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Written by Cast Member

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"The brave and magnificent Ozan, who writes his own examine text."

Sometimes actors want to have a say in the words they're given; sometimes they want to stretch their artistic muscles; sometimes they look at the scripts they have to do and think, "I could do better than this!" When this happens, and the producers are on their side (or the network is), you have something written by a cast member.


Much less prevalent than Directed by Cast Member, particularly in these days of arc-driven television. Writing is less glamorous than directing, for one thing, and it's harder to develop a story from scratch than to bring someone else's to the screen.

Key to both of these tropes is that the actor gets into writing or directing through the show they're on, without having a previous background in it (let alone being the series creator). For the opposite direction of crossover, see Descended Creator and Creator Cameo. For shows where the cast and the writing staff heavily overlap, see Cast Full of Writers.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • Kaori Yamagata—under the pen name Sakurako Akino—voiced Queen Pumpkin in The Movie for Go! Princess Pretty Cure and was also the writer for one of the movie’s three acts. She later wrote the novel sequel to the movie under the same pseudonym.

    Comic Books 
  • For a Buffy the Vampire Slayer comic tie-in from Dark Horse Comics, Tales of the Slayers, Amber Benson, who played Tara in the series, wrote a a short comic story called "The Innocent", about a Slayer during the French Revolution.
  • John de Lancie wrote "The Gift," an annual of DC's Star Trek: The Next Generation comic, focusing (of course) on Picard and Q.
  • A number of Torchwood spin-off comics were written by John Barrowman, who played the series protagonist Captain Jack Harkness, in collaboration with his sister Carole Barrowman.
  • The Barrowman siblings also wrote Dark Archer, an Arrow spin-off comic starring Malcom Merlyn, the character John plays in the series.
  • Colin Baker wrote Doctor Who: The Age of Chaos, a graphic novella featuring his Sixth Doctor, which is also something of a Fix Fic for Peri's Esoteric Happy Ending.
  • The backmatter of the Stargirl Spring Break Special includes a series of excuses Courtney gave when skipping class to do superhero stuff, written by Brec Bassinger, who plays the title character in the Stargirl TV series.
  • Camrus Johnson, who plays Luke Fox in Batwoman, wrote a Batwing story for Batman: Urban Legends #4. The issue was released the same day that the Batwoman episode where he dons the Batwing suit was broadcast.
  • Helen Slater, who played the title character in the Supergirl movie, wrote a story in the Milestone Celebration Supergirl (2005) #50.
  • Several stories in the comic book tie-in to Batman: The Audio Adventures have been written by members of the cast.
  • Danny DeVito wrote a Penguin story for Gotham City Villains Anniversary Giant, having played Cobblepot back in Batman Returns.
  • Gilbert Gottfried, who played a villain named Nick Nack in the The Adventures of Superboy TV series, wrote an issue of the tie-in comic detailing the character's origin story.
  • Nicole Maines, who playes Dreamer in Supergirl, wrote a Dreamer story for the 2021 DC Pride special, the first appearance of Nia in comics.

  • Doctor Who:
    • Ian Marter, who played Dr. Harry Sullivan, subsequently wrote several of the Doctor Who Novelisations, as well as an entirely original novel featuring Harry as the protagonist, Harry Sullivan's War. Marter and Tom Baker co-wrote a speculative script for a Doctor Who movie during their time together on the show, called Doctor Who Meets Scratchman, which eventually ended up as a novel called simply Scratchman — as Marter had died in the meantime the novelisation was a collaboration between Baker and Whoniverse writer James Goss.
    • Sophie Aldred, who played Ace, wrote the New Series Adventures novel At Childhood's End, in which Ace is reunited with the Thirteenth Doctor.
  • Has happened a few times in the Star Trek franchise:
    • Andrew Robinson, who played Elim Garak in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, wrote a spin-off novel, A Stitch in Time, centering on the character.
    • J G Hertzler, who played several roles in the franchise, most notably the Klingon military officer and politician Martok and the outlaw Founder Laas in Deep Space 9, co-wrote two novels centering on Martok.
    • William Shatner, who played Captain Kirk, co-wrote a series of novels known as the "Shatnerverse", which take place in an Alternate Timeline in which Kirk is resurrected after his main-canon death in Star Trek: Generations.
    • Armin Shimmerman, who played Quark in Deep Space Nine, co-wrote The 34th Rule with David R. George III. In addition to starring Quark, it cameos a number of other Ferengi Shimmerman played over the course of TNG, with Quark insisting they only look alike to hew-mons.
    • John de Lancie, who played Q, co-wrote I, Q with Peter David.
  • Paul Darrow, who played Avon in Blake's 7, wrote an officially-licensed spin-off novel, Avon: A Terrible Aspect, which gives his own preferred version of his character's pre-show backstory.

