'Heroes,' 'Crossing Jordan'

Current shows: “Heroes” (creator, executive producer); “Crossing Jordan” (creator, executive producer)

Resume: “Providence,” co-executive producer; “L.A. Doctors,” co-executive producer; “Strange World,” co-creator; “Chicago Hope,” supervising producer

What shows have influenced your career? “The idea of these big twists and turns that ‘Heroes’ has very much came from wanting to duplicate the experience that I had watching the Rod Serling shows ‘Twilight Zone’ and ‘Night Gallery’ — those kinds of shows where there was always some very big twist at the end that made you rethink everything that you had just seen.”

Most difficult aspect of being a producer: “Taking what, by all accounts, is a much more expensive hour of television and trying to figure out how to do it on both a TV schedule and a TV budget has been very, very challenging. It forced us to make incredibly creative decisions that ultimately have been very useful. Oftentimes, the limited resources really forces you into a very interesting creative decision that you would have never gotten had you had a blank check.”

When do you find the time to write? “Before people show up to work or after people have left work is the only time that I really have quiet time to write.”

Is staying under budget a weekly struggle? “On a day-to-day basis, fighting the budget problems has been a very big part of our job. There is a bucket of money, and if you run out of money you’ve got to figure out how to put more money in the bucket. The problem is, there’s never more money to put in the bucket. You just have to figure out how to make a show that is by all accounts unmakable somehow work every week.”

Favorite shows besides your own: “It’s funny, when I started working in television was when I stopped watching TV. By the time you get home and spend any kind of time with your kids, TV is not really an option. (But) the one real addiction for my family is ‘Project Runway,’ which is, I would say, also the biggest and most popular show in the writers’ room at ‘Heroes.’ “

Personal gratification: An acoustic guitar collection. “Over the years as a showrunner, it has probably saved my life. I had just enough of an interest outside of work … that I could turn my focus to. I always have about 10. I rotate them, I trade (them), I trade two for one or one for two. I collect very high end, boutiquey, one-of-a-kind guitars.”

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