×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

LIVE: Variety Emmy Elite Showrunners Breakfast – Drama

I am coming to you live from the Variety Emmy Elite Showrunners Breakfast at the Four Seasons Beverly Hills. I’ll be posting the best quotes from the interviews with the Emmy-nominated drama and comedy executive producers, so enjoy!

First up will be the Emmy drama panel, featuring Julian Fellowes of “Downton Abbey,” Vince Gilligan of “Breaking Bad,” Matthew Weiner of “Mad Men” and Beau Willimon of “House of Cards.”

* * *

Fellowes: “I think people always obsessed (over TV). The different thing is they didn’t have an outlet for it. … They say, ‘He would never done that,’ and I’m, ‘I invented him – he does what I say.'”

Gilligan: “It is more emotionally wise for me to steer clear from the admittedly amazingly wonderful reactions (online) … because it seems to me to be human nature is that you can have a thousand good things said about you, but all you remember are the one or two or 10 bad things.”

Fellowes: “When you kill a character, blimey! Then you know what it’s like to be accused of being a serial killer. It’s unbelievable.”

Weiner: “You want them to be obsessed. I personally have sworn off it – I’m a former addict, but it was personally destructive for me. … If they see something they like, they will ask for (more) of it, but if you give them more, they’ll say it’s boring.”

Willimon: “It’s the old Woody Allen quote, though he probably stole it from someone. ‘When it’s bad, it hurts, and when it’s good, it’s never good enough.'”

Weiner: “I was talking about trying to watch all the ‘Mad Men’ (episodes) before going into the final season, but it’s 78 hours. I could take a vacation, or I could watch the show. … Something like ‘The Wire,’ just in hindsight – it didn’t have that individual episode thing. You didn’t really have chapters, you just had one long story.

“There was a time serialized drama was being phased out because the syndication model didn’t support it. … Anything that encourages people to get caught up or live in the world of the show is very good for the show.”

Willimon: “I’d like to dispense with the idea of episodes altogether. Just have 13 hours, and the audience chooses when it wants to stop and start again. … I think as the technology (changes) over the next five years, you’ll see (the definition of an episode change).”

Fellowes: “I think the problem of concentrating on the idea of someone watching six episodes at a time is that when you break it into six chunks, there’s always the danger that it won’t quite work.”

Weiner: “Beau may be right, and I’m all for anything that is interesting and new. But it’s all broken down into increments of what’s going to happen. What’s going to happen this year, and what’s going to happen in the next scene. … You look at ‘Breaking Bad,’ and one of the things that I talk to Vince about that always blows to me is that the premise would seem to be so incredibly limited. But the way that it is drawn out (tension, etc.) is so very different than what’s going to happen to Walter.

“We always have too much show, and I’m always cutting it down. But we never have enough for two. When we do two-parts on ‘Mad Men,’ it’s always three episodes cut down to two.”

 “One of the things about ‘The Sopranos’ is that it was so organic. David (Chase) had been working in television of 30 years, and he was always playing against what was expected.”

Fellowes: “That’s the way modern TV works. You come up with all this stuff, you jam it all together, and you end up with a bowl of electric cream.”

Gilligan: “No white boards. I hate white boards. I have a pet peeve about them. With a dry-erase white board, if you’re playing Nerf football and someone goes long and you mash your shoulder against one, you lose all that work you did that week. Cork boards are much more durable. … That’s literally all I have to say.”

Gilligan: “I’ve definitely had that experience: You talk about something for many many months on end, and you feel like you’ve done it already.”

Fellowes: “I don’t have as much ability to talk in our writers’ room because there’s only one person in our room: me.”

Weiner: “I didn’t say anyone else talks.”

Fellowes: “There are no boards. ‘In this episode, Mrs. Pattmore falls in love.’ That’s it.”

Gilligan: “A lot of people have found it very annoying that we broke them up eight and eight, and sort of put the blame on the network and the studio. The truth is, that was my fault, because it takes a long time to break these episodes. They take about three weeks, sometimes four weeks, just to break them. That’s not the writing – just to structure them. … That is the least fun part of the job and also the hardest part of the job, and also the most important part of the job. We knew mathematically we didn’t have time to have all 16 figured out.”

Gilligan: “I probably had ideas about where it was going to go, but I forget so much. I’m not joking. … It was replaced by better ideas (through the room).”

Fellowes: “The show changes you … the whole thing is very organic. I don’t think at the very beginning you should know where it’s going to go. Toward the end you sort of know who’s going to be happy and who’s going to get it in the neck, but that’s about it.”

More TV

  • Jim PackerPRESS PLAY: Variety Home Entertainment

    FilMart: Jim Packer Says Liongate Ready to Support Starz Global Rollout

    A keynote speaker at Hong Kong’s FilMart this week, Jim Packer, Lionsgate’s president of worldwide TV and digital distribution, shares plans to support Starz’ international expansion. And he recounts his experience of watching Netflix change up through the gears. Back in 2012, when Lionsgate was still casting “Orange is the New Black,” Jim Packer, Lionsgate’s [...]

  • Hong Kong's TVB Boosts OTT Plans,

    Hong Kong's TVB Boosts OTT Plans, Sets 'Court Lady'

    Hong Kong’s Television Broadcasts is set to boost its OTT platforms locally and abroad with new packages and initiatives targeting the Southeast Asian market. The city’s biggest broadcaster has also renewed its partnership with China’s Huanyu Entertainment following the wild success the two enjoyed last year with palace drama “Story of Yanxi Palace.” The new [...]

  • The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

    Stephen Colbert Cancels 'Late Show' New Zealand Trip After Mosque Shootings

    “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” had been scheduled to make a surprise trip to New Zealand this week — but those plans have been put on hold in light of last Friday’s terrorist attack that left 50 people dead. On Monday’s show, Colbert revealed the now-shelved trip, which had been kept under wraps but [...]

  • WGA Agents Contract Tug of War

    Hollywood Agents, Writers Guild Make Little Progress in Talks

    Leaders of Hollywood agencies and the Writers Guild of America made little progress in Tuesday meeting to negotiate proposed rule revisions to how agents represent writers. The WGA said after the meeting — the fifth since Feb. 5 — that talks would resume later this week but did not give a specific day. “The Agencies [...]

  • THE MASKED SINGER: L-R: Monster (T-Pain)

    New-Model Murdochs: Fox Corporation to Emerge Tuesday

    A new era for the Murdoch clan and the media business begins with the debut of Fox Corporation on Tuesday, a day before Disney completes its acquisition of 21st Century Fox. The new-model Fox will begin trading Tuesday on the NASDAQ under the FOXA symbol. On Tuesday, 21st Century Fox will initiate a complex transfer [...]

  • Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

    TV News Roundup: Netflix Drops 'The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: Part 2' Trailer (Watch)

    In today’s TV roundup, Netflix has dropped the first trailer for “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: Part 2” starring Kiernan Shipka, and former “O.C.” star Rachel Bilson has been cast in Fox’s drama pilot “Lovestruck.” CASTING Former “O.C.” star Rachel Bilson is set to play the female lead in Fox’s new drama pilot “Lovestruck.” The [...]

  • Ron Howard and Brian Grazer

    Imagine TV Sets 'Mindscaping' as First China Series (EXCLUSIVE)

    Imagine Television is developing “Mindscaping,” a 24-episode science fiction series written by Oscar Yang (“Medical Examiner Dr. Qin,” “The Ten Deadly Sins”). The series is the first Chinese-language series developed by Imagine Television, part of Brian Grazer and Ron Howard’s Imagine Entertainment group, for a Chinese audience. The show is pitched as an original sci-fi [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content