    Films — Live-Action 

    Live-Action TV 
  • Small Wonder had a few episodes written, at least in part, by Dick Christie.
  • Sonia Manzano has played Maria on Sesame Street since 1971 and has written for the show since 1981.
    • While he was on the show, Joey Mazzarino (Murray Monster, the horns-down half of the Two-Headed Monster, and Stinky the Stinkweed, among others) wrote a number of episodes and skits. His first sketches were the Colambo sketches, in which he played the titular character, and the success of those bits allowed him to join the writing staff full-time in addition to puppeteering. By the end of his tenure, he was the show's head writer.
    • While not a specific sketch, Carroll Spinney (Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch) gave the idea to have real kids appear in unscripted bits with the Muppets. He also wrote the plot outline for the special Big Bird in China.
  • During their days on Head of the Class, Brian Robbins and Dan Schneider had their first writing credits on the "Will The Real Arvid Engen Please Stand Up?" episode. And the rest is history.
  • Brian Krause (Leo) is the only cast member of Charmed to co-write an episode: he has co-story credit on "Sense And Sense Ability." He's said the finished product was different from what he turned in.
  • Unlike Directed by Cast Member, very few episodes of the Star Trek franchise qualify - in fact, the only ones are DS9's "The Muse" (co-written by Majel Barrett-Roddenberry) and Voyager's "Life Line" (co-written by Robert Picardo). Both focused on those actors' characters. (Walter Koenig wrote "The Infinite Vulcan" for the animated series, but due to budget limitations, wasn't a cast member on that show.)
  • Barry Watson wrote an episode of 7th Heaven (not one of the two he directed).
  • Robert Culp loved doing this on his shows: Trackdown, I Spy, and The Greatest American Hero all had episodes he wrote (and directed). In addition, he wrote one of the two episodes of Cain's Hundred on which he guest-starred. Strangely averted with The Rifleman - he guest-starred on two episodes and also wrote a two-parter in which he does not appear!.
  • John Schneider co-wrote and directed "Opening Night At The Boar's Nest," the Series Finale of The Dukes of Hazzard.
  • In addition to being the only person to appear in every episode of M*A*S*H, Alan Alda also wrote numerous episodes (and was one of the writers of the Series Finale to boot).
  • Both Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher wrote episodes of Lois & Clark.
  • Jack Klugman, who made no secret of his views on the standard of writing in TV, wrote or co-wrote four episodes of Quincy, M.E. in addition to having showrunner Glen A. Larson thrown off the show and eventually getting writers more to his liking. Including his own brother and sister.
  • Don Adams co-wrote two episodes of Get Smart.
  • Peter Falk wrote one script for Columbo, in which the Lieutenant is romanced by a Femme Fatale. He held it back until finding the perfect co-star: Faye Dunaway, who turned the role into an Emmy.
  • Roger Smith wrote several episodes of 77 Sunset Strip.
  • Done quite a bit on The X-Files, especially in later seasons. David Duchovny wrote (and directed) two episodes: "The Unnatural" and "Hollywood AD" while co-developing storylines for seven others. Gillian Anderson wrote (and directed) season seven's "all things." William B Davis (who plays The Smoking Man) wrote "En Ami."
  • Two episodes of Wizards of Waverly Place were written by David Henrie.
  • Two episodes of Farscape (Season 3's "Green-Eyed Monster" and Season 4's "John Quixote") were written by Ben Browder.
  • Christopher Judge (Teal'c) and Michael Shanks (Daniel Jackson) wrote multiple episodes of Stargate SG-1.
  • Nick Offerman earned his first writing credit for a Parks and Recreation script.
  • Michael Imperioli wrote several episodes of The Sopranos. This is reflected in Christopher Moltisanti's interest in film and screenwriting.
