"I Realized I Was Eric"
JA: No. They thought they were going to need somebody mid-season that year. They saw a hole coming in their schedule, but I guess whatever they thought was going to fail didn't. And there wasn't a hole, so they ordered seven more [episodes of Undeclared] because they thought they were going to need strike programming. That way, if there was a writer's strike, they would have thirteen episodes of us to run. Then the strike didn't happen, so we aired in September .
H: And they promoted you guys pretty heavily. It was so strange -- they ran commercials all the time, and then all of a sudden the pilot aired and the advertising stopped. Did they inform you at all about why that was?
JA: I think that's just a strategy. They launch you very heavily, and then they launch the next show very heavily. So right now, they're running promos like crazy for That '80s Show, and I'm sure in about two weeks we'll see an enormous amount of publicity for Andy Richter and Greg the Bunny.
H: So that wasn't something you interpreted as, like, the first sign of doom?
JA: No, that's what they do to every show -- they put the really big guns behind the launch, and then after that, it goes back to a normal level.
H: When did you guys assemble as the writing team? Were you involved in writing the pilot?
Kristofor Brown: We were involved in the pilot from a notes standpoint. Judd kept reworking it, with help from us.
JA: They ordered six [right away], so I hired the staff as I was writing the pilot. Usually you're all alone [with the pilot], but I was able to have the staff help conceive the show.
H: Has the show kept true to your original idea?
JA: It basically has. We just...we have discovered what the pace of the show should be, and how funny it should be versus how dramatic it should be, and how much music to use -- all those things get worked out over the first dozen episodes. But the basic idea is the same: goofy guy goes to college, tries not to be a goofy guy.
H: You guys found a perfect goofy guy. Jay Baruchel [who plays Steven] is so good.
JA: He is that goofy.
H: How did you find him? An open call, and you got lucky?
JA: The head of Dreamworks TV said, "What about that guy from Almost Famous?" Jay had a small part in Almost Famous. So he came out, and he was really strong in the auditions he did for the network, and he won the part. I guess he's worked a lot in Canada on different kids' shows. He claims to be the star of the Wonder Years of Canada, but none of us has ever seen it. ["If IMDb is to be believed, that show is likely My Hometown, for which the only user comment is, 'Badly acted.' Ouch." -- Heathen] ["I'm Canadian and watch TV basically constantly, and I've never heard of it until this moment." -- Wing Chun]