"It Was Just So Intellectually Stimulating And Inspiring; It Was All I Wanted To Do"
My path recently crossed, randomly, with that of B.J. Novak, a writer and actor on NBC's hit sitcom The Office, via email. He was immediately receptive when I suggested an interview for the site, and couldn't have been lovelier. I...well, since The Office is one of my very favourite shows, I just tried to keep my inner fangirl from busting out, screeching through an hour's worth of tape, and embarrassing me horribly.
Wing Chun: So! The Office has saved NBC! How does that feel?
B.J. Novak: Has it?
WC: Has it not? That's what I read in Entertainment Weekly.
WC: Hasn't it?
BJN: I thought [My Name Is] Earl gave it CPR. Earl gave it mouth-to-mouth and then...we gave it CPR? What's the order of emergency rescue?
WC: So are you saying that you feel like your show is in the shadow of Earl?
BJN: No, I was trying to give them props for leading the ratings surge -- as they did; they came out of the gates a hit.
WC: Did they?
BJN: Yeah. I heard NBC poured about ten million [dollars] into advertising for them.
WC: Holy shit.
BJN: And they delivered, and it took us a while. We were retaining something like 67\%, 70\% of [their audience] at the start of the year.
WC: That's still really good.
BJN: Now it's 96, 97\%.
WC: Well, that's awesome.
BJN: So we caught up. But they led the way.
WC: I have to say, I don't know anyone who watches one and not the other. People seem to like both of them.
BJN: Yeah. They're good shows.
WC: I agree.
BJN: There's not many good comedies to watch -- you know, comedies that make you glad you watched them.
WC: That is true. Last year, at the start of the fall season, NBC, formerly the comedy powerhouse, had four comedies on the schedule, and one of them was Father Of The Pride. So I really feel like they had some ground to make up this year, which they have. What was the feeling among the people on the show about the move opposite C.S.I., or do you not really think about that?