  • Michael Landon got his start in writing with several scripts for his hit series Bonanza, including at least one episode where his character did not appear. He went on to write more episodes of Little House on the Prairie than anyone else, as well as create another successful vehicle for himself in Highway to Heaven.
  • Jason Smith wrote a few episodes of Power Rangers Super Megaforce, though oddly not the episode where he reprises his Jungle Fury role as Casey, that season's red ranger.
  • Patrick Labyorteaux (Bud) wrote the episode "JAG TV" on JAG.
  • Three of CSI: NY cast members tried their hands at writing episodes. Gary Sinise worked on the story line for "Live or Let Die" about a stolen donor liver, and wrote the screenplay for "Turbulence" in which a man posing as an Air Marshall is killed during a flight that Mac is on. Melina Kanakaredes wrote "Grounds for Deception" where Stella goes to Greece chasing a suspect - an ep which unfortunately drew mixed reviews from fans. Finally, Carmine Giavinazzo wrote "Sanguine Love," about the murder of a member of a vampire-like cult. This one was much better received by viewers.
  • David Faustino (Bud) co-wrote one episode of Married... with Children.
  • Diahann Carroll wrote an episode of her series Julia.
  • James Roday Rodriguez has written or co-written over a dozen episodes of Psych, one of which was an elaborate homage to Twin Peaks (his "favorite show of all time, hands down").
    • In one of the Hilarious Outtakes, when James messes up on his lines, his co-star jokes that he should remember the lines since he's the one who wrote them.
  • St. Elsewhere:
    • The story of "Hearing" was written by guest star Robert Daniels, who played Lee Tovan in that episode.
    • Sagan Lewis (Dr. Jackie Wade) is credited for the teleplay of Season 6's "Their Town" as S.J. Lewis. (Lewis' husband, Tom Fontana, was co-showrunner and one of the writers who got story credit.)
  • Chad Michael Murray wrote an episode of One Tree Hill in which Lucas falls asleep watching Casablanca and dreams the show's cast into a Forties Film Noir world.
  • Ellen DeGeneres is credited for the story of Ellen's coming out episode.
  • Jerry O'Connell and John Rhys-Davies each received a story credit on Sliders - O'Connell got a few such credits (such as on "Way Out West") while Rhys-Davies only got it for "The Exodus, Part 1." In the latter case, it was the culmination of his feud with the producers and network: they purchased an outline he pitched as an example of how the show could better use its potential, drastically rewrote it into the kind of embarrassing B-movie he'd been complaining about, and since he had just been fired for his outspokenness, reduced his character to a mumbling brain-damaged state, fatally shot him in the heart, and left his corpse behind on a radioactive planet... which immediately exploded.
  • Yaphet Kotto wrote three teleplays for Homicide: Life on the Street.
  • Paul Gross wrote or co-wrote some of the most memorable episodes of Due South, including the introduction of Kowalski and the two-part series finale.
  • Peter MacNicol co-wrote two episodes for NUMB3RS: the season two episode Mind Games and the season five episode Trouble in Chinatown.
  • Della Reese contributed a script to Touched by an Angel.
  • Ray Romano co-wrote several episodes of Everybody Loves Raymond, including some Whole Episode Flashbacks filling in Raymond's past.
  • Ted Raimi and Jonathan Brandis each wrote an episode of seaQuest DSV with the help of producer David J. Burke. Brandis was set to direct a second script he had written when the series was Cut Short.
  • Denise Nicholas wrote six episodes of In the Heat of the Night.
  • As well as directing the first season finale of The Client List, Jennifer Love Hewitt has co-story credit on that episode.
  • Stuart Hepburn played a recurrent character in early episodes of Taggart. The producer was so impressed by ideas he had for one scene he was in that he was later invited to come back and write whole episodes; he quickly became one of the most prolific writers after series creator Glenn Chandler.
