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WATCH MY SHOW: ‘Ghosts’ Co-Showrunners and Executive Producers Joe Port and Joe Wiseman Fill Out Our Showrunner Seven
“Ghosts” may be the unlikeliest comedy hit in recent CBS history. It’s a single-camera half-hour, adapted from a cult U.K. series, and it’s not from Chuck Lorre. Yet the show, which has already been renewed for a second season, is a breakout for the Eye network.The series stars Rose McIver and Utkarsh Ambudkar as Sam and Jay, who inherit a mansion in the countryside that they plan to turn into a B&B. But when Sam hits her head in an accident, she starts to see the ghosts who inhabit the manor from different eras, including a 1700s American Revolutionary War officer (Brandon Scott Jones), a 1920s jazz singer (Danielle Pinnock), a Viking (Devan Chandler Long), a Lenape Native American (Román Zaragoza), a hippie (Sheila Carrasco), a 1980s Boy Scout leader (Richie Moriarty) and a late-’90s wolf of Wall Street (Asher Grodman). Just like the original 2019 BBC series, “Ghosts” takes full advantage of that large ensemble, diving into each character’s backstory and the comedic give-and-take among the spooks, the “living” who can see them and Sam’s husband, who cannot. We asked co-showrunner/executive producers Joe Port and Joe Wiseman to fill out our Showrunner Seven.
Sum up your show’s pitch in one sentence.A young couple inherits an old mansion and the wife has a near death experience which allows her to see and communicate with the property’s deceased former residents. What’s an alternate title for your show? “Our Livings.” Or “The Alberta Show” (if the Alberta character were naming it). What do we need to know before tuning in? Nothing! But a little knowledge about American history and HGTV will help you get some references. Also, full disclosure: we don’t know why ghosts go through walls but don’t fall through floors – just go with it. Give us an equation for your show. (Blank plus blank minus blank times blank, etc.) “Ted Lasso” + “What We Do In The Shadows” x the British “Ghosts” – cool accents. What’s the best thing someone said about your show? That it’s appointment viewing for their entire family. And that it’s wholesome (even though it’s a lot of cocaine and orgy jokes and ghosts talking about their hope of being “sucked off”). If you could work on any other series on TV, what would it be? “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” so we could hang out with Larry David. We worked in a room with him for one afternoon, 17 years ago, and we still talk about it a lot. He liked a joke that Wiseman pitched and then Wiseman called his mom. Finish this sentence: “If you like _______, you’ll love our show.” If you like something that will make you laugh and make you think a little, and give you some feels by the end of half an hour, you’ll love our show.
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VARIETY COVER: Disney TV’s Bold New Era: How Dana Walden Championed Shows Like ‘Only Murders’ and ‘The Dropout’
Variety co-editor-in-chief Cynthia Littleton recently caught up with Walt Disney Television entertainment chairman Dana Walden, in her first major interview since the Disney acquisition of 21st Century Fox assets, to get an update on the state of the division. “The executive knew she had an enormous job to integrate two studios — 20th Television and what was then ABC Studios — in addition to steering ABC Entertainment and adding Hulu Originals soon after she started. And she knew she had to breathe new life into the young-adult-targeted Freeform at a time when linear basic cable channels face extinction,” she writes. An excerpt from Cynthia:
Walden and her boss, Disney General Entertainment Content chairman Peter Rice, have mostly stayed out of the spotlight for the past three years. Both quickly realized their work at Disney would be challenging in part because they were the only 21st Century Fox executives to move over as division heads.But last month, Walden sat down with Variety for her first extensive interview about the inner workings of the studios and platforms she leads. The executive, who spent 26 years at Fox, climbing the ladder on the creative side from public relations executive to the C-suite, is clearly energized by the high-stakes game of playing for Team Disney in the streaming wars. At present she oversees the production of nearly 200 titles across Hulu, ABC, Disney+, Freeform and external platforms. “It’s the most competitive time in the history of our business — it’s ridiculously competitive,” Walden observes. “It’s just a phenomenal time to be in the content business.” The timing of Walden’s opening of the gates is no accident. Her units have been a hot streak. Hulu has enjoyed a string of buzzy originals, including “Only Murders in the Building,” “Dopesick,” “The Dropout,” “Pam & Tommy,” “The Great,” “Nine Perfect Strangers” and most recently, “The Girl From Plainville.” ABC has found the rarest of TV commodities — a breakout hit comedy — in the critical-darling school comedy “Abbott Elementary.” Onyx Collective, a new content banner designed to put Disney muscle behind projects produced by creators of color, won the feature documentary Oscar last month for its first-ever release, the Questlove-directed “Summer of Soul (… Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)” from Searchlight Pictures.
Read the full story here.
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