Jeffrey Lieber, executive producer of Miami Medical, was kind enough to do an interview with me about the show and how everything’s working behind the scenes. Here’s what he said, in question and answer format.
Enjoy! And please check out the show Friday nights at 10 p.m. Eastern and Pacific.
1. First off, a process question. How does one become an executive producer? What’s your day to day job like for the show?
I became executive producer because I was the “creator.” It’s an exalted term, but it really just means the show started as my idea and I wrote the pilot. As for what I do on a daily basis… well… in the middle of the season there are two scripts in development, one in prep, one shooting, and two in post. I (and my fellow executive producer Steve Maeda) have my hands in all of that. It’s overwhelming and exhausting and confusing and the most fun I’ve ever had doing anything in the business. Even the bad days… and there are many… are absolutely invigorating.
2. What are the biggest challenges in putting together a show like Miami Medical? Do they center around special effects, stunts, long term story line development, all of the above?
Long-term story development is tough, because so many of the curve balls that come at us are IMMEDIATE. “The actor we cast to play so-and-so’s brother just got a movie and is no longer available.” “We’ve just learned CSI is doing this SAME relationship.” “No one like this actress… fire her.” All that is fine, but… what happens if we’re in the middle of a story arc? Well, we just have to think fast and try and adjust on the fly.
3. How many days does it take to film each episode? Are all 13 — I think I’ve heard it’s 13 anyway — episodes for this season filmed?
We’ve filmed 13. Eight will be for this season. The other five will go into next (fingers crossed). Episodes take 8 days to prep (get ready for) and 7.5 days to shoot.
4. Will the show be available for season purchase on iTunes? I know CBS has NCIS and Criminal Minds available that way, and I imagine some of the overseas fans might find it handy.
Hmm. Don’t know the answer to this question. All the above shows are Paramount for CBS (which means the studio and the network are part of the same company) whereas we are Warner Brothers for CBS (two separate corporations). It gets very confusing and I try to stay “blond” about all this corporate (stuff).
5. A lot of successful shows seem to end up becoming that way because of on-screen and off-screen chemistry between the actors and crew. What’s the chemistry like on the set? Are there any practical jokers, ring leaders? Who are they?
We have a GREAT cast. Great. Good people, good actors. And they all are funny. We did a gag reel at the end of the first season and played it at the wrap party. That said, I’m not on set all that often. Per my answer to the first question, I’m most often running between the writer’s room, my office, post, and OCCASIONALLY set, where my job is really to dance and act the fool so that tensions cool after the 10th hour of shooting that day.
6. Every show so far has started off with a big traumatic bang that creates a selection of injuries for the team. Is that realistic for real surgery teams — to have patients come in groups like that?
Trauma is very feast or famine. HOURS can go by where nothing is happening at all. The place can feel almost sleepy. And then… SOMETHING HAPPENS… a car crash… a shooting… and in they come. Now, we’ve chosen to concentrate on larger events (since we like to link our patients), but in reality there are an equal amount of single trauma patients. Gun shot wound. Stabbing. Drunks. That sort of stuff.
7. What about all this speculation out there in Web land of canceling the show? I even saw talk of it right after the pilot episode aired. Do these people know anything, or are they just running with the buzz to create copy? Is there any real way to get a take on that – or do we just have to wait and see?
These people know nothing. No one knows anything. I don’t even really know anything other than our fate will likely be tied to whether or not we can grow over time (look to see where we are weeks 5/6) and a thousand factors that are so random and unpredictable as to provoke… “Really? It works like THAT?” Our very late in the season, Friday night at 10 p.m. airing was due to a combination of a very stable CBS schedule and the existence of the Olympics. That said, CBS has been great about understanding that a show with our launch circumstances will need time for the audience to find us and incorporate us into their viewing habits. So, if you like the show… tell a friend. If you really like the show… write CBS an email. If you REALLY, REALLY, REALLY like the show… keep buying TVs until someone offers you a Neilson box and then get all your 18 year-old friends to watch.
8. There’s been some talk of cross over stories with other CBS shows already, the biggest probably being CSI: Miami. Is that something we might see next season if everything works out well? Any potential for a cross over with Criminal Minds? I’d love to see Hotch interact with Doc Proc.
Totally possible, though stylistically we’re very different from the CSIs. The biggest impediment to doing crossovers is figuring out WHO writes them. Every staff of writers is VERY protective of “their” universe and so it becomes hard to integrate. Am I going to try and approximate Horatio Caine? Are the CSI Miami writers going to figure out Proctor and Zambrano and Deleo? Who gets the last say? Then again, CSI Miami is a monster hit for many years and we’d be happy to be part of their universe, so… wait and see.
Many thanks to Jeffrey for being so willing to talk to the public and to me here at Exploding Egg about the show. Keep up the great work!
Here’s the trailer for the upcoming Friday episode, All Fall Down:
Originally posted at The Exploding Egg and reproduced here by kind permission
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