  • Jim Rash wrote "Basic Human Anatomy" for the fourth season of Community.
  • Glee's Chris Colfer wrote season five's "Old Dog, New Tricks."
  • Outside of three cast members of The Office (US) being staff writers (B.J. Novak, Mindy Kaling, and Paul Lieberstein), Steve Carell also wrote the season 2 finale "Casino Night" as well as "Survivor Man".
  • Sara Gilbert received a story credit on Roseanne for the Season Episode "Don't Make Me Over."
  • Taken to the extreme on The Red Green Show, as Steve Smith (who played the title character) wrote all 300 episodes. Rick Green (Bill) also wrote for most of the first eight seasons, and other episodes included contributions from Peter Wildman (Buzz Sherwood), Bob Bainborough (Dalton Humphrey), Jeff Lumby (Winston Rothschild), and Patrick McKenna (Harold Green).
  • The Wiz had two of the leads of the 2015 NBC production, Elijah Kelley (the Scarecrow) and Ne-Yo (the Tin Man), help write a new song, "We Got It". In it, Dorothy and her friends proclaim that The Power of Friendship can help them defeat Evilene and get their desires granted.
  • Maid Marian and Her Merry Men was created and written by its star Tony Robinson, however, co-stars David Lloyd and Mark Billingham contributed a lot of ideas and ended up being co-credited for a couple of episodes.
  • Schitt's Creek was created by father and son duo Eugene Levy and Daniel Levy, who play father and son on the show. Daniel is also the Showrunner and writes most of the episodes.
  • Carroll O'Connor wrote for In the Heat of the Night, under the pseudonym of Matt Harris.
  • Don Galloway co-wrote the Ironside episode "Seeing Is Believing".
  • Paul Reiser already co-created Mad About You, and would write more than 15 episodes. Co-star Helen Hunt has story credits for both the finale and the first episode of the 2019 revival.
  • Robert Llewellyn wrote the Red Dwarf episode "Beyond a Joke". And then it was rewritten by Doug Naylor.
  • Rowan Atkinson co-wrote the first season of Blackadder with Richard Curtis.
  • A songwriting example: the LazyTown song "Techno Generation" was co-written by Jodi Eichelberger, Stingy's puppeteer.
  • Ellen Corby, who played Grandma Walton, wrote two episodes of The Waltons.
  • Cobra Kai: The showrunners allowed the actors a lot of input into how their characters had changed since the events of the original The Karate Kid movies, along with fleshing out their backstories.
    • Most of Johnny Lawrence's backstory (having an abusive home life and seeing Kreese as a father figure), was created by William Zabka during the first film as a way to get a better feel for the character.
    • Martin Kove, similarly, long ago had developed the idea that Kreese was a Shell-Shocked Veteran whose wartime experiences traumatized him into cruelty. This was adapted in the show's third season, which focuses heavily on Kreese's Start of Darkness.
    • In season 3, Tamlyn Tomita worked with the creators to offer a more accurate depiction of Okinawan culture than The Karate Kid Part II, helping to translate script passages into Okinawan dialect and choreographing Kumiko's dance scene.
    • Yuji Okomoto had a long phone conversation with Josh Heald soon after he was cast, where he offered suggestions about Chozen's growth since The Karate Kid Part II. He was surprised and flattered at how many of his ideas made it into the show.
  • Besides being credited as consultant producer in Season 2 of American Gods (2017), Orlando Jones reveals in several interviews that he ended up being roped into writing the character bibles and scripts for several characters, including Bilquis, Salim, the Jinn, Sam Black Crow, Mr. Ibis, main characters Shadow and Laura Moon, and his own character Mr. Nancy.
  • Patrick McGoohan wrote three episodes of The Prisoner (1967): "Free For All" (under the pseudonym "Paddy Fitz") and the two-part Grand Finale, "Once Upon a Time"/"Fall Out".

