Arguably the WB’s most critically acclaimed hour, “Gilmore Girls” — which launched in 2000 — was hatched from Amy Sherman-Palladino’s last-ditch effort to work with the Frog’s then-programming chief Susanne Daniels. The sitcom writer, who had previously written for “Roseanne” and “Veronica’s Closet,” recalls the problem was that the WB wasn’t interested in traditional comedy formats.
The weblet had been on a hot streak with its hourlong teen dramas “Dawson’s Creek,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Charmed,” and Daniels asked the scribe if she could give the genre a try.
“I remember telling Susanne, ‘Are you on crack? I’m a half-hour woman,’ ” Sherman-Palladino says. “But then I thought that sitcoms were getting rough and exhausting. And, OK, let’s just say it, I was unemployed.”
After pitching several ideas she thought would be very “WB-ish,” Sherman-Palladino tossed off an idea she made up on the spot about a mother-daughter drama in which the two acted more like best friends than parent and child.
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The resulting hour revolved around the lives of playful single mom Lorelai and overachieving daughter Rory.
In October 2000, the series premiered to the WB’s best-ever ratings in the 8 p.m. Thursday hour. The show also broadened the Frog’s reach, featuring prominent story’s not just with Lorelai, but with Rory’s high society grandparents.
“We’re a multigenerational show. We do as much with the grandparents as with Rory,” she says. “Teens like ‘Gilmore,’ but so do their parents.”
Sherman Palladino says Frog execs have granted her the rare opportunity to write the show the way she wants. “They’ve never thrown out a story, a script. They’ve never had anyone say ‘You can’t do that.’
“As a writer, to be able to tell an executive, ‘Look, this isn’t going to suck,’ and for them to say, ‘Alright, she’s crazy but she knows what she’s talking about,’ that’s a dream come true.”