×

Marvel Television’s Jeph Loeb Talks Studio’s Rise, Importance of Netflix’s ‘Daredevil’

Marvel Television has 14 current drama series on TV or in pre-production. That puts it in the same league as Hollywood’s major studios, with the same number of scripted hour-long series than Sony Pictures Television has. Marvel serves as lead studio on all but two of its shows, “Legion” and “The Gifted.”

What makes Marvel a TV oddity is not its rapid growth from just two dramas three years ago but rather its polyamorous nature. At a time when vertical integration makes it difficult for a studio to sell to anyone other than its sibling network, Marvel has series at six platforms across broadcast, cable and streaming.

Variety spoke with Jeph Loeb, exec VP and head of television, about the studio’s rise.

How would you describe Marvel’s approach to TV?
While many people from the outside look at us in the studio, we see ourselves as producers who are working to support the vision of our showrunner. But we’re involved in every aspect of the production — whether it’s being in the writers’ room, editing on set, casting — every step of the production goes through the Marvel team to tell the best story that we can.

How have you been able to work with multiple networks outside Disney?
The first episode of “Daredevil” started shooting three years ago. At that time we had “Agents of SHIELD” and “Agent Carter” on ABC, and that was it. Now we’re in some element of pre-, post- or actual production on 14 series that I can talk about. And it just requires that we make sure that there’s always someone from Marvel there to help guide the process.

How important was “Daredevil” in proving you could sell a show on a platform that was not part of Disney-ABC?
It was a critical show for a lot of reasons — not just that we were on a different platform. Oddly enough, Netflix was a very young network at the time. It’s hard to imagine because their growth has been spectacularly high. I remember going in when we first talked to them, and they basically had “House of Cards,” “Orange Is the New Black” and “Lilyhammer.” And all we said was, “We think we can do better than ‘Lilyhammer.’” And by the way, big shout-out to all you “Lilyhammer” fans.

Do you think you cleared the “Lilyhammer” bar?
I hope so. We don’t tend to think in terms of how well we’re doing. We tend to think of how our audience is responding to the stories that we’re telling, and at least so far they seem to like what we’re doing.

Now you’re going to have “The Defenders” and “Inhumans” both at Comic-Con.
You never get to say, “We’re going to do something that’s never been done in the history of television” — and we get to do it twice in San Diego. Netflix believed in what we wanted to do, which was to do five series, four of which [“Daredevil,” “Jessica Jones,” “Luke Cage,” “Iron Fist”] would culminate in the fifth. And we’ve been fortunate enough to see other things happen, like “Daredevil,” season two, and “The Punisher,” which was not part of any plan. The other monumental task that we took on was to try to find a way to expand broadcast television into a world that hasn’t been done before. The first two episodes of “The Inhumans” will premiere on Imax screens throughout the world before they come to ABC. To be able to experience television in a brand-new way and hopefully drive people both to the theater and to the network — that speaks to the power of the Marvel brand and the uniqueness of what it is that we’re trying to do.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • TV News Roundup: Netflix Drops Trailer

    TV News Roundup: Netflix Drops Trailer for Ryan Murphy's 'The Politician' (Watch)

    In today’s TV news roundup, Netflix has drops the first trailer for “The Politician,” and “Killing Eve” adds two to its cast for season 3.  CASTING Harriet Walter and Danny Sapani, both alums of “The Crown,” are set to join the cast of “Killing Eve” for its third season. British writer Suzanne Heathcote, whose past credits include [...]

  • Lady Gaga

    Variety Earns 14 Folio: Eddie & Ozzie Award Nominations

    Variety has received 14 Folio: Eddie & Ozzie award nominations for its coverage of the entertainment industry over the past year. The awards gala, which will take place at The Hilton Midtown in New York City on Oct. 30, celebrates publications that have demonstrated impressive investigative journalism, in addition to thoughtful digital and print design. [...]

  • Disneyland

    Disney Shares Slip Amid Reported Whistleblower Allegations of Inflated Revenue

    Sandra Kuba, a former senior financial analyst for Disney’s revenue operations unit, says she has filed a series of whistleblower tips with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, alleging that the entertainment conglomerate repeatedly and systematically overstated its revenue for years, according to a MarketWatch report, by as much as $6 billion in a single [...]

  • Bob Bakish Joe Ianniello

    ViacomCBS Sets Board Members; Bob Bakish, Joe Ianniello New Deals Disclosed

    ViacomCBS has unveiled the 13 members of its board of directors and details of new employment contracts for president-CEO Bob Bakish and CBS chairman-CEO Joe Ianniello. The disclosure came Monday in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, six days after Viacom and CBS at long last set an all-stock merger agreement valued at [...]

  • Carrie Underwood, left, and Reba McEntire

    CMAs Make Hosting Change: Brad Paisley Exits, Dolly Parton and Reba McEntire Are In

    The CMA Awards have had the most consistent hosting situation of any music awards show in television, but 11 years after installing Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood as the reliable faces of the telecast, even ABC and the Country Music Association have decided it’s time for a switch. Come Nov. 13, Underwood will return for [...]

  • Ava Max iHeartRadio Wango Tango, Portraits,

    Megan Thee Stallion, CNCO, Ava Max to Perform at VMAs Pre-show

    CNCO, Megan Thee Stallion and “Sweet but Psycho” singer Ava Max (pictured) have been added to the performer lineup at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards. The three will take the stage during the VMAs’ red carpet pre-show, hosted by Terrence J and Nessa. Zara Larsson will join the two hosts as a special correspondent. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content