With 14 series across broadcast, cable and streaming networks, Greg Berlanti is the current record-holder for the busiest small-screen producer in the business. But he shows no signs of slowing down, having re-signed his overall deal with Warner Bros. to develop and produce additional projects.
“What allows me to go from thing to thing more than anything else is when I’m passionate about the stories and the people that I’m bouncing between,” says Berlanti, who is being honored with the Intl. Emmy Founders Award Nov. 19.
The majority of Berlanti’s current slate comes from dramatic adaptations of DC Comics properties, from the CW’s “The Flash” to DC Universe’s “Titans” and even some animated series for CW Seed. The comic world was an important part of his childhood, and he was thrilled to use that programming to fill a void on television. Now he is looking to be just as innovative in other genres, such as musicals, and storytelling structures including limited series.
The key to reaching audiences across demographics and datelines, he says, is “being as specific as possible” with characters and plotlines. “It’s about making it feel fresh,” he says.
Berlanti’s earliest job in the business was as a writer on “Dawson’s Creek,” where he started in 1998. He quickly rose up the ranks producing series from “Jack & Bobby” to “Brothers & Sisters” to “You” and “Riverdale.” Now, he knows he has experienced so much that he has even more to say.
“I think it’s important if you’re a writer — and that’s what I was first and will be last — to check in with your voice every three or four years and write something wholly original,” Berlanti says. “I’m excited to do that again.”
Despite his decades of experience, Berlanti notes that he is still learning — in part because television is “a different art form now,” with so many emerging platforms to which to sell, new technology of which to take advantage, longer work weeks per episode and constant stream of new artists with whom to potentially collaborate.
But with his Berlanti Prods. empire he has surrounded himself with those who will only elevate his success.
“I’ve learned so much from Greg, so much professionally, but also, I think most important, personally — just about integrity and kindness and patience,” says president of production Sarah Schechter. “I’ve worked with thousands of people, and he’s the best.”
Rachel Yang contributed to this story.