, but concluded that ultimately it is "a routine thriller that reads more like a screenplay than a novel."



Book World, May 13, 2007, Kevin Allman, review of The Trigger Episode, p. 9.

Kirkus Reviews, March 15, 2007, review of The Trigger Episode.

Publishers Weekly, March 19, 2007, review of The Trigger Episode, p. 39.


Blog Critics, (September 3, 2007), Scott Butki, author interview.

Internet Movie Database, (December 5, 2007), author biography.

New York Times Online, (June 20, 2004), wedding announcement.

Tom Straw Home Page, (December 5, 2007).