After more than 50 years in the biz, nobody is more surprised than Leonard Goldberg that he’ll be exec producing two network primetime series next season.
“If anyone had told me three years ago that I’d be back in series television with two shows, I would have said, ‘I’d like you to pass me whatever it is that you’re smoking,’?” he jokes.
Goldberg, whose varied career has included turns as a producer and an exec at ABC, Screen Gems and 20th Century Fox, was pressed into series duty two years ago by CBS Corp. topper Leslie Moonves, who asked him to come up with an idea for a drama series for the Eye. (Goldberg is a board member at CBS Corp.)
Goldberg’s idea became “Blue Bloods,” the police family ensemble led by Tom Selleck that was a strong performer in its frosh season. Then last year ABC got serious about developing a new spin on “Charlie’s Angels,” and who better to help steer it than the man who launched the original series with partner Aaron Spelling back in 1976.
“I asked for my old Wednesday 10 o’clock time period back,” he jokes, “But they wouldn’t give it to me.”
ABC is so high on the “Angels” redo that Goldberg shepherded with writers-showrunners Miles Millar and Al Gough (he’s known the duo since their film school days) that the show has been placed in one of primetime’s toughest slots: Thursdays at 8 p.m.
Goldberg is jazzed to be back in the swirl of TV production with two very different shows. The new-model “Angels” is rooted in the same notion that inspired the original series, which came about just as Goldberg and Spelling became fathers of daughters.
“1976, if you remember, was a moment for female empowerment,” he says. “This was a way of saying that woman can be strong and smart and can kick ass and still be beautiful.”
When the new-model “Angels” got the official nod from ABC earlier this month, Goldberg could hear the voice of his late partner in his head, celebrating and giving him some sage advice: “Buddy, don’t make it too hifalutin.’ Give the people what they want.”