The Wonder Years

by admin January 23, 2009
The Peter Berg Interview

TWoP: Meaning that you guys might choose to possibly end the show when it makes sense creatively, as opposed to letting it strictly be a business decision?

PB: Right, that's right. This show's ended on a pretty good note, and that's not to say we couldn't bring it back and that we wouldn't love to bring it back, but I think it's got to make sense for everyone, you know? Last season these guys were working really hard and making every penny count and really being held to a level of fiscal vigilance that is not typical for an hour drama.

TWoP: Considering the way the TV landscape has changed over the years since Wonderland came out, do you foresee more and more quality work like Wonderland or Friday Night Lights ending up on cable, whether it's basic cable or premium cable, as opposed to network?

PB: I definitely foresee things changing. I just shot an ad campaign for Hulu and got to meet the folks that run that company, and I think that's clearly the way of the future. "Must-see" television is a thing of the past in terms of people watching television when the network dictates. People are gonna watch it how they want to watch it, and when they want to watch it and where they want to watch it. That's number one: television on-demand -- where, when and how. And I think we'll see more private sponsorship. I think we're actually going to return to the old days of television, when shows were sponsored by single products, and that those shows will then have multiple distribution and streaming outlets.

TWoP: And as an artist, are you cool with somebody saying something like, "Hey, we'll fund this show for you if you put our car in it"?

PB: Of course. We did it with Chevy, we did it with Applebee's, we did it with Under Armour in Friday Night Lights. We were way out in front of that. We approached them, and did so gladly because we were able to then incorporate all those products into the show. Tyra works at an Applebee's; Buddy Garrity runs a car dealership; obviously the athletes wear Under Armour -- it was a natural. It was a win-win for everybody: it gave our show added authenticity, and we were able to incorporate the products into a show in a way that didn't feel as though we were pandering. It felt very organic, and I loved it.

TWoP: Last week you were busy with Virtuality, a science-fiction TV pilot you're directing for Fox, which was co-created by Ron Moore, one of the masterminds behind Battlestar Galactica. What can you tell us about it?

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