Joe Henderson Shares How LUCIFER Can Be a Template for Streaming Shows Post-Strike - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

Joe Henderson Shares How LUCIFER Can Be a Template for Streaming Shows Post-Strike

September 19, 2023 by  

Joe Henderson strike interview

Joe Henderson on the picket line. (Photo credit: Joe Henderson/Instagram.)

LUCIFER was a rarity of a show: The Tom Ellis-led procedural drama started on Fox, performing solidly…but still got canceled at the end of season 3. Then Netflix swooped in, ordering season 4 and then an intended final fifth season…only for the streamer to decide it actually wanted season 6, too, which served as the end-end of the series.

And though half of the series was produced for a streaming platform, the LUCIFER bosses were able to replicate much of the traditional network production process for the show during its entire run.

“We were very lucky,” LUCIFER co-showrunner Joe Henderson tells Give Me My Remote. “We were a network show that went on to streaming and we kept our exact model, which means that we overlapped the writers’ room with production. And I think that proves it works.”

“When LUCIFER went from Fox to Netflix, we did a nine-week prep room and then we went straight into production and we maintained the writers throughout,” he continues. “Every writer went to set for their episode, and it was partially paid for because we had that overlap.”

How involved non-showrunner writers get to be in a series’ production has been a major issue during the ongoing WGA strike. In the traditional network television production model, writers could work their way up the ranks, getting experience (both in the writers’ room and on set) that prepped them to be able to run their own show one day. But with limited series and short-order streaming shows, rooms are frequently wrapped before production starts, making it impossible for writers to be a part of the actual filming and post-production phase of a show. Without that, writers warn it could majorly harm the next generation of scribes.

Having the writers be a part of the process the entire time—rather than production duties being delegated to the showrunners—was something that benefited LUCIFER, Henderson says. “Everyone was watching the dailies, everyone was seeing what was happening. The old-school way of making TV works.”

Of course, there are exceptions—”It doesn’t work for everything. There are big crazy shows where it won’t work, and that’s fine and there’s other ways to address it.”—but the production on streaming shows doesn’t have to vary from how network shows have been produced for decades. “A large amount of streaming TV can actually be done in the old model,” Henderson says. “Teach the writers, apprentice them. Everyone who has been on LUCIFER knows how to make a show. They know how to run a show. And on my next show, I want to make sure that that happens as well.”

“We were very fortunate, but I also think that we are an example of how it can be done,” he continues. “I know MANIFEST did similarly when they went from network to streaming; they just kept the model and it worked. It works. And one of the things I hope we see after this is studios and the streaming networks embracing that model or a version of it—it teaches writers how to do their job, so everybody wins.”


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