You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Ian Somerhalder on His Producing Plans, Advocating for Climate Causes and ‘The Vampire Diaries’ Finale

“I’ve never been busier in my life,” says Ian Somerhalder. Even though his hit series “The Vampire Diaries” is wrapping its run after eight seasons, he’s making a plan for his future as a producer, with a new deal with Warner Bros TV with his wife, Nikki Reed. And then there’s his passion project: his commitment to environmental causes, through his eponymous foundation.

You just announced a pod deal with Warner Bros. TV. What kind of shows do you want to make?

All kinds of shows — scripted, unscripted, drama, comedy, docuseries, digital, all of it. The reality of it is telling good stories. Really good stories. That’s really all we want to do. Fortunately I’ve been able to work with some of the most incredible talent in this business. It’s unbelievable what I’ve learned. I understand how to make things from the ground up. I’ve come out of this not only with a new wife and this life and this family and eight years under my belt, but I also have lifelong friendships and a vast amount of knowledge that I can now take into my life and my career. And that is invaluable. That changes your whole world. I’m excited to take the stuff that I’ve learned and use it as applied science. It’s exciting when you walk into a room or walk on a set and experience a problem that you possess the tools to find solutions effectively and economically.

You’re incredibly active on social media. What advantages do you see to it?

I have a very profound and distinct appreciation for social media. I also have a very profound and deep concern for social media. It is an amazing way to transfer information, to create engagement and social change. It has the ability to change the world, and it has. Look at Egypt and the Middle East. But then there’s the flip side of it. I think social media keeps us in a constant state of want, which I think is very, very dangerous. Because that yields unhappiness. It’s about time to harness social media and teach our young people that it doesn’t hold as much weight as we think it does. What Nikki and I are hoping to do with the studio is to really build great storytelling, great content but without bludgeoning people over the head. Find really great ways of displaying socially relevant, impactful messaging within that type of storytelling. It’s time for us to start counteracting what’s happening with mass media. And start allowing people to feel a little bit better about themselves. I’m really focused on creating this next generation to be the most innovative, compassionate and grateful group of people the world has ever seen.

You’re also a correspondent for the docuseries “Years of Living Dangerously.” Why is that so important to you?

Our greatest challenge of humanity is climate disruption. Whether you want to believe it or not, it’s happening. You’re going to feel it. I personally feel that being involved with “Years” has been the single most important part of my professional life at this point. One of the amazing reasons that the first season has been so successful and that I’m really grateful to David Nevins and Showtime is that they took a big risk. Social media was a gigantic component of that success. The people who follow me rallied and really got behind the show.

Will you be making series that address the climate issue?

Absolutely. That’s something that we have in the works right now. I’m ecstatic to explore it. My dream as a kid was to be working as a scientist or on a Nat Geo expedition. I got to do that. And I’ve never been the same as a result. I’m so thankful that Nat Geo has us now. This is very much where I want to put a ton of our focus. This is very much on the top of our slate list. There’s more to come.

The Vampire Diaries” is ending after eight seasons. How hard will it be to say goodbye?

You want things to end on a good note. We really had an amazing run. It’s just time. All good things must come to an end. The real beauty of it is that it doesn’t actually come to an end. There’s iTunes and Google play and Amazon and Netflix and Hulu. We have these incredible outlets where media just lives on. New viewership comes into the fold. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

What can you reveal about the “Vampire Diaries” finale?

Three-part answer: No f–king clue. I have no clue. I’ve called Kevin [Williamson] and Julie [Plec, co-creators] five times last week to find out and understand what’s going on. They’re very tight-lipped about it. I don’t blame them.

What would you like to see in the finale?

