THE MOB DOCTOR: Josh Berman Previews His New Fox Series
September 3, 2012 by Marisa Roffman
We’re just a few weeks away from the official start of the television season, and in exactly two weeks from today, THE MOB DOCTOR, Fox’s lone new drama series of the fall, will debut.
To get a little bit more dish on the new show — which follows Jordana Spiro’s Grace, a doctor torn between her job and her debt to the mob — I talked with THE MOB DOCTOR creator Josh Berman about the excitement the network is feeling, the message he had for his writers, and more…
I have to say, I feel like the promotional materials for the show have been incredible.
Josh Berman: I’ve never been a part of any show that has had so much support from the network and studio. It’s bizarre. The network is actually excited for notes calls because they want to see what’s coming next. And I love that. I think the promotional campaign is fantastic. [Fox promo guru and new chief operating officer] Joe Earley and the team have done an amazing job. I love that the network believes so much in the show.
For me, it’s also like a homecoming because I worked on BONES for four years and so did [THE MOB DOCTOR executive producer] Carla Kettner…We worked together on VANISHED, DROP DEAD DIVA. I love Carla, she’s one of the best writers in Hollywood…And now BONES is our lead-in on Monday night, so it just feels like I’m home again.
And given your time on BONES, what lessons did you learn about working on a network procedural show that you can bring to THE MOB DOCTOR? I’d imagine this is a different kind of experience than your other series, DROP DEAD DIVA…
JB: What I learned on BONES was to write what I want to watch. [BONES creator] Hart Hanson gave us such flexibility to come up with stories that we found compelling, and my message to the writers on THE MOB DOCTOR is there are no rules, write what you want to go home at the end of the day and watch on TV.
And it’s been very freeing for my writers. They can write what they’re passionate about and the characters are such passionate characters that I think it’s going to feel refreshing for viewers, because there isn’t a specific beginning, middle and end to every episode. Yes, you could watch each an episode, there is a great story, and while there are some ongoing storylines, you can get a great story of television with only one hour of viewing.
There was a joke during your TCA panel about the safety of characters, but is this going to be a show where we might see a high character turn-over?
JB: There’s nobody that’s safe on THE MOB DOCTOR. Everything is up for grabs.
I fear what would happen if you ever kill of Zach Gilford (Dr. Robinson)…you may get a million tweets from FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS fans asking how you could kill off Matt Saracen.
JB: At this time, we have no plans to kill off [Gilford's] character. We love Zach. He’s so great. He’s a huge addition to the show.
Speaking of the TCA panel, I have to ask…horse erections?
JB: Horse erections. We heard a story about mobsters that tried to steal the semen of a thoroughbred horse and we thought, well, we’re not going to go crazy on this show, it’s all grounded in reality, but since that was a real story, we thought, well, that’s fair game if we can do it right. And I think we nailed it.
Fair enough. Are you going to be running both this show and DROP DEAD DIVA?
JB: Fortunately, they don’t overlap. I just finished DIVA, so now I can be fully focused on MOB DOCTOR.
I have to say, I love that you guys are actually filming the show in Chicago versus trying to use another city to fake it. Are you going to be taking advantage of certain locations since you have it at your disposal?
JB: We have a lot of exteriors. We’re only two days an episode on stages. Sony and Fox are really supportive of bringing Chicago into the show.
Is there anything you’re really excited about that hasn’t really been showcased in the promos or talked about that you want to tease before I let you go?
JB: That’s a great question. Every episode, I love every episode; they’re like my children. And I’m so excited for the viewers to fall in love with Grace. I think she’s a modern day House — whereas House was not compassionate, Grace is overly compassionate. She’d be the doctor that I’d want to have. So I’m excited for viewers to see that character.
I’ll have more for you from Berman after the series premieres — I don’t want to spoil what goes down before you get the chance to see it — so make sure to come back here after the show debuts on Fox, Monday, September 17th at 9 PM.
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