How challenging is it in this day and age to stand out in a crowded, chaotic marketplace of content and distraction, and is the worst fate for a series to be met with indifference? Despite all the progress we’ve seen over the years, what more can the industry do for black, indigenous, LGBTQ and other minority communities when it comes to diversity and inclusion on our TV screens? These were some of the topics discussed by five top TV showrunners and directors when they joined Gold Derby’s special “Meet the Experts” Q&A event with 2023 /2024 awards contenders: Nkechi Okoro Carroll (“Found”), Peter Hoar (“The Last of Us”), Mimi Leder (“The Morning Show”), John Hoffman (“Only Murders in the Building”) and Sterlin Harjo (“Reservation Dogs”).
Watch our fascinating full group roundtable panel above, and click on each name above to view contender individual interview.
“It takes a, small village to really make something stand out beyond what hopefully you’ve brought to it,” Hoffman declares about standing out on TV these days. “It’s a concert that has to come together and you just hope people believe in it enough to invest in the way that it needs to be seen and brought forth,” he says. “We were critically acclaimed and people loved the show, but people didn’t see the show and it hurt that it wasn’t recognized,” Leder says about her time on HBO’s “The Leftovers,” adding that “it really was a profound piece of work and it was like someone doesn’t love my baby, you know, but the experience of it was life changing and that’s what you take home with you.”
Okoro Carroll agrees wholeheartedly, chiming in that “I think that’s why we all do it; it has to come from a place of love. There is nothing like show running shows and getting them onto TV and what it takes to sort of make the whole thing work,” she explains. “I love ‘Reservation Dogs,’ I mean, part of it why ended was that I couldn’t imagine someone coming to me and saying, ‘yeah, time to wrap this up, it’s dragging on.’ That would have been such an a personal attack to me because it’s like, based on my family!”
In “Found” (NBC Peacock/Warner Bros.), over 600,000 people are reported missing in the U.S. each year, but not all cases receive the proper attention, so a crisis management team make sure there is always someone looking out for the forgotten missing people. Creator and showrunner Okoro Carroll’s career has included “Bones,” “Rosewood,” “All American” and “The Resident.”
In multi-Emmy nominated “The Last of Us” (HBO), a global pandemic destroys civilization, and a hardened survivor takes charge of a 14-year-old girl who may be humanity’s last hope. Director Hoar is an Emmy nominee for “Long, Long Time,” the third episode of “The Last of Us.” His other projects have included “Da Vinci’s Demons,” “The Last Kingdom,” “The Umbrella Academy” and “It’s a Sin.”
In “The Morning Show” (Apple TV+) audiences peer behind the curtain at the lives of the people who help America wake up in the morning, exploring the unique challenges faced by the team. Director/producer Leder was a two-time Emmy winner for “ER” and eight-time nominee for “China Beach,” “ER,” “The West Wing” and “The Morning Show.”
In “Only Murders in the Building” (Hulu), two men and a woman live in the same New York City apartment building and share an obsession with true crime, continually finding themselves embroiled in a murder. Co-creator and showrunner Hoffman was a five-time Emmy nominee for “The Oscars” and “Only Murders in the Building.” His other projects have included “Looking” and “Grace and Frankie.”
In “Reservation Dogs” (FX) four Native American teenagers growing up on a reservation in eastern Oklahoma. Co-creator/showrunner Harjo’s career has also included “Scalped,” “America Divided,” “Love and Fury” and “Gather.”
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