Paul [Wesley] and I talk about this all the time. Damon’s 174 years old and in love with an 18-year-old. It’s the most unbelievable example of robbing the cradle, first of all. Secondly, these boys, they came into this town, they wreaked havoc, they ruined lives. Honestly, I think the best thing for Mystic Falls would be for these guys and all of these vampires and witches to just go away. Let Elena wake up and have these boys gone and never know any of this happened. A phenomenal, go humanity thing would be where these creatures don’t win. We would love to see the two boys go down to the Caribbean somewhere and sit on a beach drinking some 60-year-old Caribbean rum, and as the sun comes up, just toast each other, give each other a hug, and take off their rings and throw them into the sea and let them just poof — turn into ash. I’ve created so much death and so much violence on this show that I think it would be such an amazing win for humanity if Damon and Stefan just went bye-bye. Let’s hope it happens.

Will Nina Dobrev be back?

I don’t know. I have zero idea. As a producer, I do have a lot of information and then there’s a lot of information I don’t have. I want the audience to be happy, but I also am very pro human. I don’t think these guys should have the ability to wreak havoc, kill everybody, ruin the lives of so many and then get out with a happy ending. I think the happy ending is that we got to go on this amazing ride with these two guys. They’ve lived long enough.

More TV

  • Adam Lambert, of Queen, performs at

    Adam Lambert Back to 'Idol' to Mentor Finalists Through Queen's Catalog

    Adam Lambert famously launched his career on “American Idol” a decade ago performing a brilliant audition of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” He wrapped that amazing eighth season performing with the band on the season finale, and years later earned his current spot as the front man touring as Queen + Adam Lambert. On April 28, Lambert comes full circle as he steps [...]

  • Lily Tomlin SAG Lifetime Acheivement Award

    TV News Roundup: Netflix's 'Laugh-In' 50th Anniversary Tribute Sets Premiere Date

    In today’s TV News roundup, Netflix sets the premiere date for its 50th anniversary special of “Laugh-In.” DATES “Laugh-In: The Stars Celebrate,” the 50th anniversary tribute to the original series by Dan Rowan and Dick Martin, will premiere on Netflix on May 14. The special, which was taped at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, pays [...]

  • Texas Tech's Norense Odiase (32) shoots

    Live+3 Ratings for Week of April 8: NCAA Championship Game Dunks on Competition

    The final of the 2019 NCAA basketball tournament, in which Virginia triumphed over a spirited Texas Tech team, unsurprisingly finished way out in front in the Live+3 ratings for the week of April 8. Although the sports broadcast’s scripted competition made some gains, its 5.4 ratings still more than doubled that of “Grey’s Anatomy” in [...]

  • Mueller Report Release Draws 11 Million

    Mueller Report Release Draws 11 Million Total Viewers Across TV News

    Coverage of the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report into whether President Donald Trump committed obstruction of justice unsurprisingly caused a ratings bump across TV news yesterday. In terms of overall viewership, around 11 million people tuned in to see Attorney General William Barr’s news conference regarding the report’s release, and the news coverage surrounding it. According [...]

  • Neilsons Measurment Problems TV Digital

    WarnerMedia Pulls Out of Audience-Targeting Alliance Open A.P.

    WarnerMedia is going its own way when it comes to helping advertisers find specific groups of TV-watchers. The company, a founding member of the audience-targeting media alliance known as Open A.P., said Friday it would withdraw from the group, citing its desire to pursue its own strategy under owner AT&T. AT&T purchased Time Warner in [...]

  • BLESS THIS MESS - "The Chicken

    Listen: Lake Bell, Dax Shepard on Returning to Broadcast TV With 'Bless This Mess'

    Welcome to “TV Take,” Variety’s television podcast. In this week’s installment, Variety’s executive editor of TV, Daniel Holloway, chats with Lake Bell and Dax Shepard, stars of ABC’s “Bless This Mess,” which debuted on Monday. The show centers around a newly married couple, played by Bell and Shepard, who decide to ditch their shoebox New York City [...]

  • superstore renewed season 3

    'Superstore' Showrunner Justin Spitzer Steps Down as He, Gabe Miller, Jonathan Green Renew Overall Deals at UTV

    “Superstore” executive producers Justin Spitzer, Gabe Miller and Jonathan Green have all renewed their overall deals with Universal Television. In addition, Miller and Green will take over showrunner duties on “Superstore” while Spitzer — who also created the series — will shift to develop new projects for the studio beginning with the 2019-2020 season. “I [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content