    Professional Wrestling 

  • In 1955, The Archers had an episode where Grace Archer, the wife of Phil, was killed off. (It may or may not have been a coincidence that the episode went out on BBC radio the very night commercial television began.) The script had Grace's fate be conveyed in the final line of dialogue thus: "She... she died in my arms... on the way to hospital," but Norman Painting, who played Phil, suggested the line go "In my arms... on the way to hospital... she's dead!" Suffice to say that not only was this one of the most talked-about episodes of the soap, but Painting went on to write many, many episodes (and the book Forever Ambridge � 25 Years of The Archers), as well as act in them.
  • Louise Jameson, who played Leela in Doctor Who, wrote a Fourth Doctor and Leela audio drama for Big Finish Doctor Who, "The Abandoned."
  • Most of the episodes of The Men from the Ministry were co-written by John Graham, who also played most of the side-characters such as Lord Stilton and Mr. Crawley.

  • In Godspell, "By My Side," the only song retained from the original Off-Off-Broadway production, was composed by its performers, Peggy Gordon and Gilmer McCormick (with lyrics by non-cast-member Jay Hamburger).
  • Both of the musicals written by Lin-Manuel Miranda (In the Heights and Hamilton) featured him performing in the lead role in both their original Off-Broadway runs and their original Broadway casts.

