10 TV Scribes to Watch 2012: Joseph Weisberg
Not many writing careers begin in a bathroom. Of course, Joseph Weisberg isn’t like most writers.
In the interest of accuracy, it was a converted bathroom.
“We had this crazy little apartment in Brooklyn that, for some reason, had three bathrooms,” recalls the former CIA officer, novelist and now TV scribe. “We ripped out the toilet and sink in one of them. It was literally a three-foot-by-three-foot space. That’s where I started writing novels. We turned that into my office. Of course, it was more like a closet, so I called it a cloffice.”
Weisberg and his family still live in Brooklyn, but he’s in regular commuter mode to L.A. He’s on the fast track these days with a pilot for FX, “The Americans,” and another pilot entitled “Central,” a CIA-themed drama with A-list helmer Paul Greengrass attached. Weisberg was also a staff writer on the TNT series “Falling Skies.”
After he got his novel “An Ordinary Spy” published, he got a call from Joe Cohen at CAA — who was handling the movie rights — asking whether he’d be interested in writing for television.
“I thought about it for about 100th of a second,” he says. “At the time I was working what felt like the equivalent of three jobs and not sleeping much. I was looking for a new plan.” That eventually led to a gig on “Falling Skies,” and beyond.
“The Americans” — exec produced by Weisberg along with “Justified” showrunner Graham Yost — is about two KGB spies in the 1980s who come to the U.S. posing as an American family. Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys star.
Weisberg said he doesn’t miss the clandestine life at all.
“I’m infinitely happier in a room throwing ideas around with other people,” he explains.
Needless to say, he’s working in much larger rooms now.