    Western Animation 
  • Dan Castellaneta has so far written eight episodes of The Simpsons with his wife Deb Lacusta ("Days Of Wine And D'oh'ses"note , "Gump Roast"note , "The Ziff Who Came To Dinner,"note  "Kiss Kiss Bang Bangalore,"note  "The Fight Before Christmas,"note  "A Midsummer's Nice Dream,"note , "The Ten-Per-Cent Solution"note , and most recently "Havana Wild Weekend"note ).
    • He also co-wrote at least one sketch of The Tracey Ullman Show.
    • Despite Guest Star Ricky Gervais getting credit for writing the season 17 episode, Homer Simpson, This Is Your Wife, he admits that he didn't really write much of it. He said that he only wrote the plot (which was his wife's idea), a couple of jokes and the song.
    • Guest star Seth Rogen co-wrote the episode "Homer The Whopper".
    • Harry Shearer, who voices Ned Flanders, Mr. Burns, Smithers, Principal Skinner, etc. wrote a season 28 episode "Trust but Clarify".
    • Nancy Cartwright, voice actress of Bart, Ralph, Nelson, etc. wrote the season 30 episode "Girl's in the Band".
  • Jack Mercer not only voiced Popeye but wrote several of his screen exploits.
  • Will Friedle has written two episodes of ThunderCats (2011): "The Trials of Lion-O - Part  and "Birth of the Blades". Both focus on his character, Lion-O.
  • Voice actor Billy West received co-author credit on the The Ren & Stimpy Show episode "Ol' Blue Nose".
    • Likewise, Eric Bauza, who voiced Stimpy on Adult Party Cartoon, co-wrote the episode "Altruists".
  • April Winchell, the voice of Miss Finster, also did some punch-up writing for Recess: School's Out
  • On Mickey's Christmas Carol, Alan Young, the voice of Scrooge, receives a story credit.
  • Some episodes of Spliced were written by Mike Kiss, who also voices Mister Smarty Smarts.
    • Mike Kiss also appears in Fangbone! as the voice of Twinkle-stick and wrote the episode "The Ball of Clobbering".
  • The Tiny Toon Adventures episode "Best of Buster Day"note  was co-written by Charlie Adler, who voices Buster.
  • Rocko's Modern Life episodes ""Gutter Balls" and "Rocko's Happy Vermin" were co-written by Carlos Alazraqui, who voices Rocko.
    • Mr. Lawrence was a writer for the show on the first three seasons.
  • The TV special Garfield on the Town was co-written by Lorenzo Music, who voiced Garfield.
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy episodes "The Bad News Ghouls" and "Keeper of the Reaper" were co-written by Richard Steven Horvitz, who voices Billy.
  • Like Rocko's Modern Life, Mr. Lawrence (who voices Plankton, Larry and various characters) wrote for SpongeBob SquarePants during the first two seasons. He returned to the show in Season 7. As of season 10, he's now the story editor.
  • Katie Crown (who voices Mary and Ms. Baker) wrote a handful of episodes in the second half of Clarence's first season.
  • Charlyne Yi, Chloe's VA, was credited for the story of the We Bare Bears episode "Chloe and Ice Bear".
  • Wander over Yonder: Sam Riegel, who voiced Emperor Awesome and voice directed the show, wrote 3 episodes ("The Bad Hatter", "The Bad Neighbors", and "The Robomechabotatron").
    • He also wrote an episode of another show he voiced directed, Pickle and Peanut, where he voiced a one-shot character.
  • The Bobby's World episode "Bobby Phone Home" was written by Tino Insana, the voice of Uncle Ted.
  • One episode of Ben 10: Omniverse was written by Ben's voice actor, Yuri Lowenthal.
  • Back at the Barnyard: The episode "Little Otis" was written by Chris Hardwick, who voices Otis.
  • One episode of Sonic Boom, titled Give Bees A Chance, was written by Cindy Robinson (Amy's voice actress).
  • The pilot episode to Puppy Dog Pals, "Hawaii Pug-Oh", was written by Harland Williams, the creator of the show and the voice of Bob.
  • Some episodes of Avenger Penguins were co-written by Jimmy Hibbert (the voice of the Avenger Penguin Bluey, Bella, the brown Badly Drawn Brother, Poodle Stink, and Caractacus P. Doom's lackey Harry Slime) and Rob Rackstraw (the voice of the Avenger Penguin Rocky, the Doc from Saskatoon, Cecil Stink, and the Avenger Penguins' mechanic Irv).
    • Fantomcat had one episode written by Lorelei King, as well as other episodes written by Jimmy Hibbert and Rob Rackstraw.
  • On Looney Tunes: Rabbits Run, Rachel Ramras (the voice of Lola Bunny) co-wrote the script and one of the songs, as well as serving as one of the voice directors.
  • A few episodes of Avengers Assemble were written by Trevor Devall, who voices Ares, Klaue, and Rocket Raccoon.
  • The The Super Hero Squad Show episode "Missing Impossible" was co-written by Iron Man's voice actor, Tom Kenny.
  • The Muppet Babies episode "Grandpa Camp" was co-written by Matt Danner, the voices of Kermit, Waldorf, and Beaker.
  • Iris Rainer wrote several episodes of Rankin-Bass' The Osmonds, in additional to voicing female characters.
  • Though the 200th episode of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, "Sparkle's Seven", is written by Nicole Dubuc and Josh Haber, the story itself was conceived by Tara Strong (Twilight Sparkle), Ashleigh Ball (Applejack and Rainbow Dash), Andrea Libman (Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie), Tabitha St. Germain (Rarity and Princess Luna), and Cathy Weseluck (Spike), combining story ideas they've wanted to do with their respective characters for years.
  • Hilda has a song that is heard as a hidden track in "The Beast of Cauldron Island" that is written and sung by Bella Ramsey, the voice of Hilda. Heck the song was even credited before it was heard as seen here.
  • Toad Patrol:
    • "Trapped" was co-written by Rick Jones, who voiced Puffball. Slightly inverted in that Rick also has writing credits for several other Canadian shows.
    • "Castaway" was written by Nancy Neilson, the second voice actress for Elf Cup.
  • One episode of Bob the Builder was written by Lorelei King, the U.S. dub actor for Wendy.
  • A few episodes of Glitch Techs were written by Ashly Burch , who voices K. Moon.
  • A 1954 Mr. Magoo cartoon "Destination Magoo" was written by Jim Backus and Jerry Hausner, voice actors for Magoo and Waldo respectively.
  • Several episodes of the Beetle Bailey cartoon from the 1960s were written by Allan Melvin and Howie Morris, who voiced several characters in the show (Morris voiced Beetle, among others).
  • Big City Greens has two examples:
  • Legend of the Three Caballeros: Tony Anselmo has voiced Donald for so long, Matt Danner had him work as a consultant in each episode in order to make sure he was portrayed as accurately as possible.
  • The Teen Titans Go! episode "Stockton CA!" was written by Starfire's voice actress, Hynden Walch.
  • Craig of the Creek has a few episodes co-written by H. Michael Croner, who voices JP.
  • A few of the Short Cuts shorts for Tangled: The Series were written by Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi, the voices behind Rapunzel